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Turn your recognition program on its head with peer-to-peer initiatives


Is your recognition program a top-down affair, with execs deciding how to sprinkle around the praise and prizes? Actually, studies show peer-to-peer recognition can boost employee morale and productivity more than traditional reward programs. Some examples:

Keeping the best: 11 ways to retain key talent

To thrive in today’s economy, employers must focus retention efforts on their highest performers. Here’s how:

Take steps to make a ‘newbie’ feel welcome

Just as communication at the beginning of a marriage can indicate if it will end in divorce, the foundation established early on with a new hire is crucial to productivity, engagement and retention. Onboarding programs yield the best results if they cover these five areas: clarification, connection, culture, compliance and check back.

Motivate high performance by promising rewards

Employee recognition programs aren’t quite as popular as they once were, but the 86% of businesses that use them find that rewards and in­­centives can still spur sales, improve retention and employee loyalty, and raise productivity during an era of slim pay raises and uncertain bonuses.

Landscaper’s generous benefits cut recruiting costs to nothing


The general manager of A Yard & A Half Land­scaping says she spends nothing on recruiting because the firm’s employees are eager to get jobs there for their family and friends. That might be because the organization’s benefits include the usual (medical, dental and retirement plans) and also the unusual.

Detroit firms pay employees to move to downtown homes


Five Detroit companies are offering employees cash incentives to live down­­town. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michi­­gan, Compuware Corp., DTE Energy, Quicken Loans and Strategic Staffing Solutions will give employees more than $4 million over five years if they move into any of six downtown neighborhoods.

Virginia bank creates family atmosphere

Employees of Monarch Bank work at cubicles so huge that they call them “Taj Ma-cubes.” Every President’s Day, they celebrate “Monarch Day” with training sessions and an awards ceremony. And last year, their bonus checks were 30% bigger than the year before. Result: Employees stay.

In hot economy, onboarding takes on vital role

Employees have options these days, and they’re more willing to leave a job that doesn’t seem like a perfect fit—even if it’s during the first few months. That means your onboarding process is more important than ever.

No-raise promotions: A handy tool, but beware risks of ‘title fluffing’

While salary budgets are up this year—merit raises are running near 3.0% compared with 2.7% in 2010—some still-skittish employers are more likely to dole out title raises rather than extra cash. The danger: Organizations may give gratuitous no-pay promotions instead of using the practice as a selective ­reward and retention strategy.

Employee relationships help Maryland firm retain workers

Nearly 40 employees of the real estate development company Bozzuto Group met, fell in love and married their spouses while both were working at the firm. It could be why so many of its workers refer their friends and family members as possible co-workers. Plus, the 23-year-old company has one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry,