Review: MeritBuilder

Topics: John Sumser, Reviews, by John Sumser

meritbuilder-woman-with-logoReview: MeritBuilder

Lance Haun, one of our Top 100 Influencers in HR is the VP of Outreach at MeritBuilder. One of the industry’s most prolific bloggers (he and Kris Dunn are competing for the gold for blog volume), Haun is in the midst of his first experience as a member of the HR Vendor community. MeritBuilder is a Portland, Oregon based service for the management of incentive programs.

The idea is simple. Companies purchase “MeritBucks” and dole them out to employees in recognition for accomplishments. MeritBucks are fully owned by the employee and transferable between jobs.

The service, which is targeted at the SMB (Small to Medium Sized Business) market, is a web enabled version of things you’ve already seen somewhere else. Incentive companies provide gifts and discounts to companies to give to employees. MeritBucks are redeemable for anything you can discover on Amazon.

The idea of using motivational gifts and bonuses is well understood as a motivational tool. Recognition of a well-done job creates a greater autonomy, increases visibility within your organization, and showcases success. MeritBuilder is a platform for the management and distribution of incentives. It tracks a company budget with allocations down to the supervisory level. It tracks disbursements against the budget.

On the employer side of the equation, the target is companies with somewhere between $5,000 and $100,000 in their incentives budget. The toolset includes thank you note templates, reports, feedback forms and an enormous catalog of things to buy with MeritBucks. Best of all, the system is free. MeritBuilder makes its money from the use of MeritBucks.

It’s the portability features that make MeritBuilder really interesting.

With supplemental features like skills analysis and records of individual performance, MeritBuilder acts like a turbocharged resume for its individual users. Reward records demonstrate job performance in a way that other tools entirely miss. Now, mid you, the SMB market operates differently than the rest of the employment market. Jobs are not advertised in the same ways and the vast majority of SMB companies have no applicant tracking or background checking. A MeritBuilder enhanced resume offers signs of confidence in the place where most jobs are created. (For a clearer view of the market, see this piece on the marketplace from the Five Scenarios for the Future of Recruiting project.)

MeritBuilder operates in a blue ocean segment of the industry. A few years of delivering on their core promises will help them create a distinct marker in the part of the game that has defied organization.

Lance was smart to become a part of the firm.

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