Location: Brookfield, Wis.
Assets: $1.8 billion
No. of employees: 496
Chairmanand CEO: James McKenna
Margie Brusa isn't one to scroll through Facebook. But she has warmed up to a social networking site created by her employer, North Shore Bank.
The site, which launched in May, serves as a single hub for all the various ways bank employees can recognize each other, whether to celebrate a birthday, mark a work anniversary or express thanks for an extra effort.
"We can't always walk up to someone else's desk and say, 'Congratulations! I heard you did something good,'" says Brusa, who manages the branch at North Shore's headquarters in Brookfield, Wis. "It's an easier way to communicate."
It's also an easier way to hand out incentives. When recognizing good work electronically, managers have the option to give out points, which employees can save and redeem to buy electronics, furniture and other items.
"It's basically like shopping on Amazon," says Molly Schissler, North Shore's vice president of human resources, who recently used the system to reward two employees for referring job candidates. "There's quite the variety of things that people can choose from."
Much like Facebook, the bank's site also allows employees to create profiles, which Schissler says is part of its appeal. "It's been fun seeing individual photos and profiles," she says.
Another benefit of the online reward system is its visibility. With the old system, known as NSBThanks.com, praise was visible only to the givers and the recipients, Schissler says. But with the new system, dubbed Seymour Salutes, the recognition can be seen by everyone, and is open to comments, another similarity to Facebook. Seymour is the name of the bank's mascot, a seagull.
Brittany Dahlke, a video teller supervisor, says she rarely used NSBThanks. But she is a regular visitor to Seymour Salutes. "I'm probably on the site at least once a week to recognize other employees, or just kind of look around and check up on recognitions."
Dahlke, who works in the Brookfield office, has been with the bank about three years. "What I like most about North Shore Bank is kind of the family feel," she says. "And it's a very community-minded bank."
North Shore, founded in 1923, has 47 branches in eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
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