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Companies spend days, hours and weeks making sure they hire the right people. Sometimes, though, they forget to keep their employees happy.

Meritshare, a five-month-old upstart created by former WhitePages execs Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl, is setting out to help in those retention efforts by recognizing and rewarding companies’ top performers.

We wrote about Meritshare in October, and now the Seattle startup is ready to launch. The company combines both online and offline awards, peer recognition, social trophies, and gamification features to help companies motivate, inspire, and ultimately, retain their teams.

With Meritshare, Nakao said that they are creating a way for employees across a wide variety of teams and roles to recommend someone for an award tied to specific actions within the company. Similar to LinkedIn’s endorsements, Meritshare’s awards will be publicly displayed on its website.

“If you brought all of these people in, why not put some effort on retention,” explains Nakao, the former president and COO at Seattle-based WhitePages.

Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl of MeritShare

“One of the challenges with people getting rewards at work is that it is generally a private one-to-one thing,” added Pearl. At Meritshare, he said the awards are designed to make the receiver “feel awesome” around building a team environment. They’ve also built in alerts to remind staffers to nominate co-workers.

The reward system works both online and offline. San Francisco startup Vungle has been piloting MeritShare and created a Honey Badger award.  For Vungle, MeritShare created a Honey Badger trophy for the company, engraved with their logo and a matching online badge. Each new winner of the Honey Badger award is added to the “traveling” trophy on an engraved placard updated by MeritShare each month.

“People generally want to recognize people, but they forget about it,” said Nakao, adding that the rewards will be tied into a point system that’s managed by Meritshare.

MeritShare provides a free non-expiring service and premium tiers that range from $99 to $299 per month. This service reminds us of TINYpulse, another Seattle startup that aims to get a “pulse” on employee sentiment.

Previously on GeekWire: Ex-WhitePages execs start Meritshare, a new way to reward performers

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