With unemployment at a 24-year-low, scarcity has hit the worker market. As a result, signing bonuses are being offered -- and not just to upper echelon, but to all levels of employees -- as a recruiting tool and a retention incentive. Almost four of 10 large and small businesses are providing some form of hiring bonus, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Three years ago, White Castle Systems introduced signing bonuses for new employees in the Indianapolis, IN, area. Entry-level hires received a $200 bonus, but only after staying on the job for six months.
Home Improvement Projects On the Way
Thirty-one percent of consumers say they plan some type of home improvement this year with an average budget of $2,660. Of those projects, renovation/remodeling and interior decorating tied for most common at 31 percent each, followed by landscaping (18 percent), maintenance (18 percent), expansion (12 percent) and exterior decorating (12 percent). Almost half the projects, 46 percent, focused on the living room. The figures were the result of a national poll by American Express Retail Index.
Retailers Pay to Eliminate Bad Checks
Retailers took in more than $13 billion in bad checks last year, up 18 percent over 1995, according to the credit industry's Nilson Report. The problem has fueled a threefold increase in the volume of checks screened by verification services over the past year from 80 billion to 227 billion. Electronic verification companies typically offer two types of service: a check guarantee that completely protects the merchant and a less costly check verification that tests the check against a database for any negative reports. Fees vary with the volume of checks accepted, type of business and even location of business.