Keeping participative-management promises with employees can be tricky. How can a manager delegate work and then give employees recognition for a job well done without making it sound as if it's coming down from on high? At Meridian Travel Inc., in Cleveland, CEO Cynthia Bender opted for a participative solution: turn pat-on-the-back duties over to the employees.

Once a month all 62 employees of the $21-million company write in their vote for who should be Employee of the Month. "Managers always have their favorites, but the employees know who pitches in and helps out," says Bender.

"It's important different departments don't become isolated," she says. "This makes employees notice others more and develops camaraderie."