JANUARY 1991

The biggest complaint about hourly employees -- especially if they're teenagers or college students -- is that they often don't show up for work. Well, Lisa G. Renshaw, who runs four parking lots in Baltimore, hires college students almost exclusively, and she never has that problem. Her secret: the buddy system.

"For every shift, I'll assign two people for each job," says Renshaw, president of 13-employee Penn Parking. "You'll have the 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. shift Monday through Wednesday, and I'll have it Thursday through Sunday, and you and I will be buddies. If I can't cover my shift, I can call you up and switch. And you can do the same for me."

Rarely can both people not make it, says Renshaw. "People are more than willing to cover for their buddies because they know that someday they'll want them to return the favor."