When handing out bonuses for extra or exemplary effort, it may be timing, not quantity, that matters most. William T. Quinn Jr., whose W. T. Quinn Inc. ranked #128 on the 1987 INC. 500 list of the fastest-growing companies in America, has found that his motivational dollars go further if he hands them out on the spot, just when the work load "gets really crazy." Employees at the Somerset, N.J., publishing company don't get a chance to doubt whether the boss is grateful for their extra effort. And morale is buttressed right at the moment when employees are most stressed.

"The dollar amount of the bonus," Quinn says, "takes a backseat to timing." He hands out what he calls Quinn Cash, mock $50 bills with his picture on the front and a note that reads, "Redeem this with an expense voucher for $50 worth of entertainment." Why require that the money be spent on fun? "I want my employees to go out and have a good time," Quinn says. "It helps relieve job stress -- saving up bonuses for a television set wouldn't do that."