In busy times, it's standard practice to ask employees to work overtime and pay them for it. But Rick Johnson, founder and CEO of BurJon Steel Service Center Inc., in Springboro, Ohio, feels that when the company requires a great deal of overtime for long stretches, money alone isn't enough. On the theory that families and friends suffer when people spend that much time at work, he augments overtime pay with flowers and coupons for dinner at a local restaurant.

Usually Johnson sends the flowers and dinner coupons directly to the employee's spouse or to a friend, along with a personal note. "When somebody works hard, it's hard on everyone," he says. "We think it's important to say thanks." And it doesn't hurt morale either.