Inc. 5000 honorees tell us how they would tackle a common business challenge. This month: How do you cut a  work perk without hurting morale?

Guy Bauer

Founder and CEO, Guy Bauer Productions (advertising and marketing)

No. 833 2017 Rank | 543% Growth | $3.1M Revenue

"Tell them why. I'm a sugar-free Red Bull addict, and we used to stock the fridge with cases--spending $300 a month. A few years ago, I told them: A penny times 10 isn't much, but times a million is serious money. We have four times as many employees now--I can't imagine how much we'd be spending if I hadn't stopped. But if you don't give them a reason, they'll make it up: Is the company going under? Is he just being punitive?"

Lacey Steen

Co-founder and vice president, Move Bumpers (manufacturing)​

No. 204 2017 Rank | 2,223% Growth | $4.9M Revenue

"When we had three or four employees, everyone had a key to our shop and could work on their cars or friends' cars anytime. As we grew, that wasn't practical. When we said that wasn't going to work anymore, we made sure to set up employee shop time on certain weekends."

Bisser Georgiev

Founder and CEO, LiveTrends Design Group (consumer products and services)​

No. 256 2017 Rank | 1,662% Growth | $12.8M Revenue

"We gave everyone a paid gym membership. Some never used it. So we scaled back: If you go to the gym five times a month, the benefit stays alive. If not, it drops. We were transparent when answering questions--that minimized morale dip."

Armir Harris

Founder and CEO, Shofur (logistics and transportation)​

No. 21 2017 Rank | 10,448% Growth | $12.1M Revenue

"When we had a handful of employees, people had pretty flexible schedules, and if someone needed the day off or to go to the dentist, they'd just text me. But when you have 40 people texting for a day off, you need procedures. I brought everyone into a meeting and told them that as we scaled, we'd have to put more policies in place. Survival depends on it. When you phrase it that way, scheduling time off two weeks in advance doesn't seem so bad."

Tom Gimbel

Founder and CEO, LaSalle Network (human resources)​

No. 4,450 2017 Rank | 56% Growth | $55.5M Revenue

"How you preface any perk is key. Early on, we let everyone work a four-day week. I made it clear there was no guarantee we'd do it forever. Almost immediately, the culture changed for the worse: People didn't want to stay late, they didn't want to help out on the weekend, it wasn't as collaborative. I gathered everyone and told them the results weren't manifesting. People got it. No one quit."

Rankings and data were taken from the 2017 and 2018 Inc. 5000. Growth is three-year revenue growth; revenue listed is for the year prior to the Inc. 5000 ranking.

From the October 2018 issue of Inc. Magazine