To show his appreciation for his employees, John Erwin, owner of John Erwin Remodeling, Olympia, Wash., occasionally stops by jobsites to drop off his crew’s favorite candy bars or sodas. Since he spends most of his time at the office, stopping to visit the jobsites also helps the owner of John Erwin Remodeling connect with his field crews. He started doing this about five years ago. He asked his 14 employees for their favorite color, birthday, candy bar, and soda. The office manager keeps this list on file.

He doesn’t always deliver favorite snacks. During Erwin’s recent visit, he drove around to all the jobsites and handed out “a Coke and a smile” to the crews. And during a hot spell, his production manager dropped off bottles of Gatorade during his site visits. For the office staff, Erwin orders lunch. He usually does this about every two months as a small way to show his appreciation. “There is no trigger or rhyme or reason. I prefer to do it out of the blue when its least expected,” he says.

Other perks:

  • Tickets for club lounge for the Tacoma Raniers, a minor league baseball team. It includes snacks, beer, and parking. The office manager notifies employees of the schedule and makes sure everyone who wants has an opportunity to use the tickets.
  • Employees join Erwin and his friends at a Seattle Seahawks game, which includes transportation in Erwin’s personal mini bus and tailgating.
  • Besides scheduled vacation days, Erwin says, there are times when employees need some extra days. As long as they give him some notice, he accommodates the request. “It’s important that they get the time they want.” Employees use paid leave if they have it, if not, it’s unpaid time.