I'm in the middle of building an addition to my home. Over the past few months, I have been so impressed by the crew — they're always courteous, work together well, seem to love their jobs (they sing while they work!), and have great respect for their boss, builder Bob Frye.

As I got to know more about Bob, I found out that he buys his crew lunch every Friday and gives them spot bonuses. He provides benefits and profit sharing. And every year for the past five years, he has treated them to an all-expenses-paid vacation. This February, they're taking a cruise to Mexico and the Cayman Islands; in the past, they've been to the Florida Keys and the Riviera Maya. Working for Bob, they know that every year, in the dead of winter, they're going someplace warm.

Why would a small business owner go this far to motivate his crew? Retention is one reason: He understands that his workeers could choose to go elsewhere or even start their own businesses. “They've learned my philosophy — to do it right the first time and you won't have to do it over,” he told me, which anyone who has built a house knows is not always the case. They're also willing to handle the unexpected, which can be a daily occurrence when you're renovating a house (or planning a meeting).

Bob realizes that his people are his most valuable resource — “the guys who are out there doing it every day” — and he puts his money where his mouth is.

On page 26, we feature a another company that's a model for how to motivate nonsales employees: Wynn Las Vegas. When you walk into Wynn, you really do feel that you're somewhere — and someone — special. The company lured many bright people from other Vegas resorts when it opened 2½ years ago (owner Steve Wynn calls them his “dream team”), and understands that retaining these people is the key to staying ahead of competitors. Earlier this year, Wynn also took its “Stars of the Month” on a luxury cruise, picking up the tab for everything, including a personal shopper to help the winners select their wardrobes for the trip.

Steve Wynn and Bob Frye understand the value of incentives — especially travel — in motivating and retaining the people who drive the company. Whether big or small, other businesses have a lot to learn from them.

More On/Meetingsnet.com

For more on nonsales incentives, visit our nonsales articles.

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