How we run a software company: Morale (part 2)
24 October 2011, by Chris Harris
In the last post I discussed the importance of mutual trust between employees and upper management. In this post I shall discuss some methods of improving employee happiness.
Softwire allocates a sizeable amount of its budget to what we call “Morale Events”. This money goes towards things like drinks down the pub, trips to the theatre, an annual picnic, and regular team events.
This goes such a long way to making Softwire feel like a second home for employees; especially for those who have come to London alone and don’t know their way around the city’s many attractions.
It’s not just money we allocate either. We have a Morale Officer who is charged with ensuring a large and diverse enough number of events are being organised, and many of the events (such as board games night) require no expenditure except takeaway pizza.
Every employee is also given three days per year on top of their usual holiday allowance, which they can use to attend the bigger Morale events such as recent trips to the seaside or Alton Towers. On top of this, every year we have an Employee Innovation Day during which everyone takes a day off from their project and works on whatever they want.
Recently we have even employed a chef to cook us all lunch every day. Not only is this a very sociable exercise, but if you believe the rumours about the IT industry, then for some of us it may be our only source of vitamins…
It really boosts morale and productivity if you enjoy coming to work every day, and that’s why we’ve given space over to a pool table, table tennis, table football, computer games and even a gym. These are great ways to unwind after a few hours staring at a computer screen (well, perhaps not the computer games!)