So you and your team survived another crunch successfully? From extra benefits to outings, time off to break room refurbishments, here’s some of the best ways to show your appreciation.
The most obvious and simple response can be the most powerful. Sincere thanks can make all the difference. In much of the software industry particularly, crunch is an expected part of any job but that does not mean you should take employees’ willingness and effort for granted. Make sure that your team know you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice.
Being shown they are valued and receiving gratitude for their work can make a huge difference to your employees' mood. A number of studies have shown a powerful link between feeling appreciated and engagement at work. For instance:
“Researchers [at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania] randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations in the same way they always had. The second group—assigned to work on a different day—received a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. During the following week, the university employees who heard her message of gratitude made 50% more fund-raising calls than those who did not.”
Taking the time to give constructive feedback – individual if possible – also demonstrates commitment to and investment in your employees’ progress and development. And in addition to thanking your team personally, ensure that you emphasise their hard work and success to senior colleagues.
Take your department out for dinner or let everyone vote on a venue for an away-day. If you can afford to, extend the invitation to significant others or loved ones – this will show that you acknowledge and appreciate the time your employees have sacrificed that could have been spent with friends and family.
Remember that activities such as go-karting, paintballing and other popular choices may not be a treat for everyone (in fact some employees may actively dread experiences such as this!). Since this is intended as a token of appreciation, it’s extra important to ensure that you choose something your entire team can enjoy.
If you can afford it, then time-off is a great way to reward your employees for their hard work and extra hours of input. Leave days are one of the most coveted rewards you can give an employee and offering them shows that you value staff time and understand that their life outside of the office is no less important than their time in work.
When review progress after a crunch, you may find that in examining any issues or failings in the project you identify gaps in your team’s knowledge. Offering team members the chance to improve their skills and understanding is a win-win. It’s great for your business and it demonstrates to commit to an employee’s progression and professional development.
New Employee Benefits
Recently a number of professional-perks companies have sprung up, making it easier for smaller businesses to offer their employees extra benefits and treats. Perhaps the most popular, Perkbox offers a range of brand discounts, rewards, and free perks, along with contests, financial advice, fitness sessions, and goody boxes.
The variety means that almost everyone is likely to find at least one perk that has something to offer for them. If it’s something you have been considering, then after a crunch may be a perfect time to start.
Break Room Improvements
Showing that you care about your employees’ down-time is a great way to make them feel valued and improve happiness at work. If crunch-times are regular, then making sure that your team have a social break space in which they feel comfortable and relaxed and that they actually want to use, is really important.
Taking steps to improve it, whether by adding activities and items that meet staff interests or adding new furniture or decoration, is a great way to reward your team for their hard work and demonstrate your desire to make the time that they spend in work as happy and comfortable as possible.
A Month of Beer ‘o’ Clock Fridays
If you don’t already do something like this, then allowing everyone to finish up early on a Friday and relax with a drink is a great way to show your appreciation and help everyone wind down after an intense crunch period.
It also gives you an opportunity to discuss the week gone by and the week ahead in a relaxed environment, as well as bring your team together and giving everyone a chance to enjoy each other’s company with the pressure off.
Ensuring that crunch time itself is as pleasant as it can possibly be is likely to be more appreciated by staff than any reward. We've put together a guide of some simple, but highly effective, ways to keep morale and motivation up when it comes to the crunch - download the guide here.