When you’re in a people-first business, you need to have a people-first strategy. You need to understand that people lead rich lives beyond just what you see at work. How they spend their life off the clock greatly impacts how they function in your business.
That’s why at Caiman, we offer a one month paid sabbatical to all employees who have been with us for over 4 years – we call it Caiman Unplugged.
In many companies, people get PTO. They get vacation time. A few days here and there. This is often not enough for a full reset. A real re-charge. A chance to clear your head from life and just decompress and find your center.
A 30 day sabbatical offers a fighting chance to do this.
Offering 30 day paid sabbaticals is expensive. However, we feel that the benefits to our team far outweighs the associated cost. Consider a recent study done by Harvard Business Review:
One notable study compared 129 university professors who took a sabbatical in a given term with 129 equally qualified colleagues who didn’t. Both groups were surveyed before, during, and after the term to assess stress levels, psychological resources, and even overall life satisfaction. It’s not surprising that the researchers found that those who took sabbaticals experienced, upon return, a decline in stress and an increase in psychological resources and overall well-being. What is surprising, however, is that those positive changes often remained long after the sabbatical takers returned to work. This suggests that not only do the rested employees benefit from time away — the organization benefits as well.
Caiman Unplugged is an opportunity to do whatever you wish. Some of our Caimanites go and climb a mountain, others live in another country for a month, some stay home and learn a new hobby. Others choose to devote their time volunteering for a cause of which they are passionate about.
30 days is ample time to form new habits that you haven’t had the chance to foster. We don’t just want to see our consultants working, we want them to thrive.
If you are in the business of people, then preaching about how much you care about people isn’t enough. Take action and show that people matter. If you look at employers listed on Fortune’s 100’s Best Companies to Work For in 2012, approximately 25 percent of them offered paid sabbaticals. This is unlikely to be a fluke and shows that there is, in fact, a direct correlation between this type of program and an organization’s overall success.
This down time is also a way to say thank you. Consulting is not the easiest business to be in. We have high expectations of our folks and clients are demanding. High performance requires a clear mind and a happy heart.
How would you spend a sabbatical?