As any project manager worth their salt can tell you, milestones are important point-in-time events that must be tracked and evaluated to determine the pace and timeliness with which a project is progressing. Each milestone represents an important achievement along the project’s path used to validate the overall health and advancement of the project, as well as aid in future decisions. As I take a step back from the daily consulting grind, I realize that I will soon be up against a major milestone of my own: one decade of service at Caiman Consulting. Much like a project milestone, this impending benchmark allows me to reflect back on my time at Caiman, look forward to the future, and better understand why I have decided to offer nearly one-quarter of my professional life to one company.
It would be easy to laud the myriad recognitions that Caiman Consulting has been consistently awarded over the past several years, like our Washington’s Best Workplaces award from the Puget Sound Business Journal or our Best Small Consulting Firms from Consulting Magazine, but I think it's more important to focus on the people, the trust, and the benefits that Caiman offers its employees as a primary reason why I have remained with Caiman Consulting for so long.
Endemic to Caiman’s culture is the trust and transparency that is achieved at all levels of the organization. Consultants at all levels have regular access to the company’s directors during 1:1 meetings to discuss company updates and concerns. Further, each consultant is fully aware of every aspect of their consulting contracts that impact their compensation.
Although Caiman provides employees with the traditional range of benefits, from medical/dental/vision coverage to a 401k program, it is the atypical benefits where Caiman truly sets itself apart from other similar companies. As a top priority of management, we focus the majority of our efforts on building a strong and inclusive community among all employees, achieved by regularly cadenced social events, All Hands meetings, and most importantly, an Annual Meeting that is hosted in a tropical location and open to all full-time employees and their significant others. In years past, Caiman has traveled to places like Maui, Kauai, Cabo San Lucas, and Cancún for four days of meetings and allowing our mingling outside of the workplace on sandy beaches.
While an all-inclusive trip to Mexico for an Annual Meeting may sound like the bee’s knees - the pièce de résistance of Caiman benefits is the one-month paid sabbatical that is awarded to all employees after four years of employment with Caiman. As a long-time Caiman employee, I took advantage of my first sabbatical nearly three years ago by travelling to France for four weeks and touring the country by plane, train, and automobile. Having put in another four years of work with Caiman, I’m now eligible for my second sabbatical and will be taking advantage of the opportunity in grand fashion: by getting hitched and going on a honeymoon! My sabbatical will take me to the mountains of Estes Park, CO for the wedding, and then whisk us away to Portugal, France*, the Maldives, and Dubai for a whirlwind, worldwide honeymoon tour.
All in all, I can say with years of experience that Caiman offers its employees ample opportunities to build healthy and constructive relationships with one another, while providing some of the industry’s most creative and rewarding employee benefits. Who knows, Caiman might keep me around long enough to garner a third sabbatical in the future…and if the past is any indication, I better brush up on my French speaking skills.
*Note: while it may seem that a trip to France is required during sabbatical, it is the author’s Francophile proclivities that keep taking him back any chance he gets.