Ed Nemes was motorbiking through the US state of Iowa when he stopped in a field to take part in a conference call.
It struck the AppCentrica co-founder and CEO that his workers should also be going on such adventures – sans phone calls.
“This is great, we have to find a way to be able to get our staff to take breaks like this,” Nemes recalls telling his follow company leaders.
“The three of us immediately latched onto the idea that it fit our culture, and we’ve just spent some time trying to actually implement it.”
They decided upon the idea of “mini-retirement”: after every three years of service, every staff member receives a holiday of “at least” four weeks, and funding of $5000 to $10,000, to live their dreams.
The program has sent AppCentrica’s workers on safari in Africa, to Machu Picchu trail, on a visit to family in Asia, and everywhere in between: Vietnam, Croatia, Barbados, Turkey, Bolivia, Japan and the Bahamas are just a few spots on the long list.
Unsurprisingly, the web and mobile app design and development company’s staff love the incentive, which, Nemes says, has been a great tool for retention and recruitment.
“We were a little worried that people might wait until they’ve done the mini-retirement and then head off to other locales, but for us, it’s actually reaffirmed their interest in sticking around so that they can do it again,” he says.
“We understand that our workforce is generally young, more millennials than anything else, and that travel appeals to folks. There are other ways than giving people cash that actually incentivize them to build part of the culture. We think the travel piece is a pretty good incentive for folks.”
Nemes says the mini-retirement fits well with AppCentrica’s culture and helps “entice and intrigue” its “smart, mobile, educated workforce”.
And while a mini-retirement program may be out of reach to other companies, Nemes suggests instead finding a reward that pairs with their own company’s style.
“To build the culture, you need a whole bunch of different things, and this is one that fits with our staff.”
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