One of the values at my workplace, Maverick, is that “balance is vital to everything we do.”
To love up to those values we ass a company provide what we call a Personal Development Fund. The idea is this: after working with us for a year, provided you make the grade by being confirmed, you get up to a month’s salary to do something that you haven’t done before, or travel to somewhere you haven’t been to.
The idea behind this is that we want to groom the best consultants in the communications business. The best consultants, in our view, are those people who not only are good at work but those who lead full, interesting lives. They are the ones with passion about a pastime or a hobby, or have an innate craving to satisfy their intellectual curiosity. The lead fully textured multidimensional lives and experiences, which they enrich the office and their work with.
I had the opportunity to watch two of my colleagues use their Personal Development Fund over the weekend and witness literally an expansion of their worlds from the merely terrestrial to a whole new world under water.
Jonathan and Sharon used their Personal Development Funds to pay for the crew pack, lessons and diving instruction to obtain their Open Water Diving Certification. It was their first real dive at Sepa Island just off Jakarta. Where diving sites go the Thousand Islands are only so-so when compared to other places, especially in East Indonesia but that was beside the point.
For the first time they discovered a world underwater, that silent, weightless and wonderful world filled with corals, fish and all sorts of critters. New world of experiences opened to them and and future adventures now beckon.
Will this make them better consultants in the long run? I believe so. In learning something as exotic as scuba diving they learned of many concepts such as buoyancy, safety, thermocline and a whole lot of stuff. And once they get into diving they will travel to many places and meet fellow divers from all walks of life and many countries. All the enriching stuff that is essential to make the compleat consultant.
One of the reasons that we introduced the Personal Development Fund is to help us retain people. It has not quite worked out that way. There are still some staff that use the PDF and then leave, or staff that refused to use the PDF for fear of being tied down to the company. The PDF, however, has worked for us in another way. It acts as a filtering mechanism. Those who are adventurous and appreciate the fact that their workplace would encourage them to expand their horizons inevitably stay; the less adventurous or those short of intellectual curiosity cannot see the point of it and leave.
Another side benefit is that when word of benefits like the Personal DEvelopment Fund get around we get very interesting characters who apply to work at maverick (BTW we are constantly looking for the best talents in communications, so if you’re looking pop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Personal Development Fund, it would seem, works in mysterious ways but one thing is for sure – it helps us in our mission to groom the best consultants in the market.