My senior year of college I was fortunate to go on a mission trip to Skopia, Macedonia for 12 days. We worked with elementary school students by hosting asports camp and caring for the local community. We found ourselves serving with a local church in the largest gypsy camp in the world--which had dirt roads, trash, tents and very few amenities. However, the ringing noise of children’s laughter is what I remember most. We danced, sang, and played with the cute little preschool students on site at the camp. As I did this important work, I could feel my heart begin to grow. I saw how just our short visit made a difference in these little children’s lives. However, I knew the 12 days I used during my college summer vacation would be temporary and I had to remind myself repeatedly, once I was in the full-time workforce, things would change. I knew that when I graduated and began my career, I wouldn’t have the luxury of taking two weeks to go overseas and serve. My heart was in two places, the need and desire to begin my career and the yearning for helping through international missions.
As I have transitioned from college into my career, I realize that picking and choosing when you want to use your paid time off (PTO) can be stressful. Whether it’s using that time for a medical appointment or taking a much-needed vacation, PTO is an asset to all employees. Scheduling PTO means staffers must carefully plan for an entire year of personal demands.
My own perspective on wanting to serve and feeling unable because of time demands, as well as similar feelings by my co-workers, has led to a creative response on the part of my employer, The BaCo Group. The BaCo Group is an organization that never follows the norms, our owners and employees are always thinking outside the box and the response to my needs and those of my peers has been no exception.
During the Spring of 2018, our owners announced a plan to ‘match’ the PTO time taken by employees for service projects. For those employees meeting the requirements of the plan after their first year’s anniversary, The BaCo group will match up to 50% days per year of PTO for service projects – meaning that if an employee is willing to invest a week in a service project, half of the time will come from their own PTO allotment and BaCo will grant an additional 2.5 days of PTO for that employee in support of the employee’s philanthropic desires.
Service projects that fall during filing deadlines or near holidays where numerous employees are out on leave will not be approved. For summer service projects, employees must be cognizant of their summer Friday schedule and work on their own to switch assigned days if service projects lead to them being out of the office on a scheduled workday.
I have seen this response as a great benefit of working for The BaCo Group, as it is very uncommon for employers to support their employee’s desires in this manner. With this matching program, BaCo is incentivizing its employees to serve and is also making an investment in the effort. Service is vital to our community, but in the end, it also leads to immense benefits to the individual serving – through the satisfaction that comes from helping others, through the effort to stop focusing on one’s self which leads to increased compassion, empathy and thankfulness. These qualities all positively impact individuals and lead to greater joyfulness. Within the firm, growing these qualities improves office morale and makes BaCo an even better place to work.
Since the announcement of this new policy, I’ve had the desire to get a mission trip planned and scheduled. I have found myself daydreaming about going on another service trip somewhere across the world, just like the one I was involved in during college, and now I feel free to do so without PTO stress. This matching program opens doors to opportunities for me to serve in so many ways – and the plan to support my efforts is very unique to BaCo. This is just another example of how the BaCo group is constantly evolving in every way, to better serve its employees, the community and its clients through innovations and outside the box thinking.
Published on Jun 27 @ 7:28 PM CDT