We love hearing about small companies that offer sabbaticals to their employees. Each one serves as an example to hold up to the naysayers who claim that “sabbaticals are for big companies.”
Today’s example: Capterra. Founded in 1999, the Arlington, VA-based online marketplace for software solutions offers all of its employees (currently number 20) a five-week, fully-paid sabbatical every five years.
“I’m a huge believer in working hard and having a good work ethic, but I also believe in having a life outside of work,” says Mike Ortner, one of two founders of Capterra. “We only live once. The sabbatical programs gives people an opportuntity to do something they want and to recharge. It’s very little cost to us, and what we gain in loyalty outweighs whatever costs there are.”
This year, three Capterra employees hit their 5-year mark and earned a sabbatical. One has already gone – he took a two-week car trip with his wife and two kids to visit family members and then did a three-week staycation with his children. The other two Capterra sabbatical-goers are still exploring possibilities for their time away (one is interested in volunteering at a koala reserve).
Capterra asks two things of sabbatical-goers:
- Make your time away a growth experience, no matter what you do.
- Present about your sabbatical and what you learned to the rest of the Capterra team upon return.
To small company owners who say they can’t offer a sabbatical, Ortner has this to say: “If you’re barely profitable and you’re just squeezing by, then I can understand. But if you have a well-run, profitable business, you can and should do it. If someone’s staying five years or longer, they’re invested in the company. You want them to continue to be a great employee for your business, so you have to invest them.”