Most workers get a paid vacation as part of their employee benefits, but Imagemakers takes it one step further.
Imagemakers offers the Culture Shock Trip Reimbursement Program. After 12 months of continuous employment team members can apply for up to $1,500 reimbursement for travel expenses to a country outside of the United States, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands.
“The goal of this program is to help make trips overseas as affordable as domestic trips. I want our team to have the opportunity to experience how people different from them live, eat, advertise, market and experience life. Once you go to another culture where you can’t speak the language you often learn more about communicating, design and advertising than you can learn any other way,” Dan Holmgren, creative director, said.
Those taking advantage of the Culture Shock program are asked to take, and share with fellow team members upon return, photographs from their travels. They are also asked to purchase a newspaper in the country visited and to write about what they learned about how those living in a different part of the world may see and communicate differently.
Mary Foster, project manager, used the incentive to travel to Italy, Greece, Spain and Croatia and said experiencing cultures where she didn’t speak the same language forced her to figure out how to communicate in new ways.
“To put yourself in that kind of environment creates discomfort, but from that you grow and become more confident in your ability to solve problems,” Foster said.
Without the Culture Shock incentive Foster said she would have likely traveled somewhere inside the United States and would have missed this opportunity to experience a different part of the world.
“Traveling overseas and experiencing different cultures is an excellent way for us, as designers and programmers, to remember not everyone sees the world as we do,” Holmgren said.
Team members have used the Culture Shock travel incentive to travel all over the world, including Italy, Asia, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Turkey and Austria.
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