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By Kevin Pohl

What do you value in a company? When I was caught in the midst of the frantic search for a job post-graduation, the companies that stood out to me were those that truly valued their employees. To clarify, by “value” I’m referring to opportunities for learning and advancement for employees, along with the tools necessary to accomplish both. After earning my degree in Human Resources, I found a particular affinity for those companies that cultivated the Worker Experience. When I first discovered Appirio’s Ascend Program, I thought it was too good to be true. In my mind, the idea of a company pouring that amount of time and resources into developing recently graduated talent seemed impossible. I was wrong.

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I am currently in my second month as an Ascend Consultant here at Appirio. I started with 16 other recent graduates between the ages of 21 and 23. All together, we make up an eclectic bunch with majors ranging all across the spectrum — from Informatics and Computer Science to History. On day one, I could not have told you the difference between a cumulonimbus cloud and an enterprise cloud, other than that one of them means you should pack an umbrella. Fortunately, thanks to the time and energy my peers and superiors dedicated to Ascend, I have been equipped with the knowledge necessary to develop in my role as a consultant.

From day one, I have never felt uncomfortable approaching anyone with a question. The openness and transparency within the organization have cultivated a culture wherein everything an employee brings to the table is valued. The collaboration is unlike any I’ve previously encountered. During my short tenure with the company as part of the Ascend program, I’ve already been provided the opportunity to travel to Green Bay to work with a project team, along with many other chances to work with project teams at the Appirio office in Indianapolis. I’ve participated in presentation skills training, personality and conflict management training, and various overviews of the different practices within Appirio — all of which serve to facilitate the transition from the Ascend Program to a role as an Associate Consultant.

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When was the last time your company asked whether or not you’re having fun at work and truly cared? When was the last time your company gave employees a holiday solely to volunteer in their community? How about your company letting you dial in from home during your second week of work because you had scheduling conflicts? When was the last time you had to dive out of the way to avoid your supervisor’s incoming Nerf dart? I don’t know about you, but I can safely say that all of those things have happened to me in the last 2 months. I’m in my second month of having my head in the cloud, so to speak, and there are no complaints here.

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