With unemployment at a 17 year low, employers are reawakening to the need for effective talent retention strategies. One of the hottest trends in corporate perks recognizes the astounding level of devotion American workers have for their furry, four-legged companions. No matter what your budget, there are options for your company to offer animal lovers another reason to love their job, and another reason to love YOU, the employer who understands that Mr. McNibbles the Chihuahua or Schnitzel the Miniature Schnauzer is a member of your employee’s family.
Here are some suggestions for making Fido happy … and to encourage your highest producers to stay:
- The ultimate gold standard of pet perks is the dog friendly office. According to a 2016 survey by Banfield Pet Hospital, 82% of employees feel “greater loyalty” to a company that allows pets in the workplace. Glassdoor, Procter & Gamble, and Amazon are some examples of employers that welcome dogs, and the vacuum company Bissell even has a designated Pet Area equipped with water, toys, and a bathing station. Granted, this approach is not feasible for many companies, and requires careful consideration of liability issues and other drawbacks. Not everyone’s precious pooch is capable of professional-caliber behavior, and you may find that not every pet parent is ready to admit it. Management must be prepared to referee occasional conflicts, and, if you have to reject too many barky, whiny, gassy, or weak-bladdered participants (speaking about the pets here!), it may be the employer who ends up in the dog house. Less radical options might be an annual participation in “Bring your Dog to Work” day, or, as we do here at ConsultStu, schedule occasional one-day doggie “office passes” on a special incentive basis.
- In-house doggie daycare. If you have extra space, implementing a modest on-site pet-sitting operation would not require enormous investment, and would eliminate many of the problems associated with allowing pets to roam freely throughout the workplace. Integrate a bit of communal area for visits, walk breaks, or outdoor lunch seating, and your employees will never want to work anywhere else. Since it would require some additional staffing to provide supervision and care for the fur-kids, this is most practical for mid-to-larger companies.
- Subsidize third party pet-sitting. Regardless of how much or how little of the cost you plan on covering for employees, negotiating with local providers may result in substantially discounted rates. In addition to workday pet care, you might offer employees free kennel-boarding during authorized business travel.
- Offer free or discounted pet insurance. Plans, premiums, and level of coverage varies widely … to begin your research, here is a link to Consumers Advocate’s 10 top pet insurance providers for 2018.
- Team with local pet rescue organizations. Maybe an adoption drive can be set up once or twice a year on your premises, or socialization trainers can regularly bring foster animals on-site to enjoy some interaction and help them become adoption ready.
Whatever your company’s capacity is for extending pet perks, take advantage of this endearing and affordable way to enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty. Dogs have an innate ability to make people smile, reduce stress, and encourage enthusiasm and optimism. Find a way to let them be a part of your business success.