Why Pet Benefits Can Be the Antidote for the Great Resignation
Employee recruitment and retention are weighing heavily on every HR professional’s mind at the moment. With remote work and widespread labor shortages creating new opportunities, many employees are heading for the exits. At the same time, finding new talent to replace them has become tougher than ever. To solve both problems, you need to make your company a more attractive place to work—and it’s going to take more than installing a Ping-Pong table or buying better coffee for the break room.
What workers want
There’s no single magic key, but for a large number of employees, a voluntary benefits package that goes beyond the basics can make a big difference in their decision to join or leave an employer. As many as 72% of people say that the more benefits they have, the happier they are with their jobs1, and of those additional offerings, pet benefits have some of the highest perceived value. Among millennials—a demographic set to represent the largest portion of the workplace by 2025—a December 2021 Nationwide survey revealed that 45% would be motivated to stay with a company that offers pet benefits, or leave for one that does2. (The percentage for Gen Z was even higher, clocking in at 49%.)
While health insurance coverage is probably the best-known pet benefit, it’s not the only one you can roll into an enticing package. For example, in Nationwide’s survey, respondents listed pet-friendly offices and paid time off to care for newly adopted or ailing pets as desirable options. Nearly 50% also said they would be more willing to return physically to their offices if they were pet-friendly, which could help solve another pressing issue companies are currently facing2.
Many of these perks also offer the advantage of costing the employer little or nothing. Pet insurance can be 100% employee-paid3, and allowing employees to bring pets to work requires only some time spent planning.
Supporting the whole family
The growing popularity of pet benefits didn’t come out of the blue; it’s part of an ongoing shift in the status of pets within society. Nine out of 10 Americans say they consider their pets to be fully part of the family, and people often feel the same emotional affinity for their pets that they have for their children4. In fact, 58% are more concerned about their pets’ health than their own5.
While there are differing opinions on whether anthropomorphizing pets is the best thing for them, it’s a fact that many employees regard themselves as pet parents rather than pet owners, and they want to be supported and recognized in that role. Given this, in addition to tailoring your voluntary benefits package to include pets, you also may want to help foster a community for pet parents within your workplace5. This can both help employees feel appreciated, and ease some of the stress and worry they may feel about caring for their pets.
Some possibilities to consider:
- Create a pet parent group where employees with pets can exchange advice (and cute photos), make friends, and get support.
- Connect employees with local resources for grooming, walking, veterinary care and more.
- Offer access to financial planning and budgeting tools to help plan for pet-related expenses.
Recruiting and retaining the best talent will likely remain a challenge for some time to come, so don’t wait—add pet benefits to your voluntary package now to position yourself for success in the future. It’s one of the strongest signals you can send to employees that you value them and their families, whether their loved ones have two legs or four.
1. Puppy perks: How to succeed in recruiting and retaining millennial job-seekers”
2. “Trouble keeping or hiring employees? Offering pet benefits could help!”
3. “Inexpensive benefits you can add to avoid the Great Resignation”
4. “The pets as kids revolution”
5. “Pet parents are seeking a sense of community. Employers can help.”