When creating a company culture that will bring top talent to you and retain them, there are various practices you can try. You can have weekly catered lunches, casual Fridays, team outings, incentives for top performers, etc.
But one practice that doesn’t come to mind – but can be just as effective – is a simple premise: becoming a pet-friendly employer.
Pet-friendly offices are becoming more popular than you would think, and the reasons why are compelling.
1. Millions of employees own pets.
According to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, nearly 80 million families have a pet. The same study showed that 54 million U.S. households include a dog. As a result, a pet-friendly employer would affect a considerable number of employees in the workforce, and thus be more enticing for employees to work for.
2. Pet-friendly benefits attract and retain top talent.
Whether it’s take-your-dog-to-work days, offering pet insurance or volunteering at animal shelters, these programs can improve recruitment, morale, and even wellness. Did you know that simply being around an animal decreases your blood pressure, which is one physical sign of stress? Less stressful employees = higher quality of work and higher retention rates.
3. Pet-friendly policies increase employee loyalty.
Banfield Pet Hospital conducted a 2016 study that showed that 83% of employees feel stronger loyalty to companies with pet-friendly policies. Moreover, over 50% of workers that don’t have pet-related perks admitted that they would likely stay with a company that does have benefits for furry friends. The survey was taken out of a pool of 1,006 employees, where 88% agreed that having pets at work boosts morale.
After all, there’s nothing like needing a five-minute break and turning around and petting a dog or a cat, or having a stressful day only to find the bright face of a dog looking at you like you’re the greatest person in the world. Talk about a mood booster.
4. Pet-friendly offices boost individual and team morale.
Bill Page, the HR director for Arkansas Business Publishing Group, notes: “[Pet-friendly offices] create unity among staff and opportunities for interaction among departments that might not otherwise have interacted.”
Thus, in addition to individual benefits, pets at work give a more holistic sense of company identity even across departments, which can be otherwise difficult to achieve using alternative methods.
5. Pets are a big advantage for recruiting millennials and recent graduates.
“Dogs have become a bigger part of everyone’s life, especially as Millennials delay having children,” says Jennifer Joyce, the V.P. of Marketing for Kurgo. “For many, their dog is often their first child.”
It’s the best of both worlds, old and new.
However, there are understandably some concerns in having a pet-friendly office. For instance, what if you have a dog who has an accident? Or needs attention too much and becomes a distraction? Or the animal becomes hostile and bites someone?
These are all reasonable concerns. Yet one thing to remember is that being a pet-friendly employer is ultimately a bonus, and with every perk, there must be regulations to deserve it.
One example that a Toronto office did was require employees to have worked for the company for at least three months before merely applying to bring their dogs in. If they do apply, the application must include their department, desk location, dog’s name, age, breed and gender, whether the dog has been fixed, if the dog has had obedient training, and how often the pup would come to the office.
All reasonable information, right?
From there, the employee must get their manager’s approval as well as confirm with nearby co-workers if it’s okay with them. Other companies also require that the dogs be healthy, clean and up-to-date on vaccinations and flea treatments.
The above are just some suggestions you can utilize if you do decide to become a pet-friendly employer. If you want to test-run becoming a pet-friendly employer, try bringing in an employee’s dog once a week, and from there gradually increase the visits accordingly until you find the right balance. Some companies can have dogs every day of the work week, and others only a few times a week.
Ultimately, do what’s best for you – though speaking from personal experience, the benefits of having a pet-friendly office far outweigh any risks, and implementing animals in your social media strategy may attract more engagement than you anticipate. Animals do go viral often.
Want some custom animal swag for your furry brand ambassadors? We can help with that.