Four-Legged Benefits – Employers are Getting Pet Friendly

Four-Legged Benefits – Employers are Getting Pet Friendly

When something is important to a person, it can have a measurable impact on their work performance. Many aspects of workplace benefits are designed around this concept, helping to brighten employee’s days and put their minds at ease so they can better focus on their responsibilities. In the case of pets, there’s no doubt that animals are important parts of households. They’re furry family members, and benefit offerings have been evolving to make sure they’re being included too.

Broadly speaking, pet benefits fall into two categories. On one side, a common offering is pet insurance coverage. Other employers go a step further, allowing their staff flexible options to work alongside their pets. Both present uniquely good things for employers. There is solid evidence that pets can help improve retention, performance, and other positive company outcomes.


Support for Rising Costs

Looking at insurance offerings first, most employers are choosing to add pet insurance to their employee policies as a new and innovative way to support their talent. A big reason for this is the rapidly rising costs of pet ownership and the stresses they can create.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), U.S. market spending on pets was $103.6 billion in 2020. This was a big increase from $97.1 billion in 2019 and $90.5 billion in 2018, and projections show a continued increase for 2021.

Of that $103.6 billion spent last year, about half ($53.5 billion) was spent on vet care, vet product sales, supplies, over-the-counter medicine, and other purchases.

Looking at average spending on an individual level, online resource PetFinder estimates the cost of ownership of a single dog can be as high as $2,455 annually. The majority of people, 92%, will pay for these expenses out of pocket.

Such high spending may create difficult choices for employees about care for their beloved pet, which creates stress and can distract a person from their work. Thus, the logic of pet insurance is based on alleviating this worry by supporting a four-legged family member in much the same way a human would be financially supported with medical coverage options.

The good thing about this for employers is that more and more standard insurance providers are adding pet clauses each year. Incorporating pet insurance into a company’s existing benefit package might be as easy as a phone call to their current insurance provider. Doing so can enhance a firm’s talent attraction efforts, demonstrate they care about employees, and even help workers focus by being less stressed.


Performance-Boosting Buddies

Another pet benefit gaining popularity in some workplaces is the ability to work alongside one’s animal. There are quite a few reasons why this is a good thing for business. Primarily, it’s because pets make people happier and happier people work more effectively.

For example, according to Employee Benefit News (EBN), 50% of employees who work with their pets report being more productive. That fact by itself could have a big impact on most bottom lines.

Going a step further, there are numerous ways in which pets can improve employee loyalty, morale, retention, and even teamwork. The Society of Human Resources (SHRM) cites a study that found up to 83% of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to companies with pet-friendly policies. To add to that, 91% of HR leaders agree that having pets at work improves morale.

Animals also bring people together in special ways because they’re a source of common ground between people. They can build a sense of unity and foster interaction between different workplace groups, for example, which can build greater workflow and comradery.


Barkin’ Good for Business

What’s important to people can have a measurable impact on business, and pets sure are important to people. In a market where companies are constantly competing with one another over who has the best talent and work environment, many firms have been incorporating pet policies in their plans to gain the upper hand. And there’s good evidence that it’s working. Pets can reduce stress, boost performance, and go a long way toward improving talent retention. Employers may want to consider taking pet benefits for a walk to learn more about how they can help companies grow.

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