How pet benefits offer a frictionless path to increased recruitment, employee engagement & retention

Mar 6, 2024

In the ever-changing landscape of the modern workplace, the battle for top talent has become increasingly competitive. As organizations strive to not only attract and retain their workforce, the focus on innovation in benefits that speak directly to employees’ needs and preferences has intensified and shows no sign of slowing. Among these emerging benefits, those that are considered pet-friendly stand out as a unique and effective strategy for enhancing employee engagement and overall wellbeing, ultimately fostering a happier, more loyal workforce. 

The importance of employee engagement 

The modern workplace has undergone significant changes, especially in the wake of the pandemic, leading to a surge in remote work and flexible job arrangements. This shift has amplified the challenge for HR leaders in retaining top talent. Employees are no longer constrained by geographic limitations and therefore have an abundance of opportunities at their disposal. 

Research underscores the importance of employee engagement in this context, revealing that highly engaged employees are not only more productive but also crucial to boosting company profitability. With 51% of workers either actively or passively exploring new opportunities, the stakes for retaining your best talent and enhancing employee engagement have never been higher. Engagement influences employee stress levels significantly more than work location does, underscoring the importance of identifying strategies that make employees feel happy to work for your company. Things like team relationships, quality of work, flexibility at work, work-life balance and employee benefits can all affect employee engagement. 

“Engagement has 3.8x as much influence on employee stress as work location. How people feel about their job has a lot more to do with their relationship with their team and manager than being remote or being on-site.


Reducing employee stress: the role of pet benefits

The benefits of interacting with pets extend beyond mere companionship; studies have demonstrated that the presence of animals can substantially decrease cortisol levels and blood pressure, thereby mitigating stress and enhancing overall wellbeing. The introduction of pets in the workplace can have a calming effect, lowering stress levels, and even improving productivity and interpersonal relationships among employees. 

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) highlights that pet-inclusive workplaces are more likely to attract, engage and retain employees, leading to improved satisfaction, communication, and collaboration. And while inviting pets into the physical workplace may not work for all organizations, supporting working pet parents through meaningful and substantive pet health benefits goes a very long way in demonstrating your organization’s commitment to the things that are important to your workforce – their families, which includes the family pets. 

“Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Pet benefits as a competitive advantage

The appeal of pet-inclusive workplaces is evident in the statistics: 52% of job seekers consider pet-friendly benefits important considerations when choosing an employer, and nearly half (49%) would be swayed by such policies to accept a job offer. And while not appropriate for all office environments, it should be noted that the presence of pets in the office contributes significantly to employee satisfaction, with a notable forty-six percent of employees stating that it would enhance their loyalty and likelihood to recommend their employer to others. 

Attracting younger generations: Millennials & Gen Z

The demographic shift towards Millennials and Gen Z in the workforce brings with it a strong emphasis on pet parenthood. With nearly 70% of U.S. households owning a pet, and a significant portion of Millennials falling into this category, the demand for pet benefits is loud and clear. These benefits not only align with the values of younger generations but also serve as a powerful incentive for them to remain with a company. Millennials, in particular, are willing to invest significantly in their pets’ health, highlighting the importance of pet benefits in their overall employment satisfaction. 

Millennials are serious about the health of their pets according to TD Ameritrade, this generational group is prepared to spend $1,930 on a sick pet and 11% indicated they would be willing to spend $10,000 or more.

TD Ameritrade

A final word

As the workplace continues to evolve, so too must the strategies employed by organizations to attract and retain their best employees. Pet benefits emerge as a powerful tool in this arsenal, specifically as it relates to the up and coming generations. These benefits offer a unique way to enhance employee engagement, reduce stress, and foster a sense of loyalty, camaraderie and satisfaction among staff. By embracing pet-inclusive policies, companies can better position themselves as forward-thinking, compassionate employers that value the wellbeing of their workforce. In doing so, they not only enhance their appeal to current and prospective employees but also set the stage for a more enthusiastic, productive and high-performing workforce. 

Incorporating pet inclusivity into the fabric of company culture represents a frictionless path towards achieving higher employee engagement and retention. As organizations look to navigate the complexities of the modern employment landscape, the adoption of such policies could very well be the differentiator that sets them apart in the quest to attract and retain the very best talent.