Employee Benefit Trends: The Popularity of Pet-Friendly Perks

Employee Benefit Trends: The Popularity of Pet-Friendly Perks

January 28, 2020

Companies are well aware that in today’s competitive job market, it is necessary to offer employees healthcare and voluntary benefits to attract and retain talent. Not surprisingly, more and more employers over the last five years have been willing to offer their workers perks that extend to their family pets.   

An Employee Benefit News article reports that an overwhelming majority of employees say they feel highly connected to their employer’s mission when pet-friendly policies and benefits are in place, according to research from Nationwide and the Human Animal Bound Research Institute.

With Millennials making up the majority of the workforce today, and that majority having a high likelihood of owning a pet, benefit managers have a real opportunity to engage with this demographic, said Anthony Sharett, president of Nationwide Pet Insurance.

“It is paramount that employers consider adding pet friendly perks such as allowing pets in the workplace or offering pet health insurance as a voluntary employee benefit,” he said.

In fact, 72% of employees would decline a job offer with another company at similar pay to work in a pet-friendly environment, according to the study.

To most, pets are considered an extension of that person’s family, Sharett says. “Any time you can offer a benefit to the extension of their family is a good thing,” he added.

Engagement also skyrockets at companies with pet-friendly policies, the study notes, with 91% of respondents saying they feel fully engaged in a pet-friendly workplace, compared to only 65% who say they feel fully engaged in a non-pet-friendly atmosphere.

“HR pros understand to retain quality people is less about compensation and more about making people feel valued,” he stated.

But employers who can’t develop a pet-friendly workplace strategy can also look into offering pet insurance to employees. There is only a 2% to 3% penetration in the pet insurance market, Sharett said, noting the wide opportunity employers have to develop this voluntary benefit.

The cost of care is increasing for pet healthcare, he noted. To address this challenge, he said Nationwide is looking to expand its offerings to tailor the benefit to specific employee needs – such as offering benefits for emergency-care only, or more holistic ongoing health and wellness plans.