Did you know that offering employees the opportunity to bring their pets to work is a current trend? It’s true! According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), nine percent of employers already have an office policy allowing pets. This includes some well-recognized employers-of-choice such as Google, Amazon, Salesforce and Workday.
The fact is that the percentage of workplaces with a pet-friendly policy has more than doubled in the past four years. Benefits experts believe that this percentage will continue to increase in the future.
Why you may ask? According to a business magazine called Chief Executive, the next generation of business professionals want it. A survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital found that more than 66 percent of human resource decision makers said that potential candidates asked if the workspace was pet-friendly during their interview process.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. A pet-friendly environment can benefit both the employer and the employee. The employer may see increased retention, loyalty, productivity, and morale in their staff. On the other hand, the employee may experience decreased stress and absenteeism, according to a recent study from the Virginia Commonwealth University. As an added bonus, when you allow pets in the office, employees may be more engaged and willing to work a full day. The policy eliminates their need to worry about rushing home to check-in on their pet.
If you already have a program like this or are looking to start one, consider effective communications a key element of its success. Here are some ways to make sure you’re engaging employees appropriately:
Make Sure Every Employee’s Voice is Heard
In order for a pet-friendly workspace to be successful, employees need to feel included. With this in mind, be sure to remember everybody might not have a pet or feel comfortable around animals. That’s why it’s important to find out where people are. Do this by talking to coworkers who might be worried about this implementation, are allergic, or have any questions or concerns. Engage them in a short online poll, focus groups or informal meetings to get their thoughts. Use what you learn to inform not only the program, but communications strategy. Arm managers with talking points so they know how to approach people on their teams who may be skeptical.
Design a “Frequently Asked Questions” Document That Lays Out Program Guidelines
One of the most important steps in creating this type of policy is making sure that the guidelines are clear. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are a user-friendly tool for distributing information in a way that can be scanned, easy to revisit, and quickly updated as questions come your way. Start with the questions you expect you’ll get the most. Write them in the way employees would ask them to make the information intuitive for search. Update often to aid in eliminating any confusion.
Get the Word Out Through the Appropriate Media
How you decide to spread the word to your employees is crucial. Are you going to send out a mass email? Post a flyer in the break room? Hold a company-wide meeting? Post it on your company’s intranet? There are many different ways to tell your employees about this new policy, but some may be more fitting for your company than others. The goal is to meet employees where you know they go most. This ensures that you are reaching as many people as possible. Even though younger workers tend to value this pet-friendly program most, not all want to receive information on line. Because we all learn differently, the best approach is to use a mix of approaches, from online to traditional. This guarantees that you connect with everybody somewhere.
Create Clear Messaging That Includes the Ground Rules
No matter how you decide to share information, remember that consistency is key. Reiterate the ground rules and key aspects of the policy often and through a variety of media so employees always know what to expect. If your message is direct, concise, and clear, employees are more likely to be receptive. Something to keep in mind is that when you begin to tire of the information, employees are just starting to get it.
Communicating the Pet-Friendly Policy in Recruitment
Your current workers aren’t the only ones who should know about this new policy. Promote it to job-searching millennials who, as we now know, are looking for pet-friendly offices. Talk to your Human Resources team to see how you can best communicate this policy in the recruitment process. That may include adding it to job postings on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor, putting it in the employee handbook and promoting it at job fairs. This could be a real deal maker for some candidates and in a tight job market, that counts!
As you can see, there are a lot of things to think about when educating your employees on how to embrace a pet-friendly office. Note that your communications strategy is crucial when explaining any new policy. Communicate well so you can set employees and your program up for real success.
Most of your younger employees don’t think that a life insurance policy applies to them. For the most part, they’re still healthy. For another, many haven’t yet married or had children, and see an investment in life insurance as a waste of money.
And yet, the truth is life insurance can be meaningful for everybody, no matter their age or stage of life. The challenge is to help them see how they can benefit from a life insurance policy when they’re not convinced they need it just yet.
That’s where effective communications come in. Use the right strategy and tactics to encourage younger employees to take a look at life insurance. Help them see its value and embrace that idea that it may not be as expensive or unnecessary as they think. To the contrary, buying a plan now may very well save them money down the road. Here are four tactics to get your younger employees to consider a life insurance policy.
1. Remind Them Insurance Protects Their Loved Ones In Case Of The Unexpected
While nobody ever wants an accident or injury to happen, the fact is it does at any age. That’s why your younger workers should consider a life insurance policy. It protects their family members from having to worry about paying for a costly funeral. If employees are aware of this huge expense it could sway them to buy a plan. Then they wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving those expenses up to someone else.
2. Convey That Plans Are Affordable
Let them know that you, as their employer, already offer them a basic life insurance policy. Show them the value of buying supplemental life insurance on top of it.
If your company doesn’t already offer it, think about adding supplemental life insurance to your voluntary benefits. Your employees will appreciate the convenience of one-stop shopping for benefits. Supplemental life insurance normally only costs healthy people in their twenties a couple pennies to the dollar per month. It is worth the investment to buy supplemental coverage, as it will not put a dent in their pockets.
3. Promote Now, Save Later
One of the easiest incentives for your younger employees to consider life insurance policies now is that they’re less expensive. Although they may not feel they need life insurance right now, they know they will need it later in their lives. This is a great selling point. Use side-by-side comparison charts and coverage examples in your communications to show them the value of buying when they’re young.
4. Show Them the Stakes
Most younger employees don’t consider the stakes involved in not having life insurance coverage. The risk of disease and death is lower for the young and healthy, but the unexpected can happen. And if it did, how would their loved ones fare? Employees need to understand life insurance offers them and their families’ important protection. Their families won’t go into debt paying for their care or funeral expenses.
Younger employees should consider other expenses too. If a parent co-signed on a private student loan, they would be responsible for the balance. That can be a hefty sum.
Employers should communicate to younger employees that life insurance is indeed for everyone. Help them see the wisdom of buying a life insurance policy at an earlier age. It is an important way for employers to help their people stay healthy—physically, mentally, and financially.
A few weeks ago, my colleague Andrew Clancy, blogged about how companies can keep Baby Boomers engaged at work. Now, I want to look at the other end of the age spectrum, the oft-discussed Millennials.
The Census Bureau categorizes Millennials as born between 1982-2000. This segment of the population makes up 40% percent of the American work force. By 2027, that percentage should grow to 75%. So, the chances are high you are either a Millennial yourself or you manage Millennials.
Companies need strong benefits to recruit and retain top talent across the generations. Affordable health care plans, paid time off, and employer-sponsored retirement matter to everyone. But what benefits are especially appealing to Millennial workers?
1.Tuition Reimbursement/Professional Development Budget
A Price Waterhouse Coopers survey of Millennial employees shows training and development is their most requested benefit.
Some fields need advanced degrees to climb the corporate ladder. Yet, the cost of graduate school can be out-of-reach to many Millennials who carry heavy debt from their undergrad years. In a Gallup Poll, 45% of Millennial workers would be willing to change companies if a new employer offered tuition reimbursement. That should be a wake-up call to HR professionals. Will a competitor poach your rising stars and provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs better?
Continuing education doesn’t always have to be part of a formal degree program. This generation values seminars and workshops that help them grow in their careers. 41% would change companies if given access to a professional development budget.
2. Flexible Work Schedules
In corporate America, the days of 9-5 are going the way of fax machines and smoking in the office. Flexibility was the second most-requested benefit in the PWC Millennials poll. A flexible work schedule can take many forms. It can mean working from home or untraditional start and end times or compressed work weeks.
This benefit is of high importance to Millennial employees. The Gallup poll shows 63% would change jobs to get a flexible working schedule. Fifty percent would change jobs for the chance to telecommute some of the time. Forty-seven percent would change jobs for the chance to telecommute all the time.
Telecommuting has two big benefits for companies. It reduces employee turnover and improves productivity. Both help the bottom line. Flexible working hours allow employees to schedule work when they are at their peak, producing stronger results. Workers on flexible schedules reduce the need to use personal days for daytime appointments. Telecommuting saves employees money on gas or public transit.
3. Child Care Benefits
The Millennial generation is approaching work-life balance in a new way. And that is especially evident in their approach to raising children. Gallup shows 44% of Millennials would switch jobs if their new company offered paid maternity leave. Thirty-seven percent would leave for paid paternity leave. Thirty percent would leave for child care reimbursements.
Human resources professionals may think their employees are not concerned with these issues. But, Business Insider reports an estimated 60 million Millennials will become parents over the next decade. This is in addition to the millennials who already have young children. The Millennial generation may be delaying childbirth, but not forever.
Especially with older Millennials, companies need to meet the changing needs of parents. Having benefits that look after workers’ long-term needs will help with retention when they become parents. Childcare is a large financial burden and discounts would ease one stressor for employees, making them more focused. Backup childcare or even on-site daycare helps employees not to panic when their regular options fall through.
Some employers may think they need to offer trendy benefits, like game rooms or beer fridges, to recruit and retain Millennials. In reality, Millennials want benefits that help them achieve career and life success.