Attracting the best and brightest up-and-comers is a challenge for any business: They need to offer great perks that will catch the attention of great employees without coming at too large a monetary cost.
Pizza parties won't do the trick. Businesses need to offer suitable insurance, retirement, and other benefits in order to stay competitive. But to stand out, they need to go beyond the norm. In late 2023, a new contender has emerged to win over hearts and minds: Pet insurance.
Anyone with a cat, dog, or hamster knows that medical emergencies can come out of nowhere and wipe out their savings. Now, some businesses are here to help — well, provided you work for them.
Why Everyone Loves Pet Insurance
Pet insurance makes sense as an employer benefit for very practical reasons: The best benefits must be attractive to a wide range of people, no matter their age, gender, or interests. And granted, many people won't have pets. But loving pets isn't a trait that's constrained to workers within a specific industry or group.
“It certainly has now become mainstream and come in vogue,” as Brian Russell, the voluntary benefits practice leader for consulting firm Mercer, told HR Dive when discussing the topic. “It transcends all types of employer groups; it’s not just limited to one industry… Employers are really finding that it is a benefit that can appeal to a majority of their employee populations, regardless of their generation, regardless of their other statuses.”
Plus, companies can get an unbeatable group rate when they're offering packages to hundreds or thousands of workers at once, meaning that the company and each individual employee saves money.
And it likely doesn't come as much of a surprise that people love their pets. A survey earlier this year from MetLife Pet Insurance has confirmed this: According to their results, eight out of every ten pet parents say they'd rather spend time with their pet than go out on a first date, while nearly seven out of ten say they they “love their pet more than some family members.”
Who's Offering Pet Insurance Benefits?
We ranked the best benefits packages from tech companies earlier this year, and just one of them was ahead of the curve. In fact, you could say that the financial software Intuit was one of a few forward-looking companies that could — and we here at Tech.co deeply apologize for this pun — intuit the next trend in workplace benefits.
You can check out a list of the tech companies that offer pet insurance here — plenty of AI and fintech operations make the cut, along with ecommerce, healthtech and others.
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The exact nature of the benefits might range from an annual stipend of $500 or $800 to a full program covering 70% of all medical needs.
Is Pet Insurance Part of a Return-to-Office Agenda?
There's one last reason pet insurance is popular, and you might not see it coming: Pet insurance pairs well with pet-friendly workplaces, and both these benefits can be packaged with a subtle push for a return to the office. After all, who can argue against their diminishing workplace flexibility benefits when there are so many cute puppies in the office?
And, for those who wish to stay at home mostly to care for their pets, adding pet-friendly workplace policies can lure them back in.
It all helps to support the agenda that a lot of CEOs have been not-so-quietly telling employees to get behind in 2023: More time spent in a physical office, justifying middle managers and office space leases.
We still recommend pushing back against a return-to-office, due to studies indicating workers function better, are more healthy, and cut down on carbon footprints when given full remote flexibility. But we have to agree: If you are heading back to the office, being able to bring along Mittens is a pretty great deal-sweetener.