C-Suite Advisory

CEO Advice for Innovating Your Benefits Package Going into 2022

Jodi Kovitz
Jodi Kovitz, Chief Growth Officer and DE&I Leader of Vetster Inc.

Hiring today is a tricky endeavor to say the least. It’s never been harder or more competitive to hire, engage, and retain top talent. It might seem like this is a persistent condition of our high-tech economy, but it’s become far more pronounced post-pandemic.

The working world has gone through massive changes and adaptations over the past 18 months with COVID-19. We’ve had to pivot to at-home, video-on modalities that have challenged the best of us and the way we approach team building. Our talent pools are larger, they’re more diverse, and they have higher expectations of their employers than ever before. They’re no longer solely focused on salary: today’s employees are looking for a complete package of benefits that meet their full needs.

Today’s Employees Need New Compensation Solutions

As companies determine their remote-working, hybrid and back-to-office programs, the benefits and perks employees loved pre-pandemic need to be reconsidered. For those companies that are moving away from a dedicated office, perks like free snacks, barista services, on-site dry cleaning, and contribution to commuting expenses no longer have the same value.

On the flipside, for employees working primarily at home, their lifestyle has dramatically changed and it’s likely so too have their priorities. A well-outfitted home office now becomes very important. Flexible work hours to accommodate school routines and personal workstyles are expected. Many of the social aspects of a workplace’s culture have also changed.

Because the rapidly changing needs of employees are happening within the context of a highly competitive hiring landscape, we’re also facing workforce shortages like never before. Dubbed “The Great Resignation”, 20 million Americans have quit their jobs since April 2021. And they’re not easy to replace.

People are now looking for ways to be more fulfilled at work, and for work that meets their changing needs. This, coupled with a more mobile, online workforce who are growing comfortable working from home, means that companies need to pay attention and keep up.

While competitive salaries and strong health benefits solutions can go a long way, attracting and retaining talent requires more creativity than ever before. Businesses need to focus on creating clear missions, compassionate benefits, and a human approach to employment, which will allow them to create attractive solutions for growing teams.

Now is the time to bring solutions that serve the lifestyle and real-life experiences of your employees and their families.

The Definition of Family is Changing 

The COVID-19 era has rapidly ushered in changes to the family structure, as people are staying single, choosing not to have children, and adopting more pets than ever before.

Millennials are leading the charge. As more people stayed home, they sought companionship and comfort by adopting pets. They’ve adjusted their lifestyles to accommodate walking and feeding schedules, they’ve invested in toys, and they’ve found new ways to spoil their pets. And, as a result, the pet industry is ballooning and in 2020 it was a $99 billion industry. It’s massive.

Pet parents don’t want to lose their connections to their pets. They aren’t interested in a return to office that deprives their pet of the care they need. While there has been news of “pet regret”, the majority of pet owners are anxious to create stable, loving environments for their pets, even with a return to work.

We need to rewrite our culture and hiring playbooks, starting with a holistic understanding of who our employees are and what they need. Perks need to account for lifestyles, changing family structures, all facets of people’s identities through an equity lens and the reality of new work-life balance.

Create Flexible Benefits Solutions

Family benefits are a great first step in the new hiring playbook. Supporting your team as they grow their families or tackle health challenges at any age. But leave out pet parents at your own risk.

With 70% of Americans owning at least one companion animal, it’s likely your team has a few pet parents. Companion animals are part of the family, with their own unique health and wellness needs.

So how can you innovate around this new demographic?

Adopt forward-thinking programs that support pet parents. Whether it’s creating a pet-friendly office, providing daycare, or offering pet insurance subsidies, there are myriad ways to support pet parents.

An interesting new offering is Vetster for Work, it’s an easy-to-use digital solution that connects pet parents to veterinary professionals online 24/7. All appointments take place virtually, over video or chat, so pet parents always have a quick and convenient way to meet with a vet when they need one. All without leaving home or the office.

Telemedicine for humans has already taken off, especially over the pandemic. It’s been worked into many health benefit plans at major corporations, not only because it makes healthcare more accessible but because it helps prevent absenteeism. Making health goals and health care more convenient for busy people is a simple way to support your employees.

Major companies across the globe are adopting smart, tech-driven solutions that put power back in their employees hands. They’re enabling them with the best tech, access to 24/7 healthcare, and countless perks that make working from home just a little bit easier.

And if you want to hire and retain great talent, it’s time to follow their lead and make your employees priorities, your priorities.

Written by Jodi Kovitz.

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Jodi Kovitz
Jodi Kovitz is the Chief Growth Officer and DE&I Leader of Vetster Inc. Jodi is excited to catalyze Vetster's growth as a disruptive global brand builder, marketer and sales leader. She brings deep passion for equity and inclusion to everything Vetster does, from how the company builds the team, develops the product, and creates a world in which every pet can thrive.

Jodi Kovitz is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.