From a dog’s perspective, Halloween is very strange. All evening, weird-looking people (mostly of the small variety) come knocking or shouting at the door. Instead of being scared, people welcome these creatures with smiles. And, to make matters worse, when us canines do our jobs – bark in warning – humans tell us to stop! We’re only trying to protect you!
Perplexed, I asked one of my human friends to explain. She said that people dress up and go door-to-door to get treats. While I still don’t grasp the entire concept, I can easily understand the part about treats. Treats are my favorite thing! From peanut butter crunchies, to liver snaps and milk bones, I love them all!
Of course, dogs and kids are not the only ones who appreciate getting something special. In fact, most people will work for “treats,” so to speak.
Humans need to earn an income to pay for important things like shelter, transportation, and of course, dog food. But, studies reveal that people want more than a paycheck. In fact, 57% of respondents in a recent survey said benefits and perks play a major role when deciding whether to accept a job. While salary is still the most important consideration, employees weigh the following factors heavily:
- Good Health Insurance. This was ranked as the most important benefit, which is no surprise since the cost of healthcare continues to rise. Ensuring employees are healthy and productive not only shows that you care about your employees, but it’s an investment in your most valuable assets. (Look, I know going to the vet is no fun, but staying healthy is important!)
- Work-Life Balance. Besides salary, this was named the most important factor to employees on deciding whether to take a new job or leave a current position. Spending time with family and friends, or pursuing outside interests and hobbies helps employees lead rewarding, fulfilling lives, which in turn, allows them to be more productive. While those extra hours aren’t worth that much to the employer, it does cause resentment and sometimes burnout. Offering a flexible work schedule is one of the best ways to provide a healthy life-work balance and typically costs employers very little. (Personally, I think daily walks and afternoon naps should be part of everyone’s work day!)
- Opportunities for advancement and professional development. Employees who feel stuck in their current roles or bored with their responsibilities are more likely to start looking for jobs that offer more opportunities. This is especially true for younger workers – 87% of millennials said in a recent Gallup poll that professional development is very important. Opportunities for advancement were also rated as “crucial” to job satisfaction. (Hey, we all like to learn new things and grow – I’ve grown four inches in the last month!)
- A Sense of Purpose. More and more, employees are seeking jobs that have meaning and provide a sense of purpose. Again, this is especially true for millennials – 50% of those surveyed said they would take a pay cut for work that matches their own values. Social responsibility and having a positive impact on society are important factors for younger job seekers. (I get it – I couldn’t work for a company that didn’t like dogs.)
Considering there is a shortage of talent in many business sectors, and it’s getting tougher to recruit and maintain great employees, an increasing number of companies are becoming more creative. For instance, Amazon recently announced they’re testing a 30-hour workweek. Airbnb gives employees an annual travel stipend of $2,000. And, Netflix recently began offering one year of parental leave to both salaried and hourly workers.1
There are lots of “treats” you can use to entice new talent and keep current employees happy. What’s most meaningful may depend on the type of industry you’re in, as well as the demographics of the people you’re trying to attract and keep. If you’re not sure what’s important, why not ask? Transparency is also important to overall job satisfaction, along with a trusting, safe environment, pleasant working conditions, a collaborative atmosphere, competent and ethical leadership and fair treatment. (I would add belly rubs and games of fetch to that list).
Overall, there is no better investment you can make than in the people who keep your company thriving. So, don’t be stingy with those treats.
Now, if anyone is handing out pig’s ears or salmon jerky this Halloween, please give me your address.
1 “Employers, Take note: Here’s What Employees Really Want,” by Ashley Stahl, Forbes, 10/12/16.