The demand for technology talent is astronomical, and according to Monster.com, the tech talent shortage may be at its highest level since 2008, with 65% of the 3,000 technology leaders surveying saying they face challenges in both hiring and keeping high-tech workers on the payroll.
Silicon Valley has been a trend-setter in giving workers what they demand to stay put. And now, Ford is finally seeing the light as they have added 1 simple trick to make their office culture relevant and hopefully boost productivity and collaboration by allowing over 1,000 office workers to bring their dog to work.
Ford’s CFO brings Fido to work
When the Ford Motor Co. hired its new CFO, Tim Stone, he bought along more than his laptop and impressive work experience. Every day, Mr. Stone brings his Australian shepherd, Finley, to his glass-walled, 12th floor office at the Henry Ford II World Center. But, Tim Stone also brings a wealth of knowledge when it comes to innovative technology companies as his resume includes executive level responsibilities as CFO at Amazon. During his time overseeing financial operations, the company scaled from $150 million in revenue with fewer than 1,000 employees to $200 billion in revenue with 575,000 employees.
Mr. Stone’s decades of experience in the tech industry makes him highly suited to recognizing what makes tech employees happy and content. So, was this simple trick of bringing dogs to work a deliberate move to stay relevant or a happenstance event that the company decided to take to the next level? Actually, Ford is embracing the idea of a C-suite mascot and is implementing a pilot program that offers 1,300 office employees at Ford the opportunity to bring their dogs to work.
Companies that allow dogs at work
Ford is certainly not the first Fortune 500 company to allow dogs during work hours – and Ford is certainly not without lots of company from successful tech start-ups that have a pet-friendly office policy. Google, Amazon, Bissell, Salesforce, and of course PetSmart all allow employees to take their dog to work every day of the year.
It is likely that Tim Stone’s tenure at Amazon was the flame that lit this fire as Amazon leads the pack of pet-friendly workplaces with 7,000 registered dogs, making for a human-to-pet ratio of 7-to-1. At its main headquarters in Seattle, the retail giant offers doggy day care, grooming and canine lunch options to make for a happy and orderly work environment.
Dog-friendly offices keep Ford relevant
Let’s face it. There’s a battle between the new and the old – traditional companies that must face the challenges of a millennial workforce. This includes the ability to work remotely, open spaces for ease of collaboration, and a positive work culture that includes stress-relief activities such as ping-pong tables and pets at work. Kudos to Ford for staying relevant and allowing many of its workers at their Detroit, MI headquarters to bring their dog to work.
Rather than being an intrusion, office dogs have shown themselves powerful at reducing workplace stress, and they can actually break down barriers between coworkers or clients faster than any other method. Right now, Ford’s pet dog policy is in its puppy phase and is being tested before office dogs become a permanent workplace policy. You can be sure these pooches aren’t yet living the life of luxury that Amazon has bestowed on its furry friends, but who knows – maybe a Ford Doggy Day Care is still in the future
Other advantages to a dog-friendly workplace include a boost in employee morale, increased productivity, and a healthier lifestyle. But, what Ford is gambling for is to increase its employee retention rates and to attract a new wave of high-tech office workers along with the best in technology and engineering.