Helping Companies Establish Offices That Treat Dogs as a Friend | Connected Canine

Animal Innovations Show - Episode 68 - Connected Canine

Helping Companies Establish Offices That Treat Dogs as a Friend | Connected Canine

It’s become increasingly common to bring pet dogs into the workplace.

Luckily, there are organizations like Connected Canine that help organizations accommodate requests for and manage dog-friendly office premises.

Founded by Jeff Skalka, Connected Canine saves companies money and time by providing pet-friendly workspace design, an HR toolkit, and onsite pet services.

They also have a technology platform that automates administrative work for businesses and provides a seamless experience for employees.

Jeff observed,

“What we’ve really seen is that the companies who are most interested in speaking with us are…really looking for ways to entice people to want to come back to the office. They’re looking for ways to reduce employee turnover.”

Turning Companies into Offices That Treat Dogs as a Friend with Connected Canine

Connected Canine website

According to a journal published by Frontiers in Veterinary Science, allowing employees to take their Fidos along into the office is a new strategy you can use to promote work engagement.

After all, workers who brought their pooches to work showed significantly higher employee commitment, work engagement, and quality of life.

And this is what Jeff, together with the Connected Canine team, wishes to help businesses with.

“It’s not just that it sounds fun. But, there’s a lot of research that shows that there are real, tangible benefits. And some of those are what I just mentioned: reducing employee turnover, enhancing engagement, encouraging collaboration among employees. So, it’s really exciting for us.”

Connected Canine employee benefits of having a dog-friendly workplace

Connected Canine is a company that provides value by adding to its clientele’s bottom line. It’s also unique in that its dog-friendly workspaces and onsite services encourage employee collaboration.

Having happy, healthy, engaged, loyal, and collaborative workers are what Connected Canine envisions for other companies.

“We really wanted to focus on making sure that we’d be a good fit for any potential client,”

Jeff said.

A Tip from Connected Canine

Connected Canine benefits of dog-friendly companies

With a lot of people acquiring pets over the past years, it’s predominantly Gen Z and Millenials who comprise the number of pet parents who value their furry children as family members.

Consequently, Jeff suggests using this data to craft a low-cost but high-impact solution for corporations.

“As far as companies that are interested in learning more about how to do this, all of the companies that I’ve spoken with so far, they are not really kind of pet care-focused companies. But when you think about it, from the employer’s eyes, what are the ways you can encourage your people to come back to the office? And then two, economically, what makes sense?”

about connected canine

Jeff also takes pride in the fact that in addition to being a company with experience and expertise in Human Resource Management, Connected Canine also has an understanding of pet behavior and relevant expertise.

Moreover, they also have an important understanding of what makes an environment successful and provide a compelling solution.

“We have trained professionals that can come and be able to exercise your dogs to keep them healthy, happy, and less stressed so that they’re not stressing out the owner… We work on helping keep the office as productive and as responsible and safe as possible,”

Jeff remarked.

 

 

Learn more about Connected Canine!

Visit their website at https://connectedcanine.com/.

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Jeff: This is Jeff Skalka with Connected Canine, and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: So, tell us who you are and how you’re innovating and helping animals. I’m the founder of Connected Canine, and we help companies establish and then manage— dog-friendly offices.

Chris: Yeah, that’s really cool, because it seems like every day now, I’m hearing about more dog-friendly workplaces, and it’s definitely one of those benefits that people like. They enjoy having their dogs around.

Jeff: What we’ve really seen, and the companies who are most interested in speaking with us, are those who generally have a creative culture for a base. That’s how they generate value for their ultimate customers.

These companies are really looking for ways, to entice people to want to come back to the office. They’re looking for ways to reduce employee turnover.

And then also when employees are in the office: How do you create an environment, that encourages people to collaborate? It’s not just that it sounds fun, but there’s a lot of research, that has come out over the past, say 10 to 20 years.

Some of those are what I just mentioned: reducing employee turnover, enhancing engagement, encouraging collaboration among employees.

It’s really exciting for us.

Chris: I love that. Because as you said, it’s not just a nice perk. It actually does add to the bottom line of the company, which is why more— I would say even larger companies, are looking at this and trying to figure out, how to offer this as a benefit to their employees.

Jeff: And it’s interesting because when we talk with companies, there’s a few things that go through their minds.

We’re generally talking with executives in HR, C-suite, and there kind of comes the first level of the onion is—is this right for me?

And then it kind of comes down to: Okay, if we were to operate this what would it look like? If we are to do this, can we do it internally? or should we look for an external partner to do it?

And so, one of the first things that we did is— we worked with a group out of Texas, very experienced survey developers, and we created this fairly extensive survey, not only asks questions around, well, do you own a dog, or what’s your dog’s personality?

It really kind of gets into— Let’s discover what the value for this—for any particular company may be. We will explain our concept, a dog-friendly office— that we can come in and provide services, such as dog walking.

So, if you have a tight deadline or if you have a call that you have to make, and dogs can’t be present. We can have people that come in, and do something as simple and basic as dog walking.

It’s really powerful when you can get that in front of decision-makers, executives, minds, or eyes and see how they lighten up, and become really engaged in, at least wanting to learn more.

Chris: So, you guys really help the companies now to say: Okay, what’s the right way to build a program, right?

Not just say, all right, everybody bring your dog. Like you said, there are some challenges that come along with that.

Jeff: The largest generations that have acquired pets are: Gen Z and millennials. And these are the exact—this is the exact same population, who values their pets as family members most.

And then, as far as companies who are interested in learning more, about how to do this— a lot of the companies— these are not really kind of pet-care-focused companies, right.

So, this is a little bit added. This is way out of their wheelhouse. And then people are— executives are asking themselves: Can we do this internally? And if not, who is the right team to work with externally to help us?

One of the things that was really important to us from the start, is to build out a team that has a diverse set of skills, that are all applicable to what we’re doing at Connected Canine. One person is not going to have all of these skills.

Frankly, I don’t know enough about pet behavior to feel comfortable, wanting to consult with somebody and offer suggestions.

We’re working with a few pet care experts, one of which is an animal behaviorist. She not only understands why or how to correct pet behavior, but she also understands why a pet may behave, in the ways it does and how to adjust that.

We’re also working with pet care architect who’s on our team: Heather Lewis, if you could stack up kind of the expertise in pet care architecture, she’d certainly be within the top 1% of the US.

If not, if not more. There’s probably a few things that somebody can do, that makes a major impact in what that environment could look like. These are companies who want to be able to at least, understand their options to be able to make the right decision, for what makes the most sense for how we want to set this up.

And so we have this HR expertise. We have this understanding of pet behavior expertise. And then we also have this important understanding of—what makes an environment successful. And so we bring all of those together, and we have a really compelling solution.

Chris: Yeah. I love the fact that you guys bring soup to nuts, from what I would call the consulting side, right.

All the things that companies need to think about, but then even after that, it’s almost like a managed service, right. Step one is implementing this correctly. But two is the ongoing side of this. Yeah, and we wanted to be able to offer a total solution.

And companies can say: Okay, I like this part of what you’re offering or like this part. And we provide—we’re building out software right now. That really helps companies track the success of this program.

And it does things as simple as, employees get to take pictures of their dogs, and upload them to a database.

They get to go on their phone and say: Hey, I want to bring fido in on Tuesday, and it just helps with the management of the pet population at any one point in time. So, you don’t have 500 dogs showing up to your office, when you can only have 200.

Chris: Yeah. I love how you continue to evolve and learn. So, I’m curious. Take us back to the point where you came up with this idea.

Jeff: Yeah. So, I think just being in the HR role helped me kind of recognize, that we can put together a solution. But there’s definitely a right way to do that.

And then working with our advisor, who has an entire career in human resources, helped really structure our thoughts on how to do that appropriately. I’ve owned pets my entire life. One of the concerns that I had every day was, “How do we care for our dog while I’m away?”

And there’s really three things that I was looking for, in a dog daycare; traditional dog daycare. One, I needed to be able to feel like my dog was going to be safe. Two, I needed to feel like the location was convenient to work. And then three, it needed to be affordable.

And I think that those are— to find that trifecta can be really challenging. And so their thought was, there really has to be a better solution and a way to understand why more companies may not be pet-friendly.

And I was really surprised to learn that there are— there are no companies that are doing what we do, that not only provide resources to help you go dog-friendly, but then really be able to kind of follow-through, and be a partner with the company in a long term, to make sure that it’s operating successfully.

Chris: Yeah, so why don’t you tell people, how they can get a hold of you, the website, things like that.

Jeff: So, you can go to CONNECTEDCANINE.COM learn more about what we do and how we do it.

And then if you want to reach out, you can do so either at our general email [email protected] or feel free to send me a personal email at [email protected]

Chris: That’s pretty easy to remember. So, this is really cool, Jeff. And I’m really excited to see you guys taking the lead in this space.

So, is there anything else you want to cover before we wrap things up today?

Jeff: Of course, I appreciate your time, but I really like how some of the things that you do as well, in the pet-care space.

I feel grateful for being able to be on the show with you today. 

Chris: Thanks. I’m glad you came on as well. And we’ll just wrap up and remind our viewers and listeners, that if you’d like to come on the show if you’ve got an amazing idea for the future, what it looks like for taking care of our pets like Jeff does.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’ll— fill out the form and we’ll get you on the show and talk about it.

 So, thanks again, Jeff. I really enjoy the conversation and I’m excited to see where you guys go.

Jeff: Thanks, Chris.

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