This year when Ford went outside the company for the first time in 70 years to hire a chief financial officer, he came with an impressive pedigree — a résumé that included top jobs at Amazon and Snap. He also came with a pedigreed sidekick: a chief furry officer.
Wander past Tim Stone’s glass-walled office on the 12th floor of Ford’s world headquarters on any given day and lying at his feet is his 7-year-old Australian shepherd, Finley, who has his own name badge and “CFO” title bestowed by his owner.
“He’s got a very clear job description, which is: spirits high and stress low,” Stone said. “And he kills it every day!”
Finley is more than just a good boy. He is the C-suite mascot for a pilot program offered to 1,300 office employees at Ford allowing them to bring their dogs to work. It’s part of a larger effort by Ford to attract hard-to-get tech talent to the Motor City.
Other worker-friendly initiatives include a less hierarchical campus redesign and converting an abandoned train station in a rapidly gentrifying district of downtown Detroit into a modern office space.
Ford already has hired more than 3,000 workers with advanced computing skills, but it still needs hundreds more software engineers, data scientists, app developers, digital media specialists and more, Chief Talent Officer Julie Lodge-Jarrett wrote in a blog post Friday.
Seattle and Silicon Valley have long been veritable Fido fiefdoms, where tech giants and startups welcome workers’ four-legged friends as a way to enhance work-life balance. Studies have shown that all-day access to man’s best friend can reduce stress, improve productivity and possibly even curb employee turnover.
There’s even a ranking of the most dog-friendly companies by a Seattle-based pet-service company, appropriately named Rover. The list is loaded with West Coast companies, while there are precious few Midwestern firms, and zero automakers.
Atop the list is Amazon, which has 7,000 registered dogs, giving it a human-to-hound ratio of 7-1. On its Seattle campus, the online retail giant offers doggy day care, grooming and canine lunch options at Just Food for Dogs and Puddles Barkery.