WellPet experiencing worker shortage; gets creative to recruit

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A Mishawaka pet food maker is handing out raises of $2 and $3 an hour to every employee in the plant.

WellPet is also raising its starting wage to $17 an hour and offering new hires a $1,500 sign-on bonus in response to an ongoing labor shortage.

“We kind of raised our wages to be competitive with the market in the region, and we’re looking to attract talented employees who are passionate about pets,” WellPet’s Doug Mitchell told 16 News Now.

The company now has 114 workers and 17 unfilled positions.

“We’re doing the $1,500 sign on bonus for any employees coming on board. We have a fantastic medical plan with a zero-dollar deductible for about $37 a week,” added WellPet’s Human Resources Director Adrielle Robertson.

Furthermore, workers at WellPet also get two free bags of pet food per week, and every quarter, the company brings in a therapist who provides 15-minute massages.

“We’ve definitely gotten creative, that’s for sure,” Robertson said. “You have to look outside the box.”

The company has advertised on radio and billboards to try to l attract job applicants.

WellPet has also devised an elaborate program to encourage workers to get vaccinated. If 50-percent do so, a drawing will take place for a $1,000 gift card. If employee vaccinations reach 80-percent, a drawing will be held for a seven-day, all-inclusive Caribbean vacation for two.

“It’s a necessary reaction. I mean we have to to be competitive. You have to be able to step up and offer better. If you want to stand out, you have to offer something better than what the others offer,” Robertson explained.

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