- Chipotle announced it will enhance its benefits offerings for more than 80,000 employees in 2020. These benefits include access to mental healthcare and financial wellness.
- Through its employee assistance program, all Chipotle associates and their family members will have the opportunity to receive personalized assistance from healthcare experts, before, during and following medical needs regardless of whether or not they’re enrolled in the company’s medical plan. This benefit is available through a partnership with Health Advocate.
- The enhanced benefits also include access to Ayco’s financial counseling platform, including an assessment, checklist and education to assist employees with financial planning.
Chipotle is trying to minimize the effect of mental health in the workplace in an industry that studies have shown struggles with these issues, according to the news release. A 2017 report from Mental Health America saw that the food and beverage industry correlates with a high level of mental health issues, and that it is one of the three worst industries for mental health, alongside retail and manufacturing. As The Outline reports, the MHA’s 2019 research shows that the industry hasn’t gotten better in the past two years.
Because of this trend, more restaurant companies are starting to add these types of benefits. In September, for example, Starbucks announced it is improving mental health care for its employees. The company provides inpatient and outpatient mental healthcare for employees and is enhancing its EAP to “connect more partners to quality care that meets their specific needs.” Starbucks is also adding mental health training, subscriptions to a meditation and sleep app and partnerships with the Born This Way Foundation and veterans organization Team Red, White & Blue.
In addition to job-related stress, financial strife and poor health can also compromise mental health. According to a study by PwC, money causes the most stress in the lives of almost 60% of people. About a third of respondents in a National Business Group on Health poll said they want help with financial health and planning from their employers.
Because of this, Chipotle is wise to take a comprehensive approach to its enhanced benefits with access to financial counseling and discounted pricing at national fitness chains. It is also focused on making sure its employees have ease of use when taking advantage of these benefits, adding a new Cultivate Me portal to, as the company puts it, “bring the entire Chipotle healthcare ecosystem to employees’ mobile phones.”
In a historically tight labor market, restaurant companies across the board are adding a number of new benefits in an attempt to recruit and retain talent. Shake Shack, for example, is testing a four-day workweek, while Papa John’s is offering to cover tuition costs for corporate employees. Noodles & Company recently added financial wellness resources, Yum Brands expanded its parental leave and Jersey Mike’s is promoting its mentorship program to develop future operators.
These benefits seem to provide a competitive advantage. Starbucks' turnover rate in 2018 was about 65%, for example, whereas the average turnover rate in the restaurant industry ranges between 150% and 400%. It’s likely we’ll see more such benefits not only from Chipotle, but many brands as the tight labor market continues.