Chipotle refuses to slow down when it comes to their recruitment and employee retention program. The fast-casual chain announced that it will be expanding its employee benefits policy in 2020 by adding mental healthcare to the list, which can be accessed by full-time and part-time Chipotle employees as well as their families. But this isn’t the restaurant’s first visionary action in terms of benefits. In October, Chipotle announced its expanded college tuition program for all eligible employees, covering the upfront tuition costs of 75 different business and technology schools in the country. Since recognizing the financial barriers associated with furthering education, the chain has decided to tackle another issue plaguing working Americans today – the cost of mental health. 

How Feasible is Chipotle’s Employee Assistance Program?

Chipotle prides itself on strengthening the physical, mental and financial fitness of workers with its Employee Assistance Program. In addition to mental health benefits, the fast-casual chain will also be providing a financial counseling platform and access to discounted gym memberships in 2020. There’s no doubt that these benefits will boost employee retention and overall recruitment, but how feasible is an employee assistance program for the everyday restaurant? While you may not be able to send your workers to college or costly mental health clinics, it is possible to improve your employee benefits. 

Narrow Down Your Employees’ Wants 

The first step to enhancing your employee benefits package is finding out what your workers actually want. Many companies like Chipotle are offering wellness perks as a way to keep employees mentally and physically fit. The good news is – this doesn’t have to be terribly expensive. If your staff is requesting a wellness package, try experimenting with a designated gym membership allowance per month. Gyms like Planet Fitness and Blink Fitness can be found all over the city, and only cost around $10-$15 a month. Are your employees interested in expanding their knowledge of financial planning and investing? Take a note from Chipotle and invest in a financial counseling platform for your staff. Financial wellness programs like Enrich and Finfit offer solutions to benefit employee finances and increase retention in the long run. 

The Benefits to Increased Employee Assistance

There’s no question that increasing employee benefits attributes to overall happiness for your staff. Healthcare, vacation days and other perks are why many people choose to apply to a job in the first place. Competitive benefits will not only expand your business’ recruiting pool but can also keep those rock star employees who you can’t afford to lose. As previously mentioned, going the extra mile to find out what your employees want in terms of benefits is the first step. Already providing healthcare? Maybe your staff is hoping for additional holidays off or discounted gym memberships. You may have to give a little to get a little, but it will pay off when your employees are content, thus increasing your restaurant’s retention rates.

The Cons of Increased Employee Benefits 

With increased employee benefits comes a few cons, and the biggest one is cost. Most employees don’t factor in benefits to their overall salary, but the truth is that it can be the same amount of money out an employer’s pocket. Narrowing down a way to effectively manage the costs of benefits on top of salary is an issue that many business owners face, and doing so without decreasing your restaurant’s bottom line can be tricky. Similarly, spending the extra dime on increased benefits may still not feel like “enough” in an employee’s eyes and lead to turnover. For employees working sixty hours a week in a stressful restaurant environment, mental and physical health care packages aren’t always the best solution. 

There is a lot to learn from restaurants like Chipotle who are increasing their benefits to keep employees happy and healthy. Incorporating employee perks like mental, physical and financial assistance will contribute to happier and healthier staff, thus improving your restaurant’s employee retention rates. Competitive benefits also open the doors to a world of job applicants who want to give 100% to their jobs and expect the same in return. No matter how feasible Chipotle’s new benefits are for your restaurant, taking a similar approach and striving for increased employee wellness will generate a higher level of satisfaction within your workforce.