Recruiting and retaining top talent is a constant challenge for corporations in today’s competitive job market. What is the key to keeping employees happy? Four in five respondents to a recent Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey claimed that they would prefer better benefits over more money. Many employers are realizing that one of the best benefits they can provide is an on-site cafeteria with convenient, healthy food options at affordable prices.
Corporate cafeterias can be incorporated into a broader company wellness initiative. While the investment may seem costly, The Harvard Business Review estimates that employers can achieve a 6 to 1 ROI for comprehensive employee wellness programs. Since the majority of employees eat at least one meal per day at work, having a company dining hall can have a big impact of workers’ happiness and health in the following ways:
Cafeterias Cultivate a Social Environment
Cafeterias can serve as a haven from isolated offices and work stations. Having a place to mingle with peers opens up opportunities for collaboration and exchange of ideas. Connecting with co-workers from other departments can help employees develop the “sense of belonging” that is so pivotal to creating a company culture. People who feel engaged and invested in the success of their colleagues naturally work better together.
Cafeterias Help with Hiring and Retention
If you’re trying to recruit highly skilled workers who have multiple job options, a cafeteria can be a key selling point for your company. Employees will also think twice about leaving if they smell delicious food coming from the cafeteria on their way to the door.
Cafeterias Raise Worker Morale
Having a cafeteria gives workers something to look forward to at work. A study conducted by Right Management in 2010 revealed that 20 percent of American workers skip lunch breaks or eat lunch alone at their desks.
Giving these people a welcoming atmosphere to dine in will help get these people out of their offices. Employers can also cut down on extended lunch hours since workers won’t have to leave the building to get food, and they will appreciate saving gas money. Making meals affordable is essential to maintaining morale, which is why some companies subsidize cafeteria purchases to keep food prices attractive.
Cafeterias Boost Employee Productivity
Employees who are well-fed have more energy to work harder. They are also less likely to take sick days, which may allow you to negotiate better health insurance plans. Malnourished employees are a lot less productive, which is why it’s important to supply healthy food choices so that their nutritional needs are being met. Many employers are surprised by how much their team can get done on a full stomach.
Cafeterias Encourage Employee Wellness
Workers cannot survive on just coffee and french fries; they need a variety of healthy meal and snack options. Look for cafeteria management companies that emphasize nutrition and wellness by using minimally processed ingredients that are low in sodium and trans fats. You’ll also need to cater to everyone’s dietary needs, so be sure to include gluten-free, vegan and low calorie selections.
Communal cafeterias can be a major asset for companies in terms of employee retention, satisfaction and productivity. When paired with a wellness program that encourages physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices, employers can see vast improvements in their operations and their bottom lines.
Author: Trevor Smith. Writer and business editor for the Business News Monitor.