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Food: A New Approach to Employee Retention

Human Resources

In today’s business climate finding and retaining talented employees is extremely important. Even if you’re not adding new employees, retention is still a top concern, especially if you’re in an industry ripe with job opportunities.

For industries that face stiff competition or a shortage in skilled workers, it is imperative to create work environments that people want to be a part of—and stay a part of. For those companies that succeed, the impact on the bottom line is huge.

What Does Attrition Cost Your Company?

According to the Center for American Progress, employee turnover costs businesses on average about one-fifth of a worker’s salary. For workers earning, on average, $75,000 per year or less, they found the turnover costs ranged from 10% – 30%.

At first glance you might be hard pressed to acknowledge that it could cost your company upwards of $22,000 to replace one $75,000 salaried employee. But if you think about the hours and dollars that go into recruiting, interviewing, rehiring, and training, the costs add up quickly.

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Why do Employees Leave?

GlassDoor.com shared ten reasons employees resign. Insufficient compensation and time off, and lack of a clear success path were some of the obvious issues. Additionally the site lists “lack of a joyful environment” and “feeling underappreciated” as top reasons employees leave their jobs.

How to Create a Joyful and Appreciative Work Environment

Creating an environment that’s “joyful” and fosters appreciation goes hand in hand with creating “employee engagement.” Over the last decade this corporate buzz word—first coined in the early 90s—has been widely accepted as a critical element in getting employees to “go the extra mile.” Today, studies have shown there is a strong relationship between high levels of employee engagement and improvements to a company’s bottom line that go beyond strictly improving retention rates.

According to the 2012 Global Workforce Study by professional services firm Towers Watson, highly engaged employees are more productive, have less absenteeism and are less likely to leave their employers than disengaged employees. The survey of 32,000 full-time workers found that only 35 percent of workers are highly engaged.

With the average employee working more than 40 hours a week, it is vital for companies to strategically invest in creating an environment that empowers, motivates and enriches employees’ work experiences. Employee perks are one area that can have considerable impact on employee engagement.

Retain the Talent: The Power of Food

Recently Seamless conducted a nationwide survey of nearly 1,100 full-time professionals, across more than a dozen different industries, and found that employees place a great deal of value on and are directly motivated by the perks their employer offers. The findings also revealed that the presence of food can play an important role in motivating employees to spend more time in the office, work more effectively while there and generally view their workplace more positively. In fact, 60% reported that having more food at the office would make them feel more valued and appreciated by their employer.

Breaking bread with others is one of our most basic social experiences. In the workplace, food can naturally foster social connections and face-to-face communication between employees. In today’s technology-driven world, the use of email, instant messaging and conference calls has created a work environment where employees physically interact less and less. The Seamless survey found that more than 60% of respondents agreed that company-provided lunches would encourage them to eat with their colleagues, fostering more internal collaboration.

The benefits of food and social engagement can also extend to clients. Forty-three percent of employees said sharing food or meals with clients helps foster a better working relationship. Particularly in industries where competitive pressure is high, such social connections are critical to business success.

Despite high tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter providing free meals to keep their employees happy and well fed – not to mention keeping them at the office and working, food remains a relatively untapped perk for companies. While free food all the time is unrealistic for most companies, the occasional pizza party or afternoon treat can go a long way to measurably improving employee retention and happiness and showing appreciation for a job well done.

I encourage you to learn more about the power of food in the workplace by downloading the Seamless survey.

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