February 15, 2024

Advice to HR Leaders: How to Use Great Food to Attract and Retain Talent

Naina Nicodemus

Brain drain. Labour shortage. And the talent gap. 

These terms are more than just buzzwords; they represent the critical and ongoing struggle businesses face in every sector. The challenge of attracting and retaining highly talented employees has become one of the most pressing issues in today’s corporate world.

To truly grasp the importance of this challenge, consider two simple numbers:

These figures are exactly why HR departments across the country have prioritized employee retention and acquisition for their organization.

Adding to the complications of an already challenging process is that modern, top-tier talent demands have shifted dramatically in just the last few years. The challenge of hiring and retaining this type of talent has traditionally been solved by throwing money at the problem. While competitive compensation remains a critical factor, it's increasingly clear that money alone isn't enough.

Today’s top performers want more than just a paycheque; they seek roles that offer fulfillment, purpose, and a sense of belonging.

To meet these demands, organizations aren't just approving flexible work hours; they're revising their entire recruitment process and employee retention strategy to focus on four key areas:

  1. Company culture;
  2. Employee recognition;
  3. Enhanced benefits; and
  4. Fostering inclusion and belonging.

While that may cause some alarm bells to ring as HR managers and business owners consider the additional costs associated with enhancing these four areas, shifting focus doesn't have to entail the added expense or complexity of implementing several separate initiatives.

A single, innovative, cost-effective approach can fulfill all these criteria: offering fresh food seamlessly delivered directly to the office.

Attract and Retain Employees Through Quality Food

Providing high-quality, convenient dining options at the workplace means more than a sporadic free lunch or a basic break room setup. 

We're talking about thoughtfully curated food programs that address employees' diverse tastes and dietary preferences. Introducing these programs into the workplace is a strategic move that fosters a sense of community and employee appreciation. It can easily be used to enhance a benefits package and bring the workplace closer together.

By integrating such food services, organizations create an environment that appeals to top performers, offering them an additional reason to join and stay beyond the traditional incentives. This approach to food is about elevating the daily work life, contributing significantly to a positive workplace culture and a sense of belonging that today’s talent actively seeks.

This is how it works:

Food Supports A Positive Company Culture That Will Attract and Retain More Employees

By providing high-quality, convenient dining options right in the office, an organization can significantly enhance workplace culture, which is both a magnet for top talent and an anchor for current employees. It plays a critical role in employee engagement, growth opportunities, and setting an organization apart in a competitive job market.

The right food delivery service will help an organization:

  • Foster Community and Engagement: When a meal delivery service is provided—whether subsidized or not—employees are much more likely to eat together. Shared meals offer a unique opportunity for workers to bond, share experiences, and engage with each other in a more relaxed setting. This not only strengthens the company culture but leads to higher achievements. A study by Cornell University found that communal meals result in better team performances than groups who dine individually.
  • Reflect Company Values: A food service that emphasizes fresh, healthy, and locally sourced ingredients demonstrates a company's commitment to the well-being of its employees and sustainability. This alignment of company practices with its stated values reinforces the organization's integrity and can attract like-minded individuals.
  • Show Appreciation and Support: Providing meals is a tangible way to show employees they are valued and appreciated. It's a benefit that goes beyond the standard compensation package, contributing to a supportive and caring workplace culture that can attract new talent and encourage current employees to remain with the company.

Recognition Through Food is Vital to Employee Retention and Attraction

A supportive company culture like the one described above is often the result of a talent management strategy that emphasizes employee recognition.

That doesn't just mean acknowledging the work an employee does; it also means validating the individual’s role in an organization’s success. Embracing this type of recognition—which food perks are perfect for—will help reduce employee turnover and attract new employees, all while motivating employee engagement.

These are rewards that the best employees actually want because they provide:

  • Personalized Acknowledgment: Utilizing a food delivery service for recognition allows for personalized gestures, such as offering favourite dishes or catering to dietary preferences. This level of personalization shows employees that their unique tastes and needs are acknowledged and valued. A company with a reputation for valuing its employees' contributions is more attractive to top-tier candidates who seek an environment where their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Meanwhile, existing team members have no reason to leave an organization that's constantly rewarding their efforts.
  • Efficient Recognition: Whether it's rewarding a team for staying late to get a project over the finish line or celebrating a professional milestone, meal subsidies or gifts can be easily added to an employee's account for a food delivery so that they can decide when they want to use it. And when they do, there's no extra burden on admin staff having to coordinate several separate meal orders or handle multiple deliveries all arriving at once.
  • A Culture of Support: Again, this ties back to creating a positive work environment. Providing meals as a form of recognition shows a company's commitment to its employees' satisfaction and well-being. This thoughtful gesture demonstrates a culture of support and appreciation for current and prospective employees.

Fresh Food Is The Innovative Benefit That Talent Craves

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned how modern expectations for wages and overall compensation have changed over the last few years. Coming out of the pandemic, social values and personal priorities have shifted. As a result, today’s top performers want more than just a competitive salary. They want innovative, thoughtful, and personalized benefits.

Including food perks as part of an overall compensation package represents an exciting, innovative approach. It's a tangible expression of a company's care for the well-being of its staff—adding more than just the basics—which is vital to setting a company apart when the job market is at its most competitive.

But that's not the only advantage provided by including food perks in a benefits package:

  • Reputation for Innovation: Innovative benefits indicate that a company is forward-thinking and employee-centric. This aspect particularly appeals to the best employees, who seek progressive and adaptive environments to changing workforce dynamics. Their talent is on the leading edge, and they also want their organization to have that reputation.
  • Reflecting a Holistic Approach to Employee Wellness: By offering high-quality food options in its benefits plan, a company shows its commitment to its employees' overall health and wellness. This is highly valued by modern talent who have emerged from months of pandemic-related remote work seeking a better work-life balance that prioritizes health and wellness.
  • Aligning with Modern Lifestyle Preferences: The convenience of having quality food options at work aligns with many professionals' fast-paced and health-conscious lifestyles today. It demonstrates a company's understanding that benefits go beyond paying for prescriptions and the dentist—and instead can be used to support the daily needs of employees.

Bringing Inclusion and Belonging to the Workplace Attracts Talent and Reduces Employee Turnover

That level of support goes a long way to creating an environment where every employee feels as though they have a role to play, that they're part of something larger than themselves. This is a critical strategy to attract and retain employees.

Food is unique in this regard. At its most basic, it curbs hunger and provides us with the energy to function, but it does much more than merely sustain us. It builds connections by bringing everyone to the table.

We already discussed the impact food (delivered seamlessly to the office) can have on workplace culture, but if we break it down a little bit further, we see how it establishes inclusivity as a company value and fosters a sense of belonging among workers by:

  • Enhancing Community and Team Building: Shared food experiences, such as team lunches, bring employees together, fostering a sense of community. These gatherings allow individuals from different backgrounds to interact, share stories, and build relationships.
  • Reflecting and Reinforcing Company Values: Offering diverse food options, including meals that cater to different cultural tastes and dietary needs, sends a strong message about a company's commitment to inclusivity and respect for individual preferences.
  • Increasing Loyalty: Employees who feel valued through food-based perks often experience increased job satisfaction. Research from Harvard Business Review suggests that positive workplace environments, enhanced by communal eating, help retain employees, "making them more loyal ... to the organization as well as bringing out their best strengths."
  • Creating an Informal Setting for Inclusivity: Eating together provides a relaxed setting where employees can engage with colleagues they might not interact with during regular work activities. This informal interaction can break down barriers and encourage a more inclusive workplace culture.

A Partnership with Cubbi Elevates Employee Retention and Attraction

As businesses look for tangible ways to attract and retain employees, Cubbi offers a major solution that addresses all the areas to which HR departments are shifting their focus:

  • Enhancing workplace culture;
  • Better employee recognition;
  • More innovative and practical benefits; and
  • Improving the sense of inclusion and belonging.

By bringing premium and diverse options from local restaurants seamlessly to the office, Cubbi isn't just delivering food; we're providing a one-stop, cost-effective solution to one of the biggest challenges businesses face today: attracting and retaining talent.

Here's How Cubbi Does It:

  • Intuitive Mobile App: The Cubbi mobile app simplifies managing meals. From ordering to scheduling deliveries and managing employee food benefits, it’s all just a tap away.
  • Free Daily Deliveries: With Cubbi, there are no delivery fees, hidden charges or tipping—just daily culinary treats brought to your workplace.
  • Easy-to-Access Meals: With Cubbi, lunch is an effortless experience. Employees simply step up to the Cubbi fridge and access the healthy and delicious meals they ordered for themselves.
  • Up to 50% Off: Cubbi combines restaurant quality with budget-friendly. With up to 50% off restaurant and meal delivery prices, Cubbi can appeal to your team's taste buds without breaking the bank.
  • Simplified Food Subsidies and Benefits: Boosting job satisfaction is easy with Cubbi’s meal subsidies. Employers can improve employee engagement, keep morale high, and contribute to a more productive, positive work environment by allocating meal credits or subsidies.

Why Do HR Managers Love Cubbi?

The boost to job satisfaction that Cubbi provides can be seen in the testimonials of HR leaders who've used our service to enhance their employee retention and acquisition strategies:

This enthusiasm from our customers is a testament to Cubbi's effectiveness. Our unique, convenient, and healthy dining options don’t just feed employees; it nourishes the entire workplace culture, making Cubbi a valued partner in talent management strategies.

Attract and Retain Talent With Cubbi

Don’t doubt the importance of those strategies for a second

Remember the two numbers we mentioned at the beginning of this article:

  • Replacing a high-level employee can cost as much as 4X their annual salary.
  • Top talent is 8X more productive than average talent.

That’s a cost that most businesses can’t afford and one that Cubbi can help you avoid.

There’s a common misconception that providing employees with healthy food options will be expensive. This has to do with the traditional view of workplace dining, whether it's high-end cafeterias or bringing in expensive catering. 

The reality is that Cubbi offers affordable and versatile options that can fit the budgets and needs of a wide range of businesses. More than that, though, Cubbi offsets the major expenses associated with losing top performers and trying to replace them.

By providing a variety of fresh, local, and nutritious food options directly to the workplace, Cubbi creates an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and part of a community—all of the qualities that potential candidates and great employees want.

Eliminate the expense of replacing talent and bring top performers to your company: Turn brain drain into brain gain by booking a free tasting today.

Make food an employee benefit, not a hassle.

Cubbi makes it effortless for employers to provide subsidized, high-quality meals directly to the workplace.