"As the traditional eight-hour work day continues to extend, many companies are seizing the opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation by offering food-based perks," said Karen Miller, vice president of people at GrubHub Inc. and human resources and corporate culture expert for Seamless Corporate Accounts. "Employee dissatisfaction can come with a hefty price tag for companies -- providing perks, including food-based ones, can substantially improve productivity and employee satisfaction."
While food-based perks as a whole are on the rise, the survey revealed one area with significant room for improvement: few companies provide or reimburse meals for employees who work late nights or weekends. Of the professionals surveyed, only 9% indicated that their companies offer this perk. Overall, the survey found that enhancing food-based perks is a potentially simple but effective way for companies to bolster morale, which can benefit retention and recruitment efforts.
Employees surveyed indicated that food-based perks would make them feel appreciated and help build a better workplace culture:
Employees feel the love. 57% of respondents said food-based perks, such as providing or reimbursing meals for employees who work late nights or weekends, would make them feel more valued by their employers.
A well-fed employee is a happy employee: 50% of respondents indicated that food-based perks would make them more satisfied with their employers.
Breaking bread together improves office relationships: 50% of employees said they think sharing meals with colleagues helps foster a better working relationship, up from 43% in 2013.
Additional survey data indicated that as the battle for talent heats up, food-based perks are becoming increasingly more important in the workforce:
Food-based perks help increase employee loyalty: 41% of respondents said that if their current employer were to provide meals, they would be less inclined to accept a job offer at a company that does not.
Employee enthusiasm gets a boost: 28% of respondents whose companies do not provide food-related perks would be excited to have them, ranking second only to gym or yoga memberships (38%).
If you feed them, they will come: 38% of respondents said that food-related perks would make them more inclined to rate their companies highly in a "Best Places to Work" survey, coming in third after flexible vacation policies (52%) and gym or yoga memberships (42%).
"As competition for top talent intensifies, companies are creating inventive programs to differentiate themselves from competitors and to keep top talent engaged and satisfied," said Miller. "At Seamless, we've seen firsthand at how food-based perks has become part of our recruiting brand, creating a halo effect that has helped bolster retention and attract a pipeline of strong candidates."
Seamless Corporate Accounts' "Food in the Workplace" survey polled 1,225 full-time professionals, aged 23-60, who work for companies with 20 or more employees. More than half of respondents work for companies with 500 or more employees.