How Chipotle is Winning at Employee Wellbeing
By Welltok Marketing
We recently sat down with our client and favorite burrito bowl destination -- Chipotle Mexican Grill -- to get the inside scoop on their employee wellbeing program. Read on to learn how they found a wellbeing platform that met the unique needs of 71,000 employees, their top 5 lessons learned and the one thing they would have done different.
Stephanie Miller, manager of benefits and employee services at Chipotle, got real about what it took to overhaul their employee wellness program. Stephanie takes us on Chipotle's journey and shares her experience, including the good and the bad, for implementing a program aimed at driving results.
Chipotle's Wellness Evolution Didn't Happen Overnight
With its inception in 2006, Chipotle's wellness program began as part of their medical plan with providers. Initially, it was a check-the-box initiative to help impact claims and educate employees. However, participation was low and Chipotle struggled to see measurable results.
In 2010, as wellness became a buzzword in the corporate world, they began to evolve their program to accommodate the growing needs of their employees. They started by carving out a separate wellness program and finally began to see some success. It included enhanced wellness fairs, a dedicated website, individual communications, wellness challenges and more support from their executives, which ultimately increased participation.
The Wellness Program Flatlined
The program remained unchanged and after four years it flatlined. Employees' feedback showed that the HRA was too time consuming (more than 100 questions) and too repetitive. Chipotle had a hard time connecting with field employees and the program failed to provide actionable takeaways. The communication was not multi-lingual and not tailored to the different and diverse populations within the workforce. The program was stagnant and ultimately became a biometric screening program versus a comprehensive wellness program aimed at generating positive behavior change.
The Next Iteration
Chipotle went back to the drawing board and revisited the purpose and goal of the program. At the end of the day, it wasn't just about impacting claims and ROI for Chipotle. They wanted to create brand and employee loyalty, and a community where employees can have all of their health needs met. This led to their wellness refresh and new vision - Chipotle Wellness creates an innovative culture of wellbeing by providing physical, financial, emotional and community resources that inspire each individual to live their best life.
This vision became the driving force for the program and new criteria was established, which included a wellbeing platform. Chipotle wanted something that would provide increased accessibility to all employees, support for the four pillars of wellbeing (physical, financial, emotional and community resources), more personalization, robust reporting, SSO capabilities and scalability.
The Search for a True Partner
With thousands of wellness companies out there and daily phone calls from telemarketers, Stephanie became overwhelmed with the search to find the right partner. So, to help filter through the chaos and find the ideal wellbeing platform that could meet all of the business objectives while fulfilling the needs of their employees, Chipotle conducted a RFP with a medical broker to identify potential partners.
After thorough analysis of a number of leading vendors, Chipotle selected Welltok's CaféWell Health Optimization Platform for three key reasons:
1. CaféWell met their outlined criteria for a new platform
2. All within existing budget
3. Flexibility and opportunity for a true partnership
Top 5 Lessons Learned
1. Employees may have questions about privacy and security, so proactively address those upfront and know that the longer a program is in place, the more comfortable employees will get with it.
2. Chipotle discovered that there's no such thing as instant ROI when it comes to employee health and wellbeing. Some benefits will be realized quickly but others take time.
3. Employers must meet where their people are. While some employees may struggle with their physical health, others may want financial support. It's important to always keep the employees and their needs top of mind.
4. The one thing that Stephanie wished she knew from day one was to set expectations accordingly by being more realistic and open minded to a steady approach.
5. Finally, Stephanie shared that incentives work - it's easier to rule with a carrot than an iron fist.