- Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will expand benefits formerly reserved for salaried workers, including full tuition reimbursements, sick pay, and paid vacations, to all employees on July 1.
- J.D. Cummings, recruitment strategy manager at Chipotle, told Nation's Restaurant News that the move reflects Chipotle’s commitment to provide career paths for its workers, and that it is evidence of how much Chipotle leadership wants to invest in its best people and keep them with the company.
- That overall strategy is on the rise as competition for talent in certain industries grows more intense. For example, expanding benefits have been ongoing in the restaurant industry during the past year, with companies such as Starbucks announcing programs focused on education and other benefits.
Chipotle expects benefits will help recruit high school and college students, “which is a lot of our target demographic for entry-level positions in the restaurant,” Cummings said.
“We have a lot of folks who, if they realize they could make a career with Chipotle, would stick with us while they are in college and take advantage of our tuition-reimbursement program,” Cummings added. According to the article, opportunities for advancement are one way Chipotle’s management thought it could differentiate employment at the company. Last year, Chipotle promoted 10,000 employees at the restaurant level into management positions, and about 95 percent of managers are promoted from existing crew members. Adding benefits for hourly workers can fortify that commitment.
As long as the economy continues to trend upward, this type of benefits expansion would seem to be inevitable for employers looking to drive brand and employee loyalty, especially among entry-level and low wage jobs.
In other Chipotle HR-related news, the company is under fire for allegedly shorting employees out of pay by making them work off the clock or misclassifying them to avoid paying overtime, according the a recent report appearing on The Colorado Springs Gazette website. According to the report, Chipotle is facing nine lawsuits in six states due to the alleged wage and hour violations.