“Company culture” has become quite the buzzword. From job descriptions to company websites and social media, organizations try to tout their culture everywhere they can. Culture can be the reason why someone joins a company, and ultimately, the reason why they stay.
But what does company culture actually mean, and how can you build an award-winning one?
Let’s dive in.
When you think about “company culture”, you may picture the vibe of an office or certain workplace perks – but it’s much more than that. Company culture lies at the heart of an organization and is influenced by its core values, mission, leadership, policies, DEI initiatives, and more.
Since employees spend a considerable amount of time at work and interact with their coworkers more than many people in their personal lives, company culture can either make or break their time at an organization.
It doesn’t just impact the employee experience though – it also impacts a company’s bottom line. According to a Harvard Business Review study, company culture can have wide impacts like:
From keeping employees engaged to increasing retention rates, a positive company culture can drastically impact an organization’s success.
Now that we’ve covered why company culture is so important, how can you make it more than just a buzzword at your organization? Get your appetite ready, because the answer of how to improve company culture is food.
There are few things that influence company culture like food does. Let’s dig into why offering meal benefits can be a game changer for your organization.
During COVID-19, a topic that used to be considered taboo to discuss in the workplace became the center of conversations: mental health. Fast forward to today, supporting your employees’ mental health is more important than ever before.
Research shows that eating healthy can have a direct impact on mental health. In fact, a study that followed over 12,000 people for seven years found that those who ate more fruits and vegetables showed a substantial increase in self-reported happiness and satisfaction.
But eating healthy isn’t the only thing that can improve mental health – taking a break to eat during the work day can, too. Wakefield Research asked 500 professionals how taking a lunch break impacts their work day, and 97 percent agreed that it improves it. When asked why, 64 percent said it gives them more energy, 63 percent said it puts them in a better mood, and 51 percent said it helps them be more productive.
By offering meal benefits with healthy options and making lunch breaks the “norm” at your organization, you can prioritize your employees’ mental health on a daily basis.
Whether or not employees’ feel a sense of belonging at an organization has a huge impact on company culture. The more employees feel welcomed and accepted, the more positive the culture will be. That’s why prioritizing DEI by not only recognizing your employees’ differences, but celebrating them is so crucial.
So where does food come in? Offering meal benefits can contribute to your DEI initiatives in two ways. The first is by providing employees with healthy meals that they may not have access to otherwise, and the second is by celebrating different cultures with food.
A letter that has recently been tagged onto DEI – and for good reason – is “A”. “A” stands for “Accessibility” and focuses on supporting employees with disabilities or those who don’t have access to certain resources. Since food insecurity can be invisible, companies likely don’t know if their employees are struggling. Even employees who seem financially stable at work with full-time salaries could be facing hardships at home. Providing them with meal benefits may enable them to eat healthier, eliminate the unknown of where their lunch is coming from, or help them put more food on the table for their families since they don’t have to worry about buying lunch for themselves.
Since food is a critical part of culture, the other way offering meal benefits contributes to DEI(A) is by celebrating different backgrounds. Whether it’s coming together to eat a certain dish or supporting different local restaurants, providing employees with meals enables them to celebrate their cultures with one another. Using food to recognize celebrations throughout the year such as Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month can help your employees feel seen and heard at your organization.
Another huge part of company culture is fostering connections amongst your employees – no matter where they are. Whether your employees are working in the office, from home, or a mixture of both, offering meal benefits can be the recipe for making them feel connected. Taking a lunch break together in the office or even virtually gives employees an opportunity to bond and get to know each other outside of work.
“Food brings people together, right? Whether it’s at work, whether it’s at home, whether it’s outside in your community. Food is a critical piece of that.”Ari Fox, Sr. Director of Economic Development at Audible
We’ve covered how offering meal benefits can support employee wellness, celebrate DEI(A), and bring your workforce together – but what if we told you it also enables you to give back?
Since Sharebite is a mission-driven company, giving back lies at the foundation of our culture. For every meal ordered on our platform, a meal is donated to someone in need. Through our partnerships with Feeding America and City Harvest, your employees can help alleviate food insecurity and make a difference in their local communities every time they simply order lunch – making it an integral part of your company culture, too.
Offering meal benefits can revamp your company culture and help you build a better workplace – but don’t just take our word for it. Hear from some of Sharebite’s customers themselves.
Checkout.com gets the best of both worlds with a hybrid culture that encourages employees to attend the office one day per week. The best part? On that in-office day, everyone who comes in gets lunch. Checkout.com’s Workplace Manager, Zane Lowe, explained, “On the days we offer Sharebite, it's a full house. I don't think there's ever been a time where somebody's not ordered their Sharebite meal.”
Meal benefits have also played a critical part in taking company culture to the next level at Blend. The company’s Front Office Coordinator shared, “From our experience using Sharebite, we have noticed an increase in employee attendance, improvement in company morale, and overall satisfactory responses to the service.”
When asked about Audible’s experience with Sharebite, Ari Fox expressed that offering meal benefits has helped build a sense of community. “Audible is a very collaborative culture and I think a big part of that has stemmed from this concept of communal lunch, where during the hours from 11:30 to 1:30, people are together in a cafeteria eating together, or even just sitting around - not even eating - but just sitting and being part of the community that is around them.”