When one thinks of Chipotle Mexican Grill, images of mouth-watering burritos and bowls are usually the first things to pop into their head. But when it comes to workplace benefits, the popular quick-service restaurant is focused on cultivating a truly exceptional employee value proposition.
In our latest episode of the Paytient Podcast, we’re taking a closer look at benefits in the QSR space by chatting with Daniel Banks, the director of global benefits at Chipotle. This discussion touches on Daniel's personal journey in the benefits space, the pros and cons of high-deductible health plans, and how Chipotle shapes its employee value proposition.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation with Daniel:
An early love of benefits and insurance
“I actually grew up in a household of benefits and insurance. My father way back in the day used to work for MetLife and Unum and Travelers. I remember growing up and having no idea what he was talking about, but I would have conversations with him about benefits and insurance plans, and I just thought it was amazing. It was only as I got into middle school and high school that I realized that those were some pretty dorky things to talk about, but I loved it and really enjoyed it.”
How HDHPs can positively influence healthcare
“When people see that high deductible and know and understand that there's going to be some additional money coming out of my pocket, I feel like it helps to create that behavior change. If my doctor says I need an MRI or an X-ray or a CAT scan, where the vast majority of individuals might just say, ‘OK. Well doc, tell me where I should go.’ But for the folks on the HSA plan or that high-deductible health plan, they come back and say, ‘OK. I know I’m going to have to pay toward that deductible for that MRI or that CAT scan, so maybe I'm going to go do some additional research to figure out what is available for me.”
Helping employees make healthier choices
“We actually offer an advocacy service where I can call and say, ‘My doctor says I need an MRI. What do I do?’ And that advocate will actually go do the research, find out the average cost on your behalf, and understand what's in your ZIP code. What’s a 10-minute drive? Could you save an extra $100 if you went over here? Or maybe the outcomes for this particular surgical procedure are better.
“It's important to be able to just not put people in a vacuum and let them go on their way. By giving them the tools and the resources, that’s helped keep our PMPM lower because people are making more efficient and more ‘proper decisions’ as it comes to healthcare because they do have that implicit motivation to make the better decision.”
Why Chipotle invests so much in its employee value proposition
“We're very big about our EVP, our employee value proposition, and that's all of the different reasons that an employee might want to work for us. Of course, salary and compensation is one thing — benefits is a big component of that — but there's a lot of other things that go into the benefits program or make it more attractive an option so that employees look and say, ‘I could make a quarter or 50 cents more down the street, but because of this more robust EVP, I want to stay here and work at Chipotle.’”
Bringing education within reach of team members
“We're really proud of what we're doing from an education perspective. For the majority of the employees that work in the restaurant, they're right in the middle of what would be those traditional learning years. We're also really proud of the fact that we are supporting lifelong learning, so regardless of where you are — whether you're 20 years old or 50 years old — we offer the ability for employees to go and get an education on us.
“We offer a debt-free degree program where, if you work for me, I can get you a two- or four-year degree completely tuition-debt free, and I offer about 100 different degree options at 10 different universities; there’s business, technology, agriculture — a whole range of items that can fit into someone's lifestyle or the goal that they're trying to pursue. And I can get it, again, tuition-debt free, which is a pretty cool thing.”
Listen to the full discussion via the podcast player below or by clicking this link. If you'd like to connect with Daniel and learn more about Chipotle's approach to benefits, you can reach them on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.