Noodles & Company expands wellness benefits with plethora of new offerings
Noodles & Company has expanded its employee benefits program, known as LifeAtNoodles, to include a variety of new offerings in education, wellness, family planning, expanded time off, and recognition initiatives.
Noodles’ employees will have access to free flu shots, free in-person and virtual mental health counseling, tuition assistance for all employees and their families, weight loss program assistance and free dental services for children under 14. The company also boosted paid paternity leave to six weeks, an increase from two weeks, and is offering surrogacy coverage of up to $10,000, as well as a backup dependent care program. The restaurant chain will also offer paid time off to vote, paid bereavement time off for miscarriages and flexible floating holidays.
“As we were moving into 2020 and looking at 2021, we really took a step back and evaluated our benefits programs using an inclusion and diversity lens,” says Sue Petersen, vice president of HR at Noodles & Company. “We wanted to make sure we were offering benefits that we're attractive to our entire demographic.”
Noodles & Company’s mental health benefits are coming at a crucial time for employees. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated mental health, with more than half of American adults saying COVID-19 has taken a toll on their wellbeing, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
“We understand the strain of work and home life along with the additional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and how this impacts our team members, which is why these mental health benefits are so important to us” Petersen says. “We want our team members to know that we care about their mental health and that they have our full support.”
Employers have consistently been boosting benefits that help their workforce tackle everyday stressors. Fifty-eight percent of employers offer their employees a general wellness program, according to research from the Society For Human Resource Management. More than half of employers offer a financial wellness program, according to Bank of America data. Even before the outbreak of the virus, employers had been recognizing the need to play a more active role in their employees’ lives outside of work.
“We want to make [our employees’] day a little bit better every day they come into work,” Petersen says. “Part of that is being more involved in providing more support on a personal level by expanding the benefits that are available to them, whether it's around growing their family, wellness or financial. [It’s about] having a more holistic approach to engage the team members.”