Three Important Lessons Employers Can Learn From McDonalds

April 15, 2016
McDonalds teaches us to be better employers

It was on this day, 61 years ago – April 15th 1955 – that Ray Croc opened his very first McDonalds restaurant. Although Ray Croc might not have quite founded the McDonalds brand, he was certainly responsible for how it shaped up. Not only did he persuade the brothers to let their fast food chain be franchised on a much larger scale, but he single-handedly took the chain to international success, too.

Now, there’s a lot of negative stigma surrounding those who find employment with McDonalds. But in reality, most employees of this multi-billion dollar corporation actually love working for the chain, and they have a great company culture.

So what can we learn about employing a great workforce, from such a successful organisation?

1. It Pays to Provide Serious Training and Development Opportunities

Almost every company claims to believe in the importance of providing good training and development opportunities for their people. But few companies can claim to have opened an actual university dedicated to such philosophy!

The Hamburger University was opened in 1961 by Ray Kroc, who famously said “If we are going to go anywhere, we’ve got to have talent. And, I’m going to put my money in talent.”

More than 7,500 students attend Hamburger University every year, according to their website.

As a result of McDonalds’ excellent training and development programmes, many people enjoy a long-term and mutually rewarding career with their company.

2. “If they want to give you a name take it make it your own”

This Tyrion Lannister quote from Game of Thrones is the perfect way to describe what McDonald’s did with their brand image as an employer in 2006.

In the 1980’s, the term “McJob” began appearing in dictionaries. Tending to be described as “a low quality job with poor pay”, it resulted from the widespread stigma about jobs with McDonalds being bad jobs that only unskilled people should be aiming for.

Naturally, McDonalds weren’t best pleased with this definition. But in 2006, they decided to simply face the music and embrace the phrase, by launching their “McJob” advertising campaign. This involved posters that highlighted the real benefits of working for their company, followed by taglines like “not bad for a McJob”.

3. Your Employees Need to Be Fed

Perhaps the biggest way McDonalds rewards its employees is by feeding them on the breaks. Sure, it’s easy for them to do – they’re a restaurant, after all, and food isn’t exactly hard to come by!  But the benefits are huge.

Employees are not going hungry at work just because they’ve spent the last of their wage on a big night out. Employees come to work confident and happy knowing they’re going to be able to eat. Employees save money on food, which helps to add value to their wage or salary.

Maybe you’re not a restaurant. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide benefits like free meals – or even just having a communal fruit bowl where your people can grab a healthy snack to keep their blood sugar up during the day!

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