McDonald’s secrets to retaining a young workforce

by HCA13 Nov 2014
A multigenerational workforce can be difficult for any organisation, let alone one where 50% of employees are 18 years old or younger. McDonald’s, however, chooses to view this not as a challenge, but as an opportunity – in fact, 65% of its senior leaders started their career path as an entry-level staff member.
In order to maximise the energy and talents of its young workforce, McDonald’s prides itself on an employee value proposition (EVP) centered on a robust reward and recognition structure.
This takes many forms, including:
  • An annual National Hiring Day, where it welcomes applicants to its restaurants to learn about opportunities and hires thousands of new candidates
  • An employee of the month award
  • An outstanding restaurant manager award
  • A Ray Kroc award given to an elite number of top performers and a chance to discuss local and regional concerns with senior management
“It’s a chance to connect with top performers, get a sense of their view on things, and talk about the business,” said Chief People Officer Ken Jillard.
Some of the changes resulting from these meetings include a switch from “functional, pretty bland” uniforms to Lululemon-inspired outfits, as well as more liberal policies regarding tattoos.
Of course, no youth outreach would be complete without a social media component. The company is about to unveil a new smartphone app called “MyMcD,” which will showcase new products and promotions, highlight top-performing employees and restaurants, and allow workers to send feedback to the organisation.
“I know with my kids, I can pick up the phone and call them, but they won’t answer. If I send an email, I might hear back in a week or two. But if I text them, I get a response in about ten seconds,” said Jillard. “It’s bizarre to me, but I knew that if you want to keep in touch with young people, you have to figure out how they talk.”


  • by Cynic 13/11/2014 11:24:53 AM

    Of course it's an oppurtunity to hire young people and therefore pay them the lowest amount possible.

    If they can hire a 15 year old instead of an 19 year old they will, seen it happen.

    Call me a cynic!

  • by Sarah 13/11/2014 2:58:50 PM

    Well said Cynic!
    There is nothing earth shattering that they're doing here. They're just communicating via simple methods that work for a young workforce...something most employers with young workers are now doing. Nothing else in the article is new either. Maccas want young staff because they're cheap and it works for their marketing and image too.
    Having said that I do find that if I hire young people who have worked at Maccas they tend to have good discipline and work ethic compared to other young workers - They must teach them something there!

  • by Vinsin 13/11/2014 7:52:39 PM

    Well Technically its not true im one of the young people hired in mcdonalds i only have a inch difference from the older ones. they pay them right even though its small.. all employee have the same salary except the ones that are now years in the business but i bet they started the same with us. Remember mcdonalds is a fast food chain technically pay is low.

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