Young and quick: The youthful backbone of fast food

How does McDonald’s Canada attract, retain and motivate the young people who make up half its workforce? HRM talks to Chief People Officer Len Jillard about the company’s best practices.

Young and quick: The youthful backbone of fast food
an style="line-height: 20.7999992370605px;">HR challenges are almost always also opportunities, and where many might see
One of the unique challenges McDonald’s Canada Chief People Officer Len Jillard faces lies in the nature of his workforce: 50% of employees are 18 years-old or younger.  While the possibility of generational conflict and misunderstanding may seem inevitable as a result, McDonald’s takes strides to appreciate the unique needs of students and Millennials.
The company has awarded workers over $2 million in scholarships, and partners with such schools as with British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to offer leadership development coursework.  In addition, it hosts a National Hiring Day every year, where it welcomes candidates to its restaurants to learn about the opportunities that exist at McDonald’s.  Many are interviewed on the spot, and 6,200 were hired this year alone.
Finally, youth outreach wouldn’t be complete without a social media component.  McDonald’s realized that the way people communicate has changed, and decided to take part in that transformation.
“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 10 seconds.  It’s bizarre to me, but if I knew if I wanted to keep in touch with them, I had to figure out how they talk,” says Jillard.
In that vein, the company is about to unveil a new smartphone app called ‘MyMcD,’ which will be used to showcase new products and promotions, highlight top performing employees and restaurants, and allow for workers to send feedback to the organization.  This new engagement portal will allow for real-time communication, and ensure that both sides are as up-to-date as possible on McDonald’s internal and external affairs.
Hear more from Len Jillard at the HR Leaders Summit on November 6 and 7. Visit for more information.

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