Modelling the McJob: Why Managing Like McDonalds Might Be Good For Employees

Home » Modelling the McJob: Why Managing Like McDonalds Might Be Good For Employees

Last Wednesday (May 5th) was McHappy Day at McDonalds Canadian operations. It is a big fundraiser for Ronald McDonald Houses across Canada. I had the priviledge of working as a volunteer that day for the fifth time.
I’m guessing they took a look at my performance reviews from 1983 when I worked at McDonalds as a teenager because I was kept far away from the cash register and the cooking grills! While selling balloons and crazy straws for charity I was thinking back to how impressive McDonalds was as an employer.
Of course the term McJob has been coined to describe minimum wage service jobs as being at the bottom of the barrel. And yet in this LeaderFeeder I encourage you to compare some of your company practices to see if you can measure up to McDonalds. At least in Canada, the company is extremely well managed and employees are well treated. 
What makes McDonalds a facinating study is that it knows in advance that a majority of its employees will only work there for a few years, tops. Given that reality, it might be tempting to skimp on the training, forego performance appraisals and never give a raise. But McDonalds does exactly the opposite.
When I started working there, I earned $2.65/hour. I was given two weeks of paid training; some classroom and some on the floor. Some of my friends who worked for other fast food companies didn’t get the same level of training. There were designated trainers whose job it was to get you up to speed on how to do the job correctly and how to keep up with the fast pace.
After a few months on the job, my manager sat me down and gave me a formal performance review and a 10 cent raise. At the time I didn’t know how good I had it.
How does your company compare?

  • Do you provide adequate training so that employees understand both what is expected and how to perform in their jobs?
  • Do you provide regular, detailed performance feedback both informally and formally?
  • How to you treat your temporary employees? Do they feel that they play a worthy role on the team even though they might not work for you for a long time?

Action Items

  • Refrain from maligning so called McJobs, especially if your organization doesn’t measure up to the robust people management practices of McDonalds.
  • If you manage in an organization that employs relatively low-skilled employees it doesn’t mean that you should treat them with less respect.
  • If you manage higher-skilled and higher-paid staff then you really should be implementing positive and proactive leadership practices. It will help you better manage your business.