McDonald’s finds advantage in fast food workforce battle

The job crisis in the restaurant industry does not seem to be easing.

Eating out places created 253,200 jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that still leaves about 1 million jobs unaccounted for from February 2020. There isn’t much guarantee that the industry will have. will not recover all these positions either. A recent survey published by the job search platform Joblist revealed 38 percent of former hotel workers have no interest in returning to work in a bar or restaurant.

The survey found that employee benefits were one of the main issues, and the concepts of fast service and full service did their best to resolve the issue. That includes McDonald’s, which announced in May that it would increase hourly wages by about 10% to an average of $ 13 an hour. The average wage will increase to $ 15 an hour by 2024. Entry-level workers now earn a minimum of $ 11 to $ 17 an hour and shift managers earn a minimum of $ 15 to $ 20. The move only applies to the 660 restaurants run by the hamburger giant’s business, but franchisees have reportedly implemented similar wage increases, along with childcare and education benefits.

READ MORE: Attract and retain restaurant employees with labor shortages

While competitive compensation and benefits are essential, McDonald’s also believes in a company’s ability to train essential soft skills. To better understand this positive impact, she conducted a “Workforce Survey” with the American Association of Community Colleges to ask individuals what is most important in a first job and how their careers have evolved.

The survey interviewed nearly 2,000 workers across multiple industries, and 77% said they were satisfied with their first job. The three most important soft skills to learn on a first stop were responsibility, teamwork, and responsiveness. Respondents who have acquired at least one skill per category are 19% more likely to have a full-time job now, 24% more likely to have health insurance, and 50% more likely to report being satisfied with their job.

The results also proved just how important a role McDonald’s can play in people’s lives for the first time. Of those who started their careers with the brand, 88% learned how to work in a team, compared to 74% overall. Fifty-seven percent said they learned about customer service, compared to less than half of those surveyed overall. Additionally, the survey found that over 40% are more likely to have financial security, 50% are more likely to have a job with benefits, and over 70% are more likely to feel job satisfaction. job.

QSR spoke with Tiffanie Boyd, senior vice president and chief human resources officer of McDonald’s USA, to dig deeper into the findings, the importance of soft skills in today’s marketplace and how the job crisis will play out.

The top three categories of soft skills in the survey were responsibility, teamwork, and responsiveness. Could you explain how McDonald’s incorporates each of these skill sets into the daily routines of its employees?

McDonald’s and our franchisees teach and train employees from the moment they walk through our restaurant doors, from our initial onboarding programs to the coaching they receive while working with their teammates and the live feedback from managers during their days. work shifts. We focus on skills that will help people be successful in their work at McDonald’s, but also prepare them for success later in their careers and in life: skills such as showing up on time, working as a team, communicate effectively and be accountable for results.

How important is the supply of soft skills in the workforce today, especially among the younger generation who may see McDonald’s as their first job? Is there a noticeable gap in soft skills?

Even as the job market changes, these soft skills will always be important for people to learn early in their careers. And the Workforce Survey has shown us that many Americans, from all walks of life, recognize the value of these skills and how they can lead to better results on the road.

Has the way McDonald’s teaches these soft skills to beginners changed from how it was done five, 10 or 15 years ago? Which methods have remained the same, and what is different?

We are constantly evaluating and updating our restaurant training programs. This is exactly why we conducted the Workforce Survey, and we will use this information and feedback from crew members to improve in the future.

One of the notable ways our training has evolved over the years is the technology we use. For example, we now use interactive training modules to support learning, rather than relying on binders of guidelines and instructions.

We also help employees learn soft skills through training outside the restaurant. Many of our core programs have stood the test of time, such as the University of Hamburg, which was founded in 1961 to train future leaders. And we have continued to introduce new offerings. A good example is Archways to Opportunity, which we launched in 2015 to help employees graduate from college, graduate from high school, learn English as a second language, and gain access to free services. educational and vocational guidance. We are proud that over 65,000 restaurant workers have taken advantage of this program to date.

The investigation found that McDonald’s was successful in giving employees the opportunity to learn soft skills. What makes McDonald’s training methods different from other brands in the fast food segment?

I was encouraged by the survey data, which showed that our efforts to teach employees these essential soft skills are paying off. I think it all comes down to the culture we develop in our restaurants, with a focus on continuous learning and improvement.

As one of the largest employers in the United States, we have a unique opportunity to positively impact people’s lives. I take this responsibility seriously, and I can tell you that we will never stop pushing ourselves to go further and do more.

What are the main lessons McDonald’s has learned from the labor shortage and how is the business doing? Has there been a big change in your approach to recruiting? What short-term benefits do you offer to attract, retain and support employees?

It’s a competitive market right now, and we’re working closely with franchisees across the country to share hiring and retention strategies and best practices. We know that salaries and benefits are important, which is why we are increasing hourly wages for McDonald’s restaurant employees by an average of 10%, and many franchisees are doing the same, in addition to exploring additional benefits such as paid vacation and backup. care of children and the elderly.

What was so interesting about the Workforce Survey was that it gave us a better understanding of what is also most valuable to our long-term employees. And we believe our skills building, training and education programs keep our crew members and managers engaged and encourage them to stay with us longer.

Following the announcement of salary increases at company-owned stores, has McDonald’s noticed a significant increase in the number of applicants or potential candidates? What has been the impact of this salary increase so far?

Yes, we are seeing an increase in applications and hires, and I’m sure the recent salary increases have helped.

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