McDonald's Serves Up HR Excellence

By Flynn, Gillian | Personnel Journal, January 1996 | Go to article overview
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McDonald's Serves Up HR Excellence


Flynn, Gillian, Personnel Journal


Under Stanley Stein,

senior vice president,

HR and labor relations,

McDonald's Corp. offer

an ambitious HR agenda

that Includes intense

employee training and

development, global

expansion and a com-

mitment to diversity.

Every eight hours, somewhere in the world, another McDonald's restaurant opens its doors. Every eight hours. The ubiquitous quick-service food chain has raised 17,000-plus golden arches in more than 80 countries--its Beijing, China, facility served 50,000 people its first day of business.

What does it mean to be this big? It means you'd better have some really good people: well-trained, promotable, diverse and committed This, in turn, means you'd better have some really good people policies. McDonald's Corp. does.

To begin with, the chain excels at pulling potential employees into its club: One-eighth of the American work force has, at some point, clocked in at Mickey D's. This fact alone speaks volumes on McDonald's HR. It's not as if quick-service food chains make for easy recruiting. Yet employees have several good reasons to crown McDonald's their employer of choice.

First, thanks to its intense training efforts-it surpasses even the U.S. Army as the nation's largest training organization-the company gives employees ample means for selfadvancement. "When we hire someone, we put in such an investment that we want them to stay with us for their careers," explains Stanley Stein, senior vice president, HR and labor relations. Proof: More than 60% of McDonald's restaurant managers started as crew.

Education is everywhere at McDonald's. The company offers beginners orientation through its Crew Training Program, and a Management Development Program takes up where the Crew Training leaves off, developing a cadre of leaders for the future.

Of course, the top-of-the-line training occurs at the Hamburger University home campus, based at the company's headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. Here, resident professors serve up a variety of management and restaurant operations courses to McDonald's owner/operators and management employees from around the world. "Hamburger University, which we're very proud of, is really the finishing touch to a lot of the training," says Stein.

Accredited by the American Council on Education, Hamburger University has graduated more than 50,000 McDonald's management employees. It's no easy task, when students often herald from dozens of countries. To keep them all on equal footing, the HU classrooms resemble a United Nations assembly. With the help of translators and electronic equipment, professors teach and communicate in 20 languages.

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