Aon Best Employers Hong Kong 2016: McDonald’s continues to serve up a tasty employee value proposition
McDonald’s has once again been named a recipient of a Best Employer in Hong Kong award to add to its showcase of previous awards in Aon Hewitt’s Best Employers programme.
First opened in Hong Kong 41 years ago, McDonald’s now runs one of the biggest restaurant chains locally, with over 230 restaurants and a workforce of more than 15,000.
“We are honoured to receive this award for the fifth time,” says Randy Lai, Managing Director, McDonald’s Hong Kong. Lai sees the judges’ verdict as recognition of McDonald’s “Putting our people first” people philosophy which, she says, has always been one of the company’s key strategies.
“At McDonald’s, we are not a hamburger company serving people, but a people company serving hamburgers. We have a strong sense of purpose and commitment to our people – and to Hong Kong.”
She explains the company firmly believes that employee happiness ensures customer satisfaction – and, therefore, business success.
“We strive to retain and engage talent by delivering our employee value proposition: family and friends, flexibility and future,” Lai says, adding that this proposition aims to address the needs and priorities of the company’s employees. Its design is based entirely on feedback from employees: McDonald’s emphasises “family and friends” to encourage teamwork; encourages “flexibility” in working hours and job rotation; and focuses on the workforce’s “future” by investing in employee training, continued education and career development.
“We have always made people development one of our core values by giving employees at every level the opportunity for professional advancement,” Lai says.
Over 90 per cent of McDonald’s restaurant management teams began their careers as crew members before going on to develop their skills in both local and overseas training programmes. Last year, the company provided almost 280,000 hours of staff training.
Lai believes the success of such practice is reflected by the company’s stable employee turnover rate over the past three years.
Lai cited diversity and inclusion as another key priority for McDonald’s. She explains that restaurants successfully operate through collaborative teamwork from staff members who range from fresh graduates to the “mommy crew” and “retired-to-be”. “We offer flexible working hours to housewives, students and retirees in frontline positions,” she says. “Job rotation is also practised to broaden employees’ work experience.”
Last year the company launched a new Performance Development System (PDS). Based on staff feedback, the new system provides a consistent, clear, fair and effective method for evaluating performance and development. “Our PDS emphasises our commitment to open, honest and frequent discussions. Our people managers are all trained to provide constructive feedback, in both a formal and an informal context.”
The PDS underpins McDonald’s pipeline of internal promotions, she added. “We look at individual work results and leadership competencies while assessing performance.”
With almost 80 per cent of McDonald’s employees in Hong Kong coming from Gen Y and Z, a fun working environment – in addition to competitive compensation and benefits – is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. Over the past 5 years, McDonald’s organised Manager Convention to Taiwan, Thailand and Korea, a team-building outing for Restaurant Management Team in Hong Kong to have a fun break, getting people from different restaurants to get to know each other in a casual setting and to develop rapport. These company outings are conducive to the building of a positive and engaging culture.
To help its staff contribute to community development, the company runs the McDonald’s Volunteer Team. “As part of our employee engagement strategy, we established McDonald’s Hong Kong Volunteer Team in 2012 to encourage colleagues to dedicate their office hours to helping the community,” Lai explained. She says that, in the past four years, the volunteer team has contributed over 4,000 service hours.
An annual blood donation event, organised with the Red Cross, is one of a range of volunteer activities staff members have the opportunity to get involved with. Since its launch in 2014, 270 McDonald’s employees have donated blood. “This not only lets McDonald’s live up to its values and injects positivity into the company, but also offers an easy and yet convenient way for our employees to give back to the community – as they can do meaningful volunteer work during their working hours.”
Lai says the McDonald’s Volunteer Team also regularly visits the Ronald McDonald House in Sha Tin. A four-minute walk from the Prince of Wales Hospital, the house’s mission is to provide a “home away from home” – accommodation for families who wish to stay close to their hospitalised children.
As an example of the way in which the company intends to continue to develop in Hong Kong, Lai points to innovations such as the 2015 opening of the McDonald’s concept restaurant in Admiralty. The restaurant brings out innovation in terms of restaurant design, menu development and services.
“Colleagues at McDonald’s concept restaurant undertook at least 720 hours of training prior to the opening,” Lai says. “We equipped them with food knowledge through a series of training courses that included the selection of food ingredients, cooking tips and food styling.”