Working for McDonald's is often portrayed as an undesirable job. In primary school, my math teacher told us that if we did not learn division, we would end up “flipping burgers at ‘Booger King’ or mopping floors at McDonald's.” She is not alone in her negative stereotype of McDonald's. In 2003 the Merriam-Webster Dictionary added the term “McJob,” defining it as a “low paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement." This negative perception of McDonald's is not consistent with the facts.
The Darden case study reports on p. 3 that McDonald's defies industry norms, paying wages that are often better than the industry average and offering many employee benefits.
For example, McDonald's designed incentives to encourage employees to participate in health insurance and 401(k) retirement programs, and pioneered several types of "flex-time." The company is a leader in ...view middle of the document...
The company wishes to do this whilst remaining committed to continuous improvement and ethical practice.
McDonald's has an interesting corporate culture with a distinctive set of values that are crucial to its identity and success. At the core of its corporate value system is a "reserved humility." Employees are valued for their "work hard" ethic, discipline, dedication, and initiative. McDonald's does not value degrees from prestigious institutions--the general counsel advised one MBA not to report his degree in a corporate newsletter because it would be perceived as a "very small part of his value as a coworker" (p. 6). In order to preserve its value system, the company works hard to shrink the "cultural distance" between new hires and "started-as-crew" personnel. For example, new hires in the corporate office without crew experience spend 30 to 60 days as crewmembers, to learn the restaurant stations and develop "respect for the difficulty of each position" (p. 7).
McDonald's strategy and its values are highly interconnected. The strategy to develop, retain and motivate employees is directly related to it values to cultivate employees with a "work hard" ethic, discipline, dedication and initiative. Similarly, the company's value of employee education helps provide better customer service and employee retention. At McDonald's, "started as crew" is a badge of honor that epitomizes the link between strategy and values, a place where hard work and humility breed corporate and personal success.
I do not believe that the general public knows enough about McDonald's commitments to the community in the U.S. While Ronald McDonald House is well known as a respite for sick children and their families, the company does much more. Last semester I lived in Paris, and France--the center of gastronomy--is McDonald's second biggest market. The company cultivates this success by publicizing that it uses French agricultural products, and serves locally made macaroons, a popular French dessert, at its McCafés. McDonald's great success in France is likely due to this targeted communication with the local community, something it could improve in other countries.