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Full Interview: Iain Bogie, McDonalds

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21 October 2013

Iain Bogie, National Apprenticeship Manager for international restaurant chain McDonalds, explains how McDonald's train their staff and the impact a through training scheme can have on a business.

1) What are the essential things a business has to consider when developing a career pathway from entry level all the way up to CEO?

Our people are an absolute priority at McDonald's, giving them the opportunity to fulfil their potential is essential to our success. In order for our people to do that, to gain the valuable skills required not just to do their jobs with us, but to successfully develop their careers no matter where they work, a career pathway has to be just that - clearly defined, obvious to everyone and providing opportunity to develop a real career.

It is not just about finding a few great people that will rise to the top but about ensuring that everyone understands how and where they can contribute throughout their career - thus ensuring sustainability within the business at every level of the executive pipeline. A company's career pathway must ensure that opportunity is applied fairly. To achieve this we have made sure that it is transparent and consistent - this develops credibility in the pathway and ensures that the person you look up to as your role model appreciates the value that you add...they've been there themselves. By placing this emphasis on our employees' development, we are able to attract and retain the most dedicated and motivated people - nine out of ten say they are proud to work at McDonald's .

2) How can businesses embrace traineeships?


At McDonald's, we offer a range of training and nationally relevant qualifications, including Intermediate Apprenticeships in Hospitality and Catering, adult certificates in maths and English, a Level 3 Diploma in Shift Management and a Foundation Degree in Managing Business Operations. Giving our employees the opportunity to learn while they work is invaluable for them, and essential for us. We pride ourselves on offering our people high quality qualifications, these are an excellent way to open up opportunities to a younger audience - an audience with a huge amount to offer when given the right support, training and coaching. Training can be part of laying a foundation and spotting future talent at a very early stage - allowing a business to plan for the future.

We are proud of the opportunities that we give to our young people - on average they will stay with us for over two years and our Business Managers have an average tenure of 15 years. Young people no longer need to make a choice between education and employment - in our business, we want people with an appetite to learn and develop and we invest over £40 million in training each year. We see our people's development as a fundamental ingredient to the success of our business.


3) How do we ensure that people on every level are given understanding of the both business and the wider context it operates in, beyond their own technical skills? And how important is this?


People can use the qualifications they gain at McDonald's as an opportunity to progress their careers both with us or outside the business and often they will build on their successful completion of one qualification, by gaining another. For instance, many of our apprentices have gone on to gain our Level 3 Management Diploma. Ensuring that people at every level gain a full understanding of the business and the market in which we operate is a big part of that development. Organisations that silo their teams or hierarchy levels are missing an opportunity. We take collaborative working very seriously and look for opportunities to move people between departments or restaurants, to take secondments in office roles or work closely with our supply chain partners. We take a top to bottom approach to sharing information on upcoming promotions or new procedures - from our CEO to our newest recruit, the training and cascading of this vital information will be the same. Similarly, there are a number of mechanisms in place to keep everyone updated on what is happening across our business and the external impacts - from monthly ‘Town Hall' meetings to structured email and webinar communication tailored to each audience.

One of our biggest channels for talking to our people is our employee engagement portal - "ourlounge". In 2006, this was established to host our online maths and English tuition - now it's a key source of company news, training, shift scheduling and employee discounts with thousands of retailers. We also leverage our education materials to embed wider business messaging - using our apprenticeship workbooks to talk about environmental initiatives or customer service has had a huge impact on how engaged this group is with the business and their desire to progress.

4) What are considered the three key measures of success following on from the implementation of McDonald's training and education strategy?

The success of our training and education strategy can be demonstrated by how far our people are able to progress within the business. We want our people to have the passion and confidence to progress and the skills required to fulfil their potential. For many people their qualifications with us may be their first, this should not be seen as a barrier to their progression but a recognition of their commitment and hard work. It is important that our people have confidence in their training experiences and we are proud to have been graded "good" by Ofsted and to have retained our Investors in People Gold status in 2012.

Ultimately, the greatest measure of success is the customer experience. Our restaurant environments, operating platforms and menus have evolved hugely over the past decade and this, aligned to the investments that we have made in our people, have meant that our customer satisfaction has never been higher. Customer satisfaction helps our business to grow, enabling us to invest in further recruitment and training, thereby giving even more people the opportunity to fulfil their potential. People are our most important ingredient.

Read the complete article, including an interview with Mac Cleves, Managing Director of ICON TRAINING (page 26).

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