McDonald’s announced plans last Wednesday to give $2 million to non-profit organizations working to build skills and improve employability among young people in Chicago, where the fast food giant is headquartered, the Chicago Tribune reported last week:
In Chicago, about $1 million for pre-employment training will be split among Phalanx Family Services, based in West Pullman neighborhood; After School Matters, situated in the Loop; Central States SER, a workforce development nonprofit in Little Village; and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future, which began as a career training program through World Business Chicago with support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Those nonprofits, vetted and selected by the International Youth Foundation, McDonald’s partner in the initiative, will teach soft skills like communication, problem solving and anger management.
An additional $1 million will go solely to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to support a new two-year apprenticeship program at City Colleges of Chicago that will allow students to earn associate degrees in business for restaurant management jobs, the company said. That program is intended to build careers for young people, specifically at McDonald’s.
David Fairhurst, McDonald’s executive vice president and chief people officer, told the Tribune that the company was making this investment in an effort “to be a good neighbor.” McDonald’s moved its headquarters to central Chicago’s West Town neighborhood in 2016, trading its original suburban campus in Oak Brook, Illinois for the former site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.
The initiative announced last week is not the first investment McDonald’s has made this year in workforce development: In March, it expanded its Archways to Opportunity employee education program, increasing the value of the benefit and making it available to employees after just 90 days on the job. The company has committed $150 million to the program over the coming five years.
McDonald’s announced last week that it was expanding its education benefits program for employees to both increase the value of the benefit and widen the pool of employees who are eligible for it, USA Today reported on Thursday:
Previously, employees had to be on the job for nine months before having a shot at tuition assistance, but that’s been dropped to 90 days. Plus, the weekly shift minimum was 20 hours and now is 15 hours. The changes will make close to 400,000 U.S. employees eligible, the company said. Now, staffers can get as much as $2,500 a year from the Archways to Opportunity program for a trade school, a community college or a four-year university — up from $700. For managers, the figure jumps from $1,050 per year to $3,000.
Some employees’ family members will also now be eligible for assistance. The changes, which McDonald’s attributed to a tight labor market and the savings it accrued from the recent cut in the corporate tax rate, are funded by a $150 million commitment the fast-food giant is making to the program over the coming five years. Since launching in 2015, the company says, Archways to Opportunity has distributed over $21 million in assistance to around 24,000 people.
The program, which is open to employees of both McDonald’s franchises and company-owned restaurants, is offered in partnership with the online education company Cengage Learning. Amanda Eisenberg goes into more detail about how the expanded program will work at Employee Benefit News:
McDonald’s and the National Labor Relations Bureau have reached a settlement in a dispute over whether the fast-food chain was liable as a “joint employer” for unfair labor practices allegedly committed by some of its franchisees, Nation’s Restaurant News reported on Monday:
” The settlement allows our franchisees and their employees to move forward, and resolves all matters without any admission of wrongdoing,” McDonald’s told Nation’s Restaurant News in a statement released Monday. “Additionally, current and former franchisee employees involved in the proceedings are receiving long overdue satisfaction of their claims.”
Attorneys for the employees say they are not satisfied, however:
Micah Wissinger, an attorney for Fight for $15, said the labor advocacy group opposes the settlement. The group maintains that McDonald’s should take responsibility for the firing of employees who fought for higher wages during organized protests dating back to 2012.
The McDonald’s case is one of several high-profile complaints brought by labor activists against major chains asserting that they were responsible for the labor practices of their franchisees. These cases concern whether franchisors count as “joint employers” for the purposes of labor law; in the 2015 Browning-Ferris case, the NLRB expanded the definition of this term to include entities with which a business has a “horizontal” relationship, exercising indirect control over their practices, as well as those with “vertical” relationships that manage employees more directly.
McDonald’s and Ben & Jerry’s may not have a lot in common in their corporate philosophies, but both companies have recently begun offering their low-skilled employees significant educational opportunities that will help them wherever their career paths may take them.
Eighty percent of employees at Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shops are in their first-ever job. The Vermont-based company is now offering them skills training through an online program called Core Academy, where employees can take one of four courses: Beyond the Job parts 1 and 2, Activism Academy, and Social Equity & Inclusion. These topics jibe with the company’s stated commitment to social responsibility.
“We started thinking about what are our responsibilities to this entry-level workforce,” Collette Hittinger, the ice cream company’s global operations and training manager, told SHRM’s Kathy Gurchiek earlier this month, “and we decided we had plenty of programs about how to run an ice cream store,” but nothing to develop skills that would enhance workplace and customer interactions, such as emotional intelligence. The training opportunity also prepares their workforce, 75 percent of which is aged 18-24, for leadership down the road.
Ben & Jerry’s developed the program in partnership with the local Champlain College and California-based Story of Stuff Project. The coursework draws from Champlain’s MBA programs for its content and project-based structure. Participation in Core Academy is voluntary, but the program has been very well-attended and received. It also allows Ben & Jerry’s to stand out in attracting workers for their minimum-wage service industry jobs.
McDonald’s is offering a more traditional education credential, as participants in its “Archways to Opportunity” program can earn a high school diploma through the fast food titan’s partnership with Cengage Learning. Since the 18-month program launched in 2015, roughly 100 employees have completed it and over 800 are currently enrolled. Amanda Eisenberg at Employee Benefit News has the details on the program, which is designed for adult learners:
McDonald’s announced this week that the company and its franchises would hire about 250,000 employees across the US this summer, which is usually the busiest season for the fast food restaurant chain, the Chicago Tribune reports. This year, however, the chain is introducing a new twist on the hiring process and will be accepting short video applications through the social media platform Snapchat:
The chain started accepting “Snaplications” in Australia last month, allowing potential employees to make video submissions with a special filter that shows them wearing a McDonald’s uniform. The video audition can then be submitted to McDonald’s Snapchat account. After that, McDonald’s will send back a link to the application and digital careers page. …
McDonald’s said allowing applications through Snapchat will aid hiring efforts because many of its applicants are between the ages of 16 and 24. It will direct marketing about the application process to select Snapchat users nationwide starting Tuesday. The company also is using other platforms like Spotify and Hulu to reach potential job seekers.
Using Snapchat to target a younger pool of candidates makes sense, as the platform’s user base is overwhelmingly in McDonald’s target age range. According to Hootsuite, 37 percent of Snapchat users are 18 to 24 years old, 60 percent of its users are under 25, and 23 percent have not graduated high school.
A recent study by McDonald’s in the UK found that employees who work with peers of different generations tend to be a bit happier at work, while customer satisfaction seems to improve as well. Jo Faragher outlines the findings at Personnel Today:
In a survey of 32,000 of the restaurant chain’s employees, those who worked with a cross-section of ages showed a 10% increase in happiness levels compared with those who worked with a peer group of similar age. In a comparable poll of customers, 84% said they liked to see a mixture of ages in the restaurant team, with 60% expecting a better service as a result.
McDonald’s research also found that 58% of workers felt it was a priority to have an opportunity to work with people of different ages. This was more important for those born between 1900 and 1964 (a priority for 67%), and 16-year-olds (a priority for 57%). More than two-thirds (70%) of employees who responded to the poll expected to work with people who have different life experiences and views of the world, the research found.
Advocates of age diversity tell the CIPD’s Greg Pitcher that this survey underscores what they already know about the value of keeping senior citizens in the workforce:
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, hopes other employers will recognise the benefits of a multigenerational workforce. She said: “Research backs up the benefits of a more age-diverse workforce and also shows many older workers have no intention of taking it easy and are still looking to progress with their careers.
McDonald’s recently announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from the leafy suburb of Oak Brook, Illinois to the West Town neighborhood in the heart of Chicago. As the Chicago Tribune’s Samantha Bomkamp explains, the move is part of an effort by CEO Steve Easterbrook to revamp the fast-food giant’s business and modernize its image—in this case, by making it a more appealing place for young talent to work:
McDonald’s will move by spring 2018 to the former site of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios at 1045 W. Randolph St., which was home to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for 25 years. The move will bring McDonald’s corporate employees, which currently number about 2,000, from the suburban village to the hustle and bustle of a burgeoning part of the city that is home to some of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, like Girl and the Goat and Au Cheval.
In its bid to attract talent, McDonald’s will join a roster of heavy hitters that already have or plan to move from the suburbs to the city — marquee names like Motorola Solutions, Kraft Heinz, Gogo, Hillshire Brands, Beam Suntory and ConAgra. Rumors that McDonald’s was considering a move have been swirling for months.