Bridging the HR skills gap and fostering a data-first mindset at McDonald’s

McDonald’s employees drive their success

People are at the heart of McDonald’s success. With over 130,000 employees across the UK & Ireland, ensuring their people are well trained, fulfilled and enjoy their work is critical. The brand has a long history of always trying to improve and be better, uniting people to make a difference where it really matters to millions of people across thousands of communities.The backbone of the McDonald’s brand is a commitment to their set of core values that define who they are and how their business operates. What matters to customers matters most to McDonald’s, and their vision for the future centres around five core values: Community, Inclusion, Family, Service and Integrity. McDonald’s is committed to improving the lives of their people by putting their employees first and providing all members of staff with opportunities to train and grow.

The challenges McDonald’s was facing

It’s a sign of their success that so many McDonald’s employees decide to stay with the company for a large part of their careers. In fact, nine in ten McDonald’s Business Managers started as crew members and a third of their executive team started their career in a restaurant.However, as McDonald’s has grown in the UK & Ireland, the company was facing a common challenge: how could they increase their people’s capabilities in HR and foster a more unified approach for People Managers? McDonald’s has been offering apprenticeship opportunities since 2006 and supported more than 19,000 employees through learning. But, up until 2019, McDonald’s People Managers didn’t have access to nationally recognised qualifications and there was a clear skills gap in the use of data.

How apprenticeships empowered McDonald’s employees

McDonald’s saw an opportunity, and for the first time, they were able to introduce formal learning to their People Managers and those working within the HR remit, as well as CIPD accreditation.

Avado has been delivering HR apprenticeships to McDonald’s since January 2019, running several cohorts every year.

Through Arch Apprenticeships, Avado offered a suite of four programmes to McDonald’s, including:

  • HR Support Level 3
  • HR Consultant Level 5
  • L&D Consultant Level 5
  • Data Analyst Level 4

Each of these apprenticeships, funded by the apprenticeship levy, gives McDonald’s employees the opportunity to develop their skills and make a positive impact on the organisation:

  • With the HR and L&D apprenticeships, we work to empower McDonald’s people professionals to lead the delivery of HR solutions.
  • With the data apprenticeship, we help to develop data champions within the business, fostering a data-focused mindset.

Franchisees have been supportive of their people’s development and fully endorsed the apprenticeships on offer.

There are now 106 McDonald’s learners across various departments within the organisation using an apprenticeship as their chosen development pathway. Some of their roles include Technical Analysts, Insight Officers, People Managers, Reward Consultants and Wellbeing Officers.

Supporting McDonald’s apprentices

Through the pandemic, our online delivery method allowed apprentices to network outside of their franchise, and since we already operated on a remote basis, learning was never interrupted.

Avado has supported learners at McDonald’s through the completion of their Level 3 HR Support Apprenticeships, with a whopping 34% progressing onto the Level 5 HR Consultant Apprenticeship. This is one of the higher progression rates Avado has seen, across all industries.

The impact of Avado’s apprenticeships

With our apprenticeships, Avado increased HR and data knowledge across McDonald’s head office and franchises. Specifically for HR, apprentices are now able to offer consistent and informative advice, taking a unified approach.

As a result of recognising early on that they had a capability gap, McDonald’s HR team was able to prepare for the unpredictable. They were able to develop the skills they needed to manage a complex, unexpected scenario that many other organisations struggled to navigate.

Based on our survey of McDonald’s learners, 89% completely or somewhat agreed their apprenticeship has:

  • Made them better at their job
  • Opened opportunities of increased responsibility internally
  • Contributed to job security
  • Helped them achieve job satisfaction as a result of their new skills

What McDonald’s employees had to say

“From my perspective as an employer, I wanted to invest in deepening the HR talent and capability within my organisation and to retain the very best talent over the long term. The CIPD Apprenticeships have helped provide a career development pathway for my organisation’s People Manager team. Angelika [one of the learners] has worked incredibly hard, balancing her apprenticeship studies with the dynamic demands of work during turbulent times. Through this time, she has grown in confidence to lead more challenging cases, to demonstrate her flair for innovation and increasingly provide HR advice and counsel to her peers.” – Richard Forte, Franchisee at McDonald’s Fortress Operations

“At McDonald’s we are really proud to offer the HR CIPD Apprenticeships, Level 3 since 2019 and more recently adding the Level 5 to our portfolio of offerings. Our People Managers have a great deal of experience and knowledge, but since completing the apprenticeship it is fantastic to hear how they developed and elevated their people systems within the restaurants. 2020 was a difficult year for everyone and we do believe that as a result of them completing the programme they have been able to support the business and our people. Confidence has grown and the desire to want to learn has improved so much that many of our learners have progressed to the next level.” –  Ilona Hodson, McDonald’s National Apprenticeship Manager

About Avado

At Avado, we believe in unlocking potential and changing lives. Learning with us makes real, lasting change happen for individuals, and entire organisations. Through our connected learning experiences in Data, Marketing, People, and Agility, we can help you drive real change.

Going beyond just technical skills, our award-winning programmes help teams find success in an ever-evolving world. With a strong emphasis on the behavioural and mindset shifts needed to embed new capabilities, we’ll work together to develop leaders, teams and individuals through interactive learning experiences.

Tara MacInnis

Posted September 22, 2021