McDonald’s : Work on Aspects of Human Relations

A company can be defined as a corporation, association, partnership, or union that carries on an industrial or commercial enterprise (Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary). In today’s business world, there are a plethora of companies that have become household names. Such companies have earned this merit through their impact on the economy, society, and culture. These are companies that achieved this influence through a variety of business practices.

One vital business practice that every successful company possesses, especially the household names, is in the area of human relations skills. Human relations means interactions among people and the goal of human relations is to create a win-win situation by satisfying employee needs while achieving organizational objectives, thus giving the organization and employees what they want ( Lussier, 5). One particular household name company that has effectively utilized human relations skills in its ascent to the cream of the crop of the business world is McDonalds.

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The fast food empire has operated throughout the past several decades using numerous facets of human relations skills to achieve their immense success. There are many notable aspects of the company that human relations have played an integral role in shaping. McDonalds has been particularly keen in using human relations skills within their organizational structure, including in the areas of career stages in career management, ethics, motivating performance, leadership, organizational change and culture, as well as valuing global diversity.

These have all proved to be vital in paving the path for McDonald’s to achieve its goals, and human relations has been a major factor in doing so. Career management deals with taking responsibility for managing one’s career. Career management is comprised of career planning, career development, getting a job, career stages, and getting raises and promotions. Career planning is the process of setting career objectives and determining how to accomplish them. Career development is the process of gaining skill, experience, and education to achieve career objectives.

Career stages refer to the different needs of people as they grow older during the span of their career. Human four Relations in Organizations by Robert N. Lussier breaks career stages down into different age groups: the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and the 60s and 70s. Lussier describes the 20s as the time when one is beginning his/her career where they must develop the job skills needed and often work long hard hours to get ahead. The 30s are characterized as the time when mangers develop expertise and show their strength as bosses.

Lussier describes the 40s and 50s as a time where one either advances to higher management, settles into middle management, seeks a new employer, or is forced into early retirement, while the 60s and 70s is designated for retirement or serving as a mentor. This climbing of the corporate ladder is seen within McDonalds. The 20s career stage described by Lussier is represented in McDonalds through manger trainees. Manager trainees are responsible for learning and understanding McDonald’s policies and procedures in order to prepare for managing shifts in a McDonald’s restaurant.

It is here that McDonalds promotes career development. These responsibilities include gaining experience with attaining and maintaining customer satisfaction, developing an understanding of basic supervision, human relations, interpersonal communication and follow-up skills, establishing an Individual Development Plan to help focus on personal career development objectives, and ensuring that a respectful workplace exists in the restaurant (mccalifornia. com). The next step from here is to be promoted to the Second Assistant Manager Position where the skills learned as a Manager Trainee are put into effect.

Like the 30s career stage, this is a time where expertise is harnessed and strength as a boss is honed. Second Assistant managers are responsible for managing people, products and equipment to execute outstanding Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value on all assigned shifts. In addition, they are responsible for developing and training crew employees, maintaining critical standards for product quality, service speed & quality, cleanliness, sanitation, managing shifts and/or areas without supervision, and ensuring all safety, sanitation and security procedures are executed.

Other responsibilities include controlling food components, labor, waste and cash while managing shifts, completing all assigned shift paperwork, and ensuring that a respectful workplace exists in the restaurant (mccalifornia. com). This helps to show how one is expected to develop an expertise and show ability as a boss during this career stage. The next promotion on this rise up the corporate ladder is First Assistant Manager, which can be distinguished as still part of the 30s career stage, as it is still a time to build on expertise and leadership.

First assistant managers are responsible for assisting the Restaurant Manager in executing virtually all aspects of the restaurant operations. Other tasks expected from a First Assistant manager include demonstrating and reinforcing the leadership behaviors and basic people standards necessary to gain commitment from crew and other shift managers, recruiting, staffing, scheduling and retaining employees, managing the development and training of crew and shift management employees.

Furthermore, they are expected to build sales and control costs to deliver optimum business results for all areas of accountability, maintain critical standards for product quality, service speed and quality, cleanliness, and sanitation, while controlling assigned profit and loss line items. The next level on McDonald’s corporate ladder represents the pinnacle of the 30s career stage. It is here that an employee gets the chance to show that they have truly developed their expertise and strengthened his/her leadership skills enough to become a Restaurant Manager.

Restaurant managers are responsible for the entire operation of a single McDonald’s restaurant. The next promotional level on the corporate ladder represents the shift from the 30s career stage to the 40s and 50s career stage. It is here that one has shown that they have developed his/her expertise enough to move to a higher management job. One such job would be an operations supervisor, which entails providing leadership, coaching and direction to assigned restaurants, as well as maximizing long-term sales and profit potential of each restaurant.

Also, one must build a positive business relationship with Restaurant Managers and Restaurant Leadership Team. Another higher management option is the position of Director of Training and Development. The demands of this post include conducting training classes that motivate and improve individual performance and contribute to restaurant results. You’ll also serve as operations expert and consultant on McDonald’s operation standards, management tools and training systems (mccalifornia. om). Career management is something that is not taken for granted by McDonalds, as the process of planning a career is simplified through McDonalds’ corporate hierarchal structure. Once one gets a job at McDonalds, career development is offered as employees are taught skills, and subsequently use these skills and experiences to move up the corporate ladder during the various career stages, culminating in promotions and raises.

If one is able to develop his/her expertise and leadership skills to a high enough level, then they can achieve upward mobility through the ranks of the restaurant into higher management, thus painting a vivid portrait of McDonald’s Career Management policies. McDonalds also adheres by a strict code of conduct in terms of ethics. Ethics is described by Lussier in Human Relations in Organizations as the moral standard of right and wrong behavior. Lussier even provides a human relations guide to ethical behavior. He provides four guides.

The first is, if one is proud to tell all involved parties of a decision after making it, it is probably ethical, while if one is embarrassed, then it may not be. The second guide is simply, ‘Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. ’ Thirdly, when one is facing doubt about whether a decision is ethical, then he/she should consult an ethical person. The fourth guide begs the questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

While this may seem like a lot of jargon just over whether a decision is ethical or not, according to Lussier, there is more than meets the eye here, as generally, ethical behavior has proven to pay off. This therefore makes it no surprise that McDonalds has made ethics a major priority. McDonalds even goes as far as to implement a code of ethics to its Financial Officers. One such component of this code of ethics calls for employees to “Act at all times with integrity, avoiding actual or apparent conflicts of interest in personal and professional relationships. Another is “Act in good faith, responsibly, with due care, competence and diligence, and without misrepresenting material facts or circumstances and without seeking improperly to influence or hinder the Company’s independent auditors in any way in the performance of their engagement” (aboutmcdonalds. com). This can be seen as doing unto others as you want them to do unto you. Other parts of the code can be interpreted as fitting under the prong of being proud to tell others of a decision.

These include part of the code that states, “Maintain the confidentiality of Company information, except when authorized or otherwise required to make any disclosure, and avoid the use of any Company information for personal advantage,” as well as “Consistent with applicable law, share my knowledge with others within the Company to the extent appropriate to improve communications to the Company’s shareholders and other constituents” (aboutmcdonalds. com).

Violations of these codes would seemingly leave an employee feeling embarrassed or question him/herself over the violation, ultimately manufacturing what would be determined as an unethical decision, which would consequently go against the company’s interests since ethical behavior pays off. By setting a strict code of conduct that adheres to Lussier’s aforementioned guidelines, McDonalds is promoting ethical behavior and putting into print what is acceptable and what is not.

By promoting ethical behavior, McDonalds is increasing the chances of obtaining the win-win situation between the organization and employees that human relations is all about. Like all successful companies, employee performance plays a vital role in the accomplishments of McDonalds. A tremendous underlying force that jumpstarts the performance of McDonalds’ employees is motivation, as the company views employees as a principal source in productivity. Lussier describes motivation as the internal process leading to behavior to satisfy needs.

He describes the process as having a need, followed by a motive, which leads to a behavior and culminates in satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Lussier makes note of Maslow’s needs hierarchy, which is arranged in a hierarchal manner going from basic to complex needs. These needs, going from basic to complex, include physiological needs like food, safety needs like job security, social needs like the opportunity to interact with others, esteem needs like pay raises, and finally, self-actualization, which is the highest level to develop one’s full potential.

McDonalds’ use of motivation mirrors that of the needs hierarchy. It sticks to four basic rules. The first two express that “The Company must elaborate different systems of motivation for every department,” and “The personnel must have clear and attainable aims. It is better to have one aim per a person. ” The third conveys that “The aims must change: managers should have one aim for half of a year. For example, at first a manager examines the number of clients, then he/she examines the number of returning clients; and then he/she should analyze the increase in business sales” (articlealley. om). This opens the door for finding new abilities of employees as well as discovering alternate methods of work. Finally, the fourth principle calls for employee raises to be reasonable. These four motivational rules of thumb that McDonalds abides by are described as financial encouragement, non-financial encouragement, and social policy. The financial encouragement would fall under esteem needs, with the non-financial encouragement falling under safety needs, and the social policy naturally being categorized as social needs.

Thus, the fourth principle mentioned above would be financially encouraged and by deemed an esteem need, while the first would be a social need, the second a safety need, and the third a combination of all three. However, while McDonalds does have a lot in common with Maslow’s needs hierarchy, it does not hesitate to differentiate its motivation techniques from Maslow’s theory. While in Maslow’s theory, each need is required to be fulfilled one after another in a hierarchal form, McDonalds alters from this as the fast food giant has found that simultaneous fulfillment of employees needs leads to an increase in the performance of employees.

By somewhat tweaking the needs hierarchy, McDonalds found a motivation tactic that has increased employee productivity and subsequently employee performance, as made apparent by the success the company has achieved throughout the years. Leadership skills are yet another feature of human relations in which McDonalds has a standardized procedure in addressing. Leadership is described by Lussier as the process of influencing employees to work toward the achievement of objectives. While McDonalds has plenty of managers, that does not necessarily correlate to having plenty of leaders, as managers and leaders are different entities.

Someone may be a manager and not a good leader, and vice versa. Thus, McDonalds has made leadership development a huge precedence. One such leadership development process McDonalds organizes is an ‘Annual Review of Management Performance. ’ This occurs when the Chairs of the Compensation and Governance Committees consult with independent Directors and approve the annual goals and objectives of the CEO, which must be consistent with that of McDonalds. The CEO’s performance is evaluated and his/her salary and other compensation are established for that year.

Another leadership development process coordinated by ‘The Golden Arches’ is ‘Succession Planning,’ which is when the Board considers a succession plan for the CEO and senior management every year. One more form of leadership development used by McDonalds is ‘Committee Self-Evaluations,’ which is when Audit, Compensation, and Governance Committees annually evaluate themselves, while Corporate Responsibility and Finance Committees evaluate themselves at least once every two years. At the end of the evaluations, the Chair of each Committee reports the conclusions to the full board and makes suggestions on improvement. Board Self-Evaluations,’ another form of leadership development, involve the Governance Committee evaluating the Board of Directors as a whole (aboutmcdonalds. com). Clearly, with their annual evaluations and leadership building programs, McDonalds has made it clear that it covets not only managers but managers who can lead, and lead effectively year in and year out. McDonalds has also exhibited its willingness to conduct organizational changes over the course of recent years. Lussier wrote that change is a central subject if management.

He classified change into four categories: technological change, structural change, task change, and people change. McDonalds has adapted to these types of changes with changes of its own. McDonalds underwent a technological change in response to a more digital culture becoming prevalent. McDonalds counter-attacked this change in culture by adding free Internet access in its restaurants, thus keeping up with the modern technology that people use every day, and subsequently enabling people who eat at McDonalds every day as a part of their routine to continue other routines of their daily life at the restaurant.

McDonalds sought to become a destination where people could meet, answer emails, and even helps itself by using high speed technology for business purposes (networkworld. com). In response to a more modern, technological culture, Mickey Dees underwent a technological change of its own to keep up with time. Another change McDonalds implemented was in the areas of structural, task, and people change. In response to many blaming the obesity problem in America on fast food establishments like McDonalds, the company aimed to give customers a healthier alternative.

Salads were introduced as a permanent part of the menu, nutritional information was put on packages of food on the menu, hamburger buns lower in sugar were introduced, and healthier happy meals with fruits and vegetables were introduced (asso. org). Furthermore, McDonalds has designed more changes in hopes of improving the customer experience and expanding its business to 13,000 more restaurants in the United States. Mike Roberts, the President of McDonald’s USA, announced that McDonalds would combine staff functions and improve efficiency by creating 21 new regions.

Roberts announced a variety of initiatives designed to improve the restaurant experience, including accelerated operations training, restaurant simplification, incentives for outstanding restaurant operations, and an enhanced national restaurant evaluation system (secinfo. com). McDonalds has adapted to changes by employing organizational changes and changing the culture of the company as the culture of society changed. Looks like McDonalds took the advice of the mice and anticipated change in regards of its cheese—or in this case, cheeseburgers.

Last but not least, McDonalds’ value on global diversity has helped make it the sensation it is today. Diversity refers to the degree of differences among members of a group or an organization. Embracing and empowering a diverse workforce has been a part of the McDonald’s culture for decades. In the mid 1970s, McDonald’s then-CEO Fred Turner, established our initial diversity program, and in 1980, we hired our first official manager for the program.

Measures taken by McDonalds to diversify include formal presentations, workshops, seminars and informal training designed to practice the skills and behaviors needed to collaborate with and lead people in an inclusive, diverse workforce (crmcdonalds. com). In regards to McDonalds’ actual global impact, as of December 31, 2007, McDonald’s Corporation operated 31,377 restaurants in 118 countries, of which 20,505 were operated by franchisees; 3,966 were operated by affiliates; and 6,906 ere operated by the company (prsync. com). McDonalds began in 1940 in San Bernardino, California. Since then, it has emerged as one of the most influential, recognizable, and successful companies in the world. While the ‘Golden Arches’ of McDonalds have become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world, what most people do not see is the behind the scene heroics that human relations skills provide in the success story that is the McDonald’s Corporation.

With McDonalds’ extreme focus and extensive work on aspects of human relations such as career management, ethics, motivating performance, leadership building, organizational change and culture, as well as valuing global diversity, the company has had a major impact on the economy, society, and culture, becoming one of the most successful companies in the world.

Works Cited

2009 McDonalds. “Financial Officer Code of Ethics -. ” About McDonald’s. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . 2009 McDonalds. “Leadership Development -. ” About McDonald’s. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. Breidenbach, Susan. “You want Wi-Fi with that? – Network World. ” You want Wi-Fi with that? – Network World NetworkWorld. com – Network World. Susan Breidenbach, 23 Oct. 2006. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . Hunt, Olivia. “Performance and Motivation in ? McDonalds?. ” Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . “Insights from McDonald’s Chief Global Diversity Officer – Tree Shakers and Jelly Maker. ” Press releases – prsync. com. 16 Oct. 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . Lussier, Robert N. Human Relations in Organizations. 7th ed. Springfield College: The McGraw-Hill Companies. Print. McDonald’s Corporate Social Responsibility. ” McDonald’s Corporate Social Responsibility. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . McDonald’s Corporation. “Management Careers – Mcdonald’s-indio. ” California McDonald’s Local Restaurant Information and Careers/Jobs. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . “McDonald’s Makes Some Changes – ASSO. ” The Obesity Society Homepage – ASSO. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. . “SEC Info – McDonalds Corp – 8-K – For 10/17/01 – EX-99. (A). ” SEC Info – the best EDGAR online database of Securities and Exchange Commission filings & IPOs. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .

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