‘We run to keep up with the latest technology’: How Macca’s trains its young people

by John Hilton16 Nov 2015
As the largest employer of youth in Australia, it makes sense that McDonald’s has tailored a lot of their L&D strategies to suit this demographic. 

How do they do this?

“We run to keep up with the latest technology,” said Cathy Doyle, chief people officer at McDonald's.

In days gone by, McDonald’s delivered the same learning curriculum in just two formats: e-learning and book learning, Doyle told L&D Professional.

“Now it’s app-based, it’s blogging, it’s chat rooms, it’s barista academy online sessions, it’s whatever’s needed to reach them,” Doyle said.

She added that it all comes back to the fact that young people love devices and, in particular, iPhones. The other thing they love? Learning exactly the way they want to learn. 

“Some still want a manual, while others want a video game, like gamification,” she said.

“Rather than reading everything they need to know, others want to be shown what success looks like and they go and replicate that.”

“It’s all about trying to build that flexibility in our delivery offerings to meet their learning requirements.”

However, at the same time there are some things which, regardless of how they would prefer to learn, have to take place a certain way to meet the accreditation. One example is assessments.

Doyle explained to L&D Professional that young people are fairly accepting of this part of the L&D, primarily because schools are a lot like that.

“There they know that they have to do an assessment or they know that they have to do a test, or they know that they have to show evidence of something,” she said.

“One of my biggest observations in coming to McDonalds is they understand where the education sector is at, so we use the same language they get in the school system or in the TAFE system,” she said.

Meanwhile, one youth in the Rockhampton region, Kyle Sandow, recently obtained a position via the Pathways to McDonald’s program.

The program involves a 10-day training course which explored career opportunities, a seven-day classroom based training which focused on skill development, and also a four-day in store vocational placement.

“We completed four units of hospitality and learnt about the policies and procedures and customer service in general,” Sandow told the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin.

The goal of the program was to offer seven indigenous and six non-indigenous youths jobs in one of the four McDonald’s restaurants in the Rockhampton and Gracemere regions.