Learning and Development at McDonald's

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Employee learning and development is a critical topic for every organization since it is directly related to the realization of the leading organizational goal, profit maximization. This study is aimed at developing a teaching program for McDonald’s and analyzing the company’s leadership and motivational status. The researcher is assigned with the role of reviewing the current organizational practice in respect to learning and development. The researcher chose to conduct a case study of Mc Donald’s. Organizations increasingly realize that employees are the nest assets to invest in. They are therefore ensuring that the employees learn new operational methods, hence increasing their productivity. One of the most important responsibilities of a human resource consultant is to identify a problem with the team and solve it in a manner that the firm will not suffer it in future. This includes coming up with a proper method of training to help the organization in overcoming the problem. In general, learning and development help in solving quality issues, increasing productivity, health, safety and team spirit.

This study aims to review and critique the current learning and development strategies that are adopted by McDonald’s. It will, therefore, determine the available strategies of learning and development, examine whether there are training and development programs in place, find out to what extent the strategies have been implemented and make recommendations for the future of learning and development programs in McDonald’s.

Critical Overview of the Area

The part of Human Resource Management (HRM) that deals with learning and development is referred to as Human Resource Development (HRD), (Daley, 2012). HRD entails training employees after they are hired, giving them a chance to learn new skills and providing them with resources which are not only beneficial to the employee’s tasks but the whole organization. It supports the workers’ through improving their abilities, knowledge, organizational as well as personal skills. According to Fawad (2012), learning and development entail the following activities: monitoring, tuition assistance, coaching, employee training, succession planning, employee career development, organizational development and tuition assistance. It can take place in a formal setting such as a classroom setting training or planned organizational change effort or in an informal manner, for instance, a manager coaching an employee. The main focus of learning and development is to improve both employees’ and managers’ skills so that they can attain organizational objectives.

Research has consistently confirmed that employee learning and development is the key to continuous organizational growth, (Salas et al, 2012). Although there are no doubts that other factors such as adopting technological developments and products delivery systems can contribute towards organizational growth, the primary factor that contribute to organizational profitability is its employees. Competitors can copy product delivery systems and technology, but they cannot copy employees’ skills, (Brewster, 2017). The only way a firm can remain ahead of the competition is through hiring and maintaining the most capable talents and providing them with the opportunity to do their very best work. Organizations should therefore invest in training, developing and motivating their workforce.

HRD represents the trending aspect that improves the long traditional educating, training and developing employees with a purpose of realizing organizational and individual objectives. Garavan et al suggests the use of the term “biological HRD” to refer to the living nature of human beings within the firm, (Garavan, Carbery & Rock, 2012).). The scope of education is broader than that of training. The two are offered in different settings, whereby the former is offered in academic institutions while the latter takes place at the workplace. Education gives people the opportunity to gain skills, attitudes, and knowledge just like training. Distinguishing between the two has therefore been problematic, although most scholars have confirmed that education involves theory while training is practical.

According to Shah et al, HRD is based on theories that are concerned with adult education, and it is very different from the learning that takes place in children, (Shah et al., 2001). He also said that the primary aim of HRD is an improvement of workplace performance. He related the theory of change to organizational performance, whereby he claimed that since change is inevitable, it is essential for organizations too consistently train their employees as a way of responding to both internal and external change. Learning and development also increase the capacity of individuals and groups through the application of learning based inventions for the purpose of organizational effectiveness and growth, (Ji et al, 2012).

The need for learning and development in organizations is accelerated by the increased need to focus on quality, globalization, new competitive structures, high rates of change, high pressure on the need for human resources involvement and the dynamic technology, (Latif, Jan & Shaheen, 2013). Human resource development influences the performance of all the other departments, (Garavan et al., 2012). It is, therefore, a significant determinant of business strategies since it helps companies to respond to opportunities and challenges. If employees are competent enough in their workplaces, then their performance improves due to the motivation that is brought about by job satisfaction.

McDonald’s is a leading global fast-food retailer that operates in more than 117 countries. It has more than 32,000 local restaurants which serve about 50million customers daily. The company is a valuable brand which holds a leading share of the market in any country. Some of its products include Big Mac, Chicken Mc Nuggets, French Fries, and Egg Muffin. The company has developed a human resource culture over the years, an area that differentiates it from other fast-food restaurants. The management’s attitude towards standards and work is evident in its hiring procedures which ensures that the right candidates attain higher positions after proving their abilities. The company ensures that competitive employees are spotted and retained. According to Philips et al, (2012), the attrition rate is high in the hospitality industry is high, and despite this, companies should keep o motivating their employees to put in better performance. McDonald’s uses different approaches at its various levels to ensure it motivates its staff to perform better as a way of achieving job satisfaction. The assistant manager has the responsibility of motivating employees at the restaurant level, who in most cases use the tool of promotion to achieve it. As a way of achieving lower rates of attrition, the company has embraced training and development programs to ensure that the staff is satisfied by both the firm and the job. However, it is important to note that there is still room for improvement.

Theoretical Context

This study considered the principles and practices illustrated by two classical theories: experiential learning theory, adaptive and generative learning theory, and assimilation theory. According to experiential learning theory, employees learn through both transforming and grasping experiences, (Cherian & Jacob, 2013). The learning process is a cycle through which employees become progressively competitive. The cycle includes: concrete experience, abstract conceptualization, reflective observation and active experimentation.

On the other hand, adaptive and generative theory pays close attention to mental models, (Lancaster et al, 2013). One of the important principles of this theory is the differentiation of generative and adaptive learning. Generative learning takes place when an organization needs to adopt new strategies, new product lines, new processes or come with radical new ideas. It requires exploration of unused methods of operations. Adaptive learning focuses on the foundation of existing knowledge and improving it through a new way of thinking. This type of learning leads to continuous organizational growth. For instance, if an employee understands the gaps between organization’s products quality, he or she can be able to generate ideas that can lead to improvement.

Diagnosis of the Issues

In an attempt to find out the issues that McDonald’s is facing, the researcher conducted interviews whose principal respondents were assistant managers as well as the hourly paid staff. The interview was conducted in given three restaurants whereby the researcher ensured the respondents that the data collected would only be used for this study and their identity would not be disclosed. When the interviewer asked the hourly paid employees if learning and training are vital from organization’s point of view, 30% claimed that it was important, 12% said that it was not crucial while 50% were not sure if it was considered as a critical operation in the organization. When the same employees were asked if the company has put learning and development strategies in place, 80% said that the firm has such strategies in place while 20% said that they were not sure. The next question for the hourly paid staff was asked about the factors that make learning and development significant other than increasing the organizations’ profits, and they did not suggest any new reasons, which showed that they did find other factors to be essential or lack of interest. 54% of the same group of staff felt that learning and development promoted change while only 20% suggested that continuous learning and development is an essential factor with respect overall organizational development.

The hourly paid employees were also asked about McDonald’s commitment towards being a learning organization, whereby 80% said that the company is committed while 20% suggested that the firm is lacking in terms of being a learning organization. In another question, the group was required to state whether the organization believes in continuous employee improvement and 24% of the respondents suggested that the company is committed while 44% of the respondents said that organization is not moving towards continuous employee development. The remaining 32% were not sure of whether the organization is committed towards their continuous development. In another question, the hourly paid employees were asked if they were aware of the learning and development process in the firm and 100% of the respondents said that they were aware. Their next question was on whether they were happy about the learning and development process and 60% said that they were happy while 40% said that they were not. The interviewer needed to know about the fairness of the program from the hourly paid respondents, and the answers received were very similar to the ones in the above question. When the same employees were asked about the method that the company uses to evaluate training, 60% said that the company uses observation checklist (OCL) while 40% suggested that it uses performance appraisal. The last question that the hourly paid employees were required to answer was on the number of times that appraisal conducted in a year, whereby 90% said that it is performed twice while 10% said that it is done once in a year. None of the respondents chose “more than twice” and “never” as their answer to the above question.

When assistant managers were asked about their opinion concerning learning and development, most of them said that it is the process of changing a firm and its workforce. Their response focused mainly on achieving a competitive advantage although they also talked about unplanned learning and development. When asked whether they consider learning and development as an essential aspect, all of them said that it is significant for the realization of profits and competitive advantage. They also suggested that learning and development improve employees’ skills-sets, which are very important for the company’s development. The assistant managers were also required to answer how top management influences change in the company, where most of them said that when the top management changes its vision, the staff has to deal with it, whereby in most cases it leads to organizational development. In addition, the assistant managers said that organizational development is all about planned processes and programs which lead to change in organizational culture.

Similarly, when they were asked to state reasons why learning and development are essential, they said that it has a direct impact on the quality of work, employees’ effectiveness as well as productivity. When the interviewer asked about the importance placed on learning and development by the organization, they all stated that the company always encourage and support it. When asked about self-learning and team-based learning, most of them said they prefer the latter to the former. They also suggested that learning and development should be in fix duration, but with a level of flexibility since whenever there is a new process, new products or adoption of new technology, then the firm should conduct training. When asked about their views on the current organization’s learning and development process, most of them said that they were happy with it and believed that it yielded the best results. They said that an annual audit is conducted to find out whether the process is beneficial or not and the company also checks on what has been achieved after every training and development program. However, some of the assistant managers said that the process needs more improvement, with one of them suggesting that the whole process should be changed.

When asked about the different learning and development processes, the assistant managers said the organization conducts different learning and development processes, with the first one being the induction process that every new employee goes through. When the employees start working, they go through ongoing training in which they learn new skills which enables them to perform their duties more adequately. The staff also undergo management training; through which they learn how to manage their respective teams as well as other employees around them. The final question was on the methods that the organization uses to evaluate its learning and development programs, whereby all the respondents said that the organization uses observation checklists (OCL) and performance appraisal.


This study focused on the implementation of learning and development strategies in McDonald’s. This is an important topic since it helps in ensuring that employees get the required skills-sets which leads to a competitive advantage, which translates into organizational profitability and growth. Both planned and unplanned learning and development are essential in achieving and maintaining organizational productivity. The study found out that from the employees’ point of view, learning and development refers to the process leads to both organizational and employees change, which has a direct positive impact on organizational culture. The interviews helped the researcher to observe the fact that learning and development improve quality, makes the workforce more effective, leads to job satisfaction, and enforces empowerment along with developing a culture of continuous learning among the employees.

In an attempt to find out whether the McDonald’s believes in and implements learning and development, the researcher found out the following: the firm believes in organizational learning and conducts various types of training; the senior staff understands the need for learning and development while the junior staff does not have adequate knowledge on the need and the benefits of learning and development; employees believe that the company is committed to becoming a learning organization; although the company is committed towards continuous learning improvement, the junior staff does not deduce this from the current learning and development programs; most employees are happy with the current learning and development process while other are not and suggests that it should be changed; and the company uses both observation check list (OCL) and performance appraisal to evaluate learning and development.

Recommendations for Planning and Implementing any Change

This study found out a considerable lack of information among the junior staff and the human resource department. Most hourly paid employees were not aware of the learning and development strategies that are embraced by the organization, as well as the benefits that it accrues. It is therefore essential for the organization to promote awareness about this issue. If the employees have adequate information on the benefits of learning and development as well as the strategies that are embraced concerning it, they are likely to be more positive about the process and be willing to learn continuously. The learning and development process should be conducted in a way that allows the junior staff to reduce the need for continuous learning. For the company to continue improving its profits and maintain a competitive advantage, it is imperative to carry all the employees along in decision making, especially in matters that have to do with learning and development.

Another important issue is on the fairness of the learning and development process. Some of the employees confirmed that they were happy with the process while some suggested the need for the process to be changed. The organization should research to find out why some of its staff is not happy with the learning and development process and take decisive measures that are aimed at ensuring that all workers are pleased with the process. Some of the employees stated that training evaluation takes place twice in a year while the others claimed that it takes place once in a year. It is essential for workers to know when and how they are evaluated. This study, therefore, suggests that McDonald’s should make it clear to its employees on the number of times that learning is evaluated in the firm. Understanding the evaluation process will help the employees in planning their personal goals pertaining to learning, which helps in the realization of the team’s learning objectives.

Part B: Training Intervention Report

Main Contextual Influences that Will Shape the Leadership Development Program Design

The researcher used PEST (ELI) as a technique for analyzing the business environment. According to Dhar (2015), this trends analysis tool has proved significant in examining the factors that influence business processes over the past twenty years. The contextual factors that are likely to shape the program are of the following levels: Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal and Industry.

Political Factors

The performance and options available for the program will be shaped by the following factors: laws that pertain to employment and other social factors, taxation polities, the anticipated changes in the political environment, regulation and deregulation trends, and political stability.

Economic Factors

The level of external competition that the firm is experiencing as well as the financial resources available to the economy will also determine the effectiveness of the program. Other economic factors include labor costs, the impact of globalization, current and projected economic growth, the stage of the business cycle, and prevailing and projected inflation and interest rates.

Sociological Trends

The trends in the way people feel, think, interact and will have a significant effect on the program. Such factors include lifestyle choices and attitudes, public opinions, press attitudes, social taboos, population growth rate and age profile, social mobility, education, job market attitudes, employment, and population health.

Technological Innovations

The new approaches that are applied in tackling both old and new problems which do not necessarily include technical equipment have also been put into consideration. They include the following factors: the influence of current technologies, technology transfer, research and development activities, and the influence of the internet and reduced communication costs.

Ecological Factors

The organization is part of a wider ecological system with which it interacts with; hence raising the need for the researcher to consider the following factors: transportation, pollution, parking, waste management, water quality, and land use.

Legislative Requirements

Both secondary and primary legislation in relation to Health Bills will shape the program, for instance, direct payments, employee’s contracts rights, employment laws, and patient’s rights.

Industrial Factors

The attractiveness of the electronic industry of which the firm is part of will also shape the program. This puts the following factors into consideration: business efficiency, purchasing strategies, liaising with users, liaison, service selection, demand, delivery times, products and components parts which will depend on both price and quality.

The Learning Objectives of the Program

1. Provide cost-effective, quality training designed to have a positive impact on organizational and individual employee’s performance.

2. Create, foster and promote a business environment that is characterized by development, growth opportunities for the workforce and diversity.

3. Equip managers with the ability to perform various customer needs analysis using the new company software.

4. Introduce the use of the new tracking software.

5. Provide leaders excellent safety procedure skills in handling sensitive computer and electronic products and services.

6. Provide managers with the skills that are required for effective response to customer needs and future characteristics of demand.

7. Sensitize managers on the need to observe ethics when handling customer requests, especially customer complaints.

8. Come up with new methods of responding to the current decline in markets that is as a result of the global recession.

A Framework for the Design and Delivery of the Program

The program will take place according to the following details:

Learning Styles

The program will use a widely acceptable learning style model. People have a preference for different styles depending on the type information being delivered, hence classifying the managers into learning styles may not be the best method of determining a learning style. The learning style is supposed to put into consideration the personality and aptitude as key characteristics when learning. The training program will adopt diverse learning styles which will be dependent on the kind of information that the managers will be required to process. This will ensure that the training benefits the following three types of learners: the visual learner, the auditory learner, and the kinesthetic learner, (Saks & Burke, 2012).

The visual learner usually has a definite “picture” of what is being taught. In most cases, such learners make phrases such as “I can see what you are talking about.” The use of pictures and graphics will, therefore, be implemented. The auditory learner gains a lot through sound. Lectures will, therefore, be given as well as explanations on various issues, (Amin et al, 2013). Finally, the kinesthetic learner normally learns through developing feelings towards a situation or an experience. Such a learner prefers learning through practical sessions rather than listening. Such a learner often makes comments such as “this feels right.” Practical sessions will, therefore, be included during the training program, whereby the managers will be required to use different software to perform tasks and also relate with customers.

Delivery Mode

It is important to consider the type of an audience as well as the budget when deciding on the delivery mode, (Asfaw et al, 2015). On the job coaching will be conducted by the trainers, whereby they will be required to join the managers in their respective points of duty, examine their strengths and weaknesses, and advise them on best practices. On-the-job coaching will be conducted for two days, which will play a significant role in realizing the safety training objective. In addition, the trainer will be required to mentor group and maintain a long-term relationship with them so that the group can always feel free to contact them in future whenever the need arises. Finally, in-class training will take place on the company’s premises for three days, whereby the trainers will have a chance to lecture and have a one-on-one experience with the group.


The leadership development manager put into consideration the direct costs, indirect costs and the cost of other materials that will be consumed during the training program. The in-class training will be conducted in three hours for three days while on-the-job coaching will take place for two days throughout the working hours. The indirect cost of managers not being involved in their duties during the in-class training is less than the positive impact that the training process will have on productivity. The direct costs will be minimized through the use of the company’s resources, for instance, the company already owns projectors and computers which will be used during the training. The venue will be on the company’s premises hence cutting down on cost. Since the company has been holding a series of training programs for its employees at different levels, it has a memorandum of understanding with a training company which is responsible for providing facilitators at a lower cost. The researcher will secure accommodation for the trainers in a nearby restaurant, whereby they will be picked by one of the company’s drivers using the company’s vehicle on a daily basis.


Estimated Cost (US Dollars)

3 trainers working at 50 dollars each per day for the in-class training


Accommodation for the in-class trainers


7 trainers for on-the-job-coaching working at 50 dollars per day


Accommodation for the on-the-job-coaching trainers


Mentorship retainers for the 7 on-the-job coaching trainers working at 200 dollars per month for 6 months








Delivery Style

The trainers will use different delivery styles due to the different learning styles that are expected to be preferred by managers. In addition, the delivery style will also depend on the information. PowerPoint, group discussions, role plays, podcasts, and videos will be used. This will ensure that the training program maintains its formal nature while being interactive and interesting. Since the audience will be from various departments, the trainers will be required to use examples that are characterized by diversity.

Content Development

This is one of the most critical parts of the training design since it will determine the input of the training program, (Elnaga & Imran, 2013). The trainers will be presented with the objectives of the training program at least two months before the actual training days for them to come up with the content. The leadership development manager will also inform the trainers about the current business stage of the organization, the current market experiences, the existing and newly adopted technologies, the type of audience and the prevailing internal and external factors that affect the organization. The manager will also be available to answer any questions that the trainers might be having as they prepare for the program. The trainers will be required to present their content to the leadership development manager three weeks before the actual training program for accountability reasons and quality examinations. The manager will have a contingency plan for the content development in place, whereby some of the top managers will be asked to replace any trainer who fails to deliver quality content.


As stated earlier, the three delivery modes will require different timelines to be delivered. The in-class training will be the first one to take place, which will run for three days. The on-the-job coaching will follow for two days, while the mentorship program will be conducted over a period of six months. The in-class training will take place for three hours daily while the on-the-job- coaching will take place throughout the working hours. The mentorship program will require a monthly meeting between the mentors and the mentees at a venue of choice, which should take at least 30 minutes. The mentors will be required to present a report of their progress on every second Thursday of the month to the leadership development manager.


The leadership development manager will use the company’s email to inform the senior middle managers about the training. Since most managers use Mondays and Fridays catch up and finish up the duties of the week, the training will take place on any other day other than these two days. Then managers will be informed on the actual days of training at least two weeks prior to allow them to plan their activities and make room for the training.

Evaluation Strategy

According to Grohmann & Kauffeld (2013), the only way in which a company can find out if its training objectives were achieved after training is through measuring its effectiveness. The information gained through evaluation helps management to make decisions pertaining the need for other trainings and also provide significant information to be considered during future training programs. The trainers will be at liberty to ask the participants to take formal or informal surveys which will help them in evaluating the effectiveness of their delivery. According to Salas et al. (2012), the best way a trainer can evaluate his or her delivery techniques is during the delivery, because it this point he or she has the chance to adopt a new strategy if need be, and achieve the required results. The trainers will, therefore, be required to assess their work during delivery and after delivery.

In addition, this training program will also adopt the Kirkpatrick model of evaluating the effectiveness of training. This model was developed in the 1950s and has the following four levels (Dipboye & Colella, 2013): reaction, learning, behavior, and results.


This refers to how the trainers react to the training program, (Shaheen et al, 2013). The level’s evaluation will take place during and after training. The trainers will be required to observe the reactions of the managers during the training and respond accordingly. They can also ask the managers whether they understand as the training goes one. One of the best methods of capturing the trainees’ reaction is by requiring them to answer a questionnaire by the end of the training, (Cresswell & Sheikh, 2013). The leadership development manager will come up with a questionnaire that will be presented to the managers after the in-class and on-the-job coaching sessions. The same questionnaire will also be presented by the end of the six-months mentorship program.


The learning level entails finding out the extent to which the participants’ knowledge and skills were improved. The manager’s expectations of the influence that they will be expecting from the program will be recorded before the start of the learning program. They will then be required to state whether the program had their expected impact on knowledge and skills by the end of the program. In addition, the human resource department will examine the changes in performance of the senior middle managers after the training program and compare it with their previous records.


It is essential to find out whether employees’ behavior changes after the training. Evaluation of behavioral change will be the responsibility of the national human resource manager. This is because he has information on all employees’ behaviors and can easily identify a positive change after the training. The national human resource manager will be required to present a report on the change of behavior to the leadership development manager one month after the training, indicating each participa

January 19, 2024
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