McDonald's Employee Relations Strategy

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Effective employee relations strategy plays an important role in determining the survival, effectiveness, and competitiveness of business organizations (Campbell, Coff, & Kryscynski, 2012). McDonald’s Australia (Macca) has achieved outstanding results and awards due to its consistent demonstration of excellence in talent management. The corporation employs approximately 100,000 personnel across the McDonald’s Australia system (MacDonal’s Australia, 2018). The restaurant implements an employee relations strategy that is characterized by flexibility, training, and enjoyment (McDonald’s, 2017). The restaurant prioritizes investing in their human capital and improving employee engagement and performance. The corporation considers their people as the key to their business success. The company’s talent management mission is “to be recognised as an ‘Employer of Opportunity” (McDonald’s, 2018).

                  Macca’s employee relations strategy aligns with the company’s overall organizational strategic approach. McDonald’s has traditionally pursued two generic strategies – cost leadership and differentiation to remain competitive in the global restaurant niche. Through these generic strategies, the corporation strives to minimize costs in order to offer products at low prices and developing its restaurant business and products to make them distinct from competitors (Tanwar, 2013). Additionally, the company employs intensive growth strategies primarily to continually develop and expand its business (Tanwar, 2013). McDonald’s talent management strategy plays a key role in maintaining the corporation’s leadership in the global fast food restaurant industry. Particularly, ensuring flexibility, training and enjoyment ensures that employees are actively engaged and highly skilled both of which allow them to perform better and serve their customers in the way they know best. Empowering restaurant staff through autonomy and robust training and development programs also fosters innovation and excellent customer service both of which are key to McDonald’s market penetration, market development, and product development. Therefore, McDonald’s employee relations strategy contributes immensely to the overall success of the business.

b) Employee Relations Strategy

                  The ultimate people relations management strategy will maintain a proper balance between the unique needs and goals of employees and the organization. Most importantly, I would implement people-oriented strategies to keep employees actively engaged in their work. This strategy is particularly informed by a recent State of Employee Engagement in Australia survey that revealed that many employees in Australia workers would not recommend their current place of work to others (Connolly, 2015). The findings of the survey further showed that Australia workers are not only unwilling to do more than is expected but also probably searching for another job. These alarming statistics show that organizations are at an increasingly greater risk of losing highly skilled employees if they fail to implement effective employee relations strategies or policy.

                  The proposed strategy will promote open communication. For example, publication of a periodic newsletter with an anecdote of how employees can share ideas and perspective about handling a problem or reaching a better solution may help foster open communication. Fostering a culture of open communication is critical to maintaining harmonious relationships not only among employees but also between employees and managers. Furthermore, the policy will encourage collaboration and 360-degree feedback. It would stress that working as a team is not a competition, but a collective effort to accomplish assigned tasks or common goals easier, better and faster.  For example, Google Inc. fosters a culture of collaboration and creativity that has helped attract and retain stellar performers and succeed in the intensely competitive IT niche. For example, the corporation encourages “the iteration of ideas” mainly to address complex technical challenges (Alphabet, 2017).

                  Moreover, I would encourage both employees and managers to constantly seek feedback. Suggestion boxes and regular discussion forums are greater ways of soliciting worker’s input and opinions on addressing workplace issues. 360-degree feedback fosters organizational justice by challenging the management to foster a just and fair workplace (Karkoulian, Assaker, & Hallak, 2016). Lastly, the policy will stress the need to inspire and reward employees accordingly. Encouragement and inspiration motivate individuals to perform better, feel happier, and be more productively than criticism and punishment (Armstrong & Taylor, 2014). In addition to monetary rewards, fostering autonomy, assigning employees meaningful work, and recognizing “small wins” and assigning them challenging roles at interim points will help keep workers actively engaged and motivated to do more than expected.

c). Equal Opportunity and Anti-discrimination Objectives

                  Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination are central tenets of every employee relations policy. Every Australian employer is required by law to create and foster a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. The proposed employee relations strategy seeks to achieve the following objectives:

1. Adopt merit-based employee recruitment and selection. This approach will help ensure that both in-house candidates and prospective candidates have equal chances of employment.

2. Implement varied pay rewards system. Determining employee compensation based on how individual and team performance contributes towards the accomplishment of the strategic business goals and objectives of the organization will help ensure fair and equitable pay. This consideration will help to achieve gender pay equity by ensuring that male and female employees performing similar jobs earn the same salary and wages.

3. Create and promote a workplace free from any form of discrimination and discrimination. This objective will help protect minority groups such as women and people from indigenous communities from unlawful discrimination and harassment at the workplace.

4. Encourage every individual to report any incidences of discrimination and vilification in the workplace. This policy is intended to challenge employees to know that everyone must take responsibility for combating and preventing discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

5. Ensure every employee has equal access to training and development programs. This policy will help ensure that all employees have an equal employment opportunity, particularly career development.

6. Provide flexible working arrangements, 4 weeks paid annual leave, 10 days paid personal leave, and12-month unpaid parental leave. These national employment standards are meant to allow employees to balance work and social life. For example, parents or caregivers of a school-age child need flexible work arrangements to manage their busy work schedule and domestic responsibilities.

d). Managing Employee Disputes Using Risk Management Strategies

Workplace conflict is inevitable when people of different backgrounds and work styles work together. The risk management strategy I would consider to manage conflicts among employees is creating a workplace culture that precludes conflicts. To create such a culture, I would ensure strong staff relations by embracing diversity and encouraging respect for personal differences. Second, I would ensure clarity and consistency in workplace policies and communication and make the criteria for resolving employee conflicts as transparent as possible. Establishing clear policies, tasks and duties can help eliminate preventable disagreements. Third, I would ensure that all workers take responsibility for resolving conflicts. This tactic would ensure that both employees and managers are accountable for conflict resolution. For example, Google gives their employees discretion and autonomy to resolve their disagreements. Workers are encouraged to resolve disagreements directly with those involved (Google Open Source, n.d.). Lastly, I would encourage settling conflicts that employees cannot resolve among themselves in a quick, fair, sensitive, and transparent manner. Taking prompt action prevents minor conflicts from escalating into full-blown conflicts.

e). Possible Areas of Conflict

Skills deficits are one possible area of conflict. Lack of relevant skills may hinder employees from doing a better job and completing assigned tasks on time. Employers must train their employees regularly to equip them with up-to-date skills to enable them to perform their work effectively and efficiently. A scarcity of resources also breeds conflicts. For example, workers may fight over limited office space or equipment. To address this issue, I would provide employees with adequate resources (including information) and encourage them to share where there is scarcity. Furthermore, poor communication among workers may result in misunderstanding. For example, comments and remarks taken out of context may cause conflict. I would encourage employees to embrace open and clear communication to avert such misunderstanding.

Personality differences are another common area of conflict. For example, introverts may find it difficult working with extroverts. In such situations, I would encourage all employees – irrespective of their rank or hierarchy –to communicate with others respectfully, use inoffensive language, tolerate and accept differences among each other, and demonstrate fairness, trust, and respect for others irrespective of the status, tenure or position they hold in the organization. Lastly, lack of clear roles may breed disagreement. For example, asking a nonsupervisory employee in charge of leading others may result in resentment. I proper implementation of job description would help eliminate competing job duties.

Project Assessment Task Two

a) Key Points Included in Negotiating Awards, Agreements, and Contracts

The Fair Work Act 2009 stipulates minimum employment conditions for all Australian employees which all Australian employers must be aware and comply. In light of the regulations, the following essential points should be included to negotiate awards, agreements, and contracts in employee rights and obligations of employees:

1. Maximum working week of 38 hours plus reasonable additional hours (full-time).

2. Four-week paid annual leave

3. 10 days paid personal or carer’s leave

4. 12 months unpaid parental leave after 12 months of service

5. Community service leave, e.g. Jury Duty, voluntary emergency services

6. National and state public holidays

7. A minimum period of notice prior to termination for permanent employees

8. Flexible working arrangements e.g. accommodating employee’s responsibility as a parent or carer of a school age child.

9. Accrual of long service leave

10. Fair Work Information Statement at beginning of employment.

b) Terms and Conditions of McDonald’s Australia Employment

McDonald’s Australia has a new Employee Manual that provides comprehensive terms and conditions of employment. The manual provides useful information (job requirements, job functions, wage, and sexual harassment) to guide employees in the workplace. According to the McDonald’s terms and condition of employment, employees are expected to:

Ø Come to work on time, and on the correct scheduled days.

Ø Ensure properly grooming (clean uniform, hat, and nametag) and good personal hygiene

Ø Treat all customers and colleagues respectfully

Ø Adhere to all McDonald’s standards for preparing and serving food, and sanitation

Ø Buy any menu item for half price only during breaktime while on duty

Ø Call at least four hours before commencing one’s shift if one needs to call in.

Ø Master respective job  functions and responsibilities

Ø Receive their pay at least twice a month with no advance payment

Ø Be on probation for the first 180 days

Ø Both employees and applicants must be treated fairly and with regard to protected classes throughout employment practices

Ø Report and/or stop any form of discrimination, harassment and/or offensive behavior they suffer at work

Ø Use company equipment for company business-related purposes only

c) Training Opportunities   

McDonald’s Australia invests heavily in employee training to empower their employees to forge their career not only within the McDonald’s global network but also outside of it. For example, the firm makes huge investments ($40 million) each year on training and developing their crew members, restaurant managers, and corporate employees. For example, crew members are equipped with important skills such as working respectfully and cooperatively with their coworkers, upholding McDonald’s policies and procedures, market-oriented customer service and hospitality, and attention to details, among others (McDonald’s, 2017).

Macca’s huge investments in employee training and development explain why many employers look for candidates with “McDonald’s experience” when searching for new hires. The company attributes this recognition to their ability to “produce great calibre people, who have received world-class training and have had great experience taking on responsibility at McDonald’s” (McDonald’s, 2017). Crew members need to provide world class customer service, demonstrate excellent cleanliness and organizational skills, and show genuine care and regard for self and others. Restaurant managers need to knowledgeable in setting and achieving team goals, leading teams, delegating duties, and maintaining workplace and food safety. Robust training helps them to meet these needs.

d) Developing Organizational Policy and Procedures

Employee Recruitment

Consistent with Bagga and Srivastava (2014), the employee recruitment policy will primarily seek to identify “the right pool of talent for establishing the right candidates.” To achieve this, the recruitment team will select candidates against both job-specific criteria and organizational characteristics to achieve both "person–job" fit and "person–organisation" fit. The recruitment will prioritise filling key job positions that are required to accelerate business growth and success. The recruitment process will consider internal and external recruitment sources and methods to incorporate both in-house candidates and new hires. The team will involve employees to access excellent candidate referrals, assistance in reviewing resumes and qualifications of potential candidates and administering the interview to determine their potential "fit" within your company. Figure 1 provides an outline of the recruitment process. 

Figure 1: Employee Recruitment Process

Employee Retention

The ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees is a major source of competitive advantage (Festing & Schäfer, 2014). Paying employees better than average or competitors can help to attract and keep the best candidates. Also, rewarding top performers, ensuring a clear career path, and fostering good relationships between and managers or employer can enhance efforts to retain employees. Providing flexible work arrangements and growth opportunities can also help attract and retain greater talents.

Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is a reflection of the level of staff morale in the organization. Happy employees are extremely important especially in service firms like McDonald’s because they represent the business to the public. A rise in wage and benefits will be used to improve employee satisfaction. But to sustain the morale, I would implement a careful blend of other monetary and nonmonetary incentives. For example, Google provides comprehensive compensation strategy that includes financial planning services, retirement schemes, paid sick, vacation, and maternity or paternity leave, free meals, coaching, and a host of other personalized discretionary benefits. Furthermore, providing alternative work schedules such as flexible time or telecommuting can give employees more control and ease the stress associated with commuting. Lastly, encouraging social connections, breaking routines, and promoting good health through wellness programs will help improve staff morale and job satisfaction.

e) Induction Report for New Crew Members at McDonald’s Australia

This induction report is designed to introduce new crew members to McDonald’s Australia. The report provides McDonald’s strategic directions, policies, and procedures. New crew members should:

Ø Discuss employment issues using the Open Communication Policy: General Manager - Area supervisor/ HR Rep – Owner/Operator.

Ø Maintain cleanliness and neatness, come to work with uniform, hat, and nametag, and avoid extreme hair color, tattoos, or other fads.

Ø Enter and leave through the front doors and use fire exists during emergencies.

Ø Seek authorization from a manager to go behind the front counter

Ø Never open back door or side door to strangers during business hours

Ø Report any unusual incident to the manager

Ø Not carry illegal weapons (e.g. firearms) or substance (e.g. alcohol) to work

Ø McDonald’s property, or concealing such items on the premises

Ø Use personal protective equipment (PPE) and be properly trained in how to use it.

Ø Not wilfully or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for work health and safety at the workplace

Ø Not wilfully place others at risk or injure themselves.

Ø Buy any menu item for ½ price only during break time while on duty

Ø Notify the manager in writing at least 2 weeks in advance of the change of availability and 14 days for a call in.

Ø Call and speak to the Manager at least in the event of emergencies

Ø Work for at least 30 hours a week as full-time employment.

Ø From time to time, work on a shift when you are not scheduled. 

Ø Paid a minimum of 3 hours for these shifts

Ø Break for 30 minutes when working for 3 hours or more

Ø Work schedules are designed to fit personal needs but may be affected by one’s and others’ availability

Ø Communicate with colleagues and employees respectfully

Ø Use safe, appropriate, and legal online communication about McDonald’s, its clients, or products

Ø Report any incidences of discrimination and harassment at the workplace and tolerate no unlawful retaliation.

f) Use of Individual and Team development Plans

There are numerous reasons why individual and team development plans should be used in the workplace. These reasons include but are not limited to increase employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction; making work processes more efficient, boosting the capacity of employees and the organization to adopt new technologies and methods, increasing innovation in strategies and products, and reducing staff turnover (Noe et al., 2014). Effective performance management can provide useful information for increasing employee engagement, job satisfaction, motivation, organizational commitment, and performance as illustrated in Figure 2 below. Managers can leverage appraisal results to create clear and specific performance expectations for individuals and teams and implement mechanisms for expanding and improving the collective and individual capabilities and performance of its people (Gruman & Saks, 2011).

Source: (Gruman & Saks, 2011).

g) Evaluation and Review of Employee Relation Policies

Employee relations policies are evaluated when the current talent management strategy indicates a need for improvement. For example, poor or reduced staff performance may suggest a need to improve the current policies. Also, the policies can be reexamined to benchmark the company’s employee relations policies with new industry standards and procedures. For example, a firm may survey their local job market and take a hard look at how competitors compensate employees when considering improving rewards to attract and retain greater talents.

Moreover, changes in the regulatory framework may necessitate reviewing current policies. For example, adjustments in the national employment standards may force an organization to change review its policies to ensure compliance. Major factors involved may include the rights & obligations of employees as set out in contracts, agreements and relevant awards, the business strategic directions, mission and values of the organization, and the cost of the review process. Primary stakeholders who are directly affected by the new changes (e.g. employees, managers, executives, and customers) are included in the process.

Project Assessment Task 3

a) Early Intervention Process for Employee Disputes

            The first early intervention step is empowering all managers and employees to identify potential areas of conflicts and then prepare promptly to stop and examine the issue. Second, they should conduct an early assessment to determine if there is a chance for dialogue and resolution. Many small disagreements occur in the workplace every day and do not necessitate formal resolution, but they do call for some basic problem-solving skills. Early intervention is critical because ignoring a problem that arises will not solve the issue. But people can clear the air if they act immediately and calmly. Third, relevant information should be provided at the early stage to help address the issue. Small disagreements do arise when people misunderstand, misinterpret, and make inaccurate assumptions. If everyday dialogue fails to address the dispute, involved parties should consider informal negotiation and take time to discuss the matter privately. This strategy can allow them to calm tempers so that conflicting parties can examine the matter more objectively. The last early intervention is informal mediation which occurs when informal negotiation fails.

b) Procedures for Raising and Resolving Issues/Disputes

            As stated earlier, workplace disputes can adversely affect interpersonal relationships and organizational outcomes. When employees identify a potential or actual dispute, they should attempt to address them promptly. Serious disagreements should be reported to relevant authorities such as the HR manager or supervisor. Workers should also provide accurate and timely information and support to fast-track conflict management and resolution efforts. Individuals should participate in employee forums to deliberate and find solutions to a wide range of issues affecting them at the workplace. Effective implementation of these problem-solving processes hugely depends on active participation and support from all employees and managers. Therefore, every individual is strongly encouraged to provide necessary information and support to solve disputes in the workplace.

c) Conflict Management, Negotiation, and Dispute Resolution Training

Conflict management and dispute resolution describe those processes by which disputes, issues, and conflicts among employees are brought to an end. It is imperative for every organization to have a carefully designed conflict management and dispute resolution strategy or process to not only avoid unnecessary conflict but also prevent unavoidable conflict from escalating. Most importantly, organizations should create and communicate to all employees effective conflict management policies and procedures, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In negotiation, involved parties try to solve the dispute by themselves. In mediation, an independent person helps the concerned parties to reach a mutual agreement. In arbitration, the independent party has the discretion to not only determine how the disagreement is resolved but also impose a binding decision or order to this effect.

d) Job Role Award and Related Dispute Resolution Requirements

            The role of Crew Member is covered by the Restaurants, &c., Employees (State) Award. Particularly, this award applies to crew members because they are tasks with “waiting duties of food and/or beverages, including providing assistance in choosing the meal and wines by providing detailed information when required of each item listed on menus, taking customer orders, serving food and/or beverages, and receipt of monies, among other responsibilities. Jobholders work on a full-time, part-time or casual basis and are entitled to 28-days’ notice in event of changes. Upon employmenret, the employer is required to clarify the worker’s job classification, description, related duties, work schedules, and training required. Full-time workers are required to work for less than 38 hours a week and earn appropriate minimum wage, as well as mandatory benefits, including annual leave, parental leave, sick leave, personal/carers' leave, bereavement leave, work clothes and safety equipment, workplace safety, laundry allowance, and jury service, among others. In the event of a conflict, negotiation is widely used in this award. The worker notices the employer about the dispute and asks for a meeting to discuss the grievance and find an amicable solution. The dispute “must initially be dealt with as close to its source as possible, with graduated steps for further discussion and resolution at higher levels of authority.” Adequate time should be reserved to discuss and resolve the issue at higher levels of authority.

e) Use of Mediation, Conciliation, and Arbitration

            Conciliation is used in an organization to reconcile parties in a conflict. A third party oversees the dispute resolution process and tries to help the disagreeing parties to settle on terms. The role of the conciliator is limited to helping the parties to arrive at an agreement. Arbitration is similar to conciliation but the arbiter recommends how to resolve the grievance and makes a binding stance. Unlike in conciliation, the conflicting parties in arbitration lose control over the resolution of their grievances. Arbitration is recommended as the last resort for settling a dispute, where dialogue, negotiation, and mediation fail to help settle the disagreement.  Mediation is used when conciliation fails. Like arbitration, the impartial third party (mediator) tries to help the conflicting individuals or groups by recommending possible ways of settling the disagreement. However, the parties are not bound to accept what the mediator proposes.  The employer retains control of the conflict resolution and thus, may reject or accept what the mediator suggests.

Project Assessment Task 4

Part A: Promoting Workplace Diversity

Employee recruitment and selection process is a major area to positively promote workplace diversity. The HR department can streamline the company’s hiring practices to access a more diverse pool of candidates. Also, the firm capitalises on working arrangements to promote diversity. For example, the HR can create and promote more flexible work arrangements such as telecommuting and flextime to allow their employees to better balance their work and domestic duties. Employee training equally provides a good area for fostering an inclusive workplace. Particularly, the employer may incorporate diversity training to help their workers to better understand and appreciate the importance of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Furthermore, the company may adjust staff promotion procedures to accommodate candidates from different backgrounds in leadership positions. Another potential tactic is ensuring strict compliance with existing and new employment regulations such as EEO, AA and EEOC guidelines.

Sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, bullying, prejudices, and inaccurate stereotypes are common events can potentially inhibit an organization from meeting its diversity objectives. Also, lack of employee participation and resources may compromise the success of diversity efforts. These issues can be addressed by developing a streamlined diversity and inclusion policy that stresses tolerance of personal differences. Diversity training and discrimination and harassment free HR functions (hiring, promotion, compensation, appraisal, and termination) can facilitate the achievement of diversity goals. Lastly, active staff involvement and participation in the planning and implementation of diversity programs may foster their success.

Part B: Macca’s Employee Relations Strategy and Policies Report

McDonald’s Australia is covered and complies with the minimum pay rates and conditions of employment outlined in several industrial agreements and awards, including the Restaurants, &c., Employees (State) Award and the Fast Food Industry Award 2010. The corporation also adheres to national employment standards and equal employment requirements such as stipulated maximum working hours, leave (annual, personal/carer’s leave, parental, community service), Jury Duty, voluntary emergency services, public holidays, and flexible working arrangements. The firm has an elaborate grievance settlement policy. For example, employees are required to take responsibility of and report incidences of discriminatory and harassment in the workplace. The firm implements an investigation into alleged disputes and those found guilty may face disciplinary actions such as suspension or termination and tolerates no form of retaliation. Macca recognizes “the value and importance of providing an environment where everyone can expect to be treated with dignity and respect.” Macca’s strong commitment to promoting equal employment opportunity allows their restaurant personnel to enjoy “a harmonious work environment that is free from harassment, bullying and unlawful discrimination.”

Also, the corporation fosters diversity and inclusion in the workplace as evidenced in the statement “unlawful discrimination has no place in our business” (McDonald’s, 2018). Macca has a track record of employing people with disabilities and young employees. Furthermore, it applies a merit-based approach when dealing with their stakeholders (e.g. clients and suppliers) and its employment decisions. Making huge investments in employment practices such recruitment and selection, training and development of crew members and restaurant managers, performance appraisal, and promotion facilitates achievement of organizational strategic and operational objectives (Dussauge Laguna, 2011).

Part C: Employee Relations Strategy Case Study

My current organization implements a strategic approach to talent management. The HR strives to align HR and business strategies, which according to Bagga and Srivastava (2014), fosters “high-performance workplaces and human capital management.” Through strategic HR planning, the HR team regularly analyses the organization’s human capital needs in order to identify the need for and availability of talents. This strategy helps the restaurant to meet its objectives. Furthermore, the firm implements a robust recruitment and selection process that helps it to access a large but right pool of candidates, in turn, easing the establishment of the right candidates. Additionally, competency-based training is provided to equip employees with knowledge, skills, and abilities they require to do their work better. Lastly, strategic performance management and compensation and reward management systems are implemented to ensure that workers have relevant skills and earn competitive pay to perform better. This employee relations strategy results in a culture of high engagement, innovation, and performance.

I was involved in a mediation process in r heated argument over unclear roles at my workplace. Prior to assuming the role of a mediator, I was extremely worried about the possibility of the dispute flaring up. With the heated nature of the conflict, the outcome was sadly predictable: the disagreement would quickly escalate into a full-blown conflict. Nonetheless, I encourage the disagreeing coworkers to first calm down. This consideration proved effective as they stopped blaming one another and instead tried to analyse the root-cause of the problem objectively. Also, I tried my best to avoid being provoked into an emotional response especially when I was making recommendations for settling the dispute. By involving and collaborating with each party, I managed to calm the situation and help them find the best way to share the equipment.

Inclusion and diversity are made at my workplace in several ways. For example, the management encourages open communication, constructive feedback, collaboration among employees and between junior staff and senio

October 24, 2023


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