After discussions with his employees, Daan Schoute, Restaurant Manager of McDonald’s discovered that a change was needed in the culture within his restaurant. The Restaurant Manager therefore asked employees from all levels of the company what the house rules regarding manners should be. This helped the company move towards a working environment where everyone feels safe and treats each other with respect. McDonald’s now uses this approach in branches across the country. McDonald’s does so from the vision of being a good employer to provide a Safe, Respectful & Inclusive work environment for all its employees. In this post, McDonald’s shares some key insights with Amsterdam – Diverse & Inclusive.

Because Daan involved everyone personally in the thought process, some painful issues surfaced. “For example, it turned out that people sometimes felt excluded,” he says. “The working climate was not bad, but there is always room for improvement.”

Why is a good working atmosphere so important?

Our employees are here for an average of six hours in a day. It’s a waste to spend those hours reluctantly! Besides: happy employees influence good cooperation, atmosphere and guest appreciation. The problem with codes of conduct is that they are often unknown or untraceable among staff. Also, if the code of conduct is known, the language used is often so cumbersome that little concrete behaviour can follow from it. McDonald’s solution? Ask your staff and speak their language. How best to do that, McDonald’s shares three lessons below.

1. Involve the team in drafting the code of conduct.
“The more people feel ‘ownership’ of it, the better acting on the house rules will come into its own during work, was the thought. At McDonald’s, an action team with employees from different functions worked together to create a first version of the code of conduct, and then shared it with all colleagues. Although as a management team we thought it was all clear, ambiguities and discussions still arose. That’s great, of course, because it made us see that it really could be a lot more concrete.” “It works so well because it was thought up by employees themselves,” says Schoute. “Then it is accepted much faster than if it was imposed by the management team.”

2. Make the code of conduct concrete by avoiding cumbersome language and giving examples.
For example – the original first line read:
Always contribute to a pleasant working atmosphere.

To this was added after the first round of feedback:
Treat your colleagues and guests as you would like to be treated yourself. If you need something from another person, ask (“Do you want…?”) and seek confirmation whether the other person has understood. Do not use nicknames, whether positive or negative (such as Slome, Sweetheart or Moppie).

3. Engage new employees on time and ensure good findability.
After drafting these house rules, the action team members took several actions to bring the rules more emphatically to the attention of colleagues and managers. Among others, digitally, via e-mail or by hanging them up in the staff room. This immediately resulted in the conversation about them staying alive, which in itself was a first nice yield. Given the inflow and outflow of employees, it is important to quickly introduce new employees to the desired manners and expectations. So make it a regular part of onboarding, and make sure the codes of conduct are easy to find. One way McDonald’s does this is by giving every new employee a copy of the ‘Feel safe at work’ brochure and by offering all its employees various training courses in this area. You can also think about language lessons, so that language is not a barrier for employees to feel at home in the team. In this way, McDonald’s works with its employees to create a safe, respectful and inclusive working environment, so that job satisfaction is paramount for everyone.

Want to know more? Literally take a look behind the scenes and see how the McDonald’s code of conduct was created in this video!

McDonald’s participated in a pilot by MinSZW on creating a positive work climate. Read the whole report here.

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