Not bad for a 'McJob'

McDonald's calculates that low turnover – which currently averages 44 per cent of the firm's 1.6 million employees worldwide – saves about $10,000 (U.S.) in overhead per store; and that a seasoned crew and manager can add up to $100,000 to a store's annual sales.

The Toronto Star
May 26, 2008

Not bad for a 'McJob'
David Olive

Not bad for a 'McJob'
That's the slogan McDonald's Corp. is using in British recruitment ads, and may soon unveil in North America. Initial complaints by McDonald's to lexicographers that the term was unfairly derogatory met with public ridicule. McDonald's then had a brainwave: Why not make jobs at the fast-food chain more fulfilling?

So today McDonald's "crew members" (non-managers) are offered health insurance at group rates, the concern most often expressed when management asked how jobs could be improved.

(The size of the firm has enabled it to extract a significantly lower rate from its primary insurer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Assn., and why not – this is a low-risk population, both in the nature of the work and the younger-than-average age of employees.)

And there's more – specifically, flextime, educational training that includes English-language classes on breaks or after shifts, and, at company-owned stores, retirement accounts in which the company raises its contribution over time. The latter not only is effective in cutting costly turnover, but introduces McDonald's disproportionately teenage workforce early to the habit of saving. We're not talking altruism, of course. McDonald's calculates that low turnover – which currently averages 44 per cent of the firm's 1.6 million employees worldwide – saves about $10,000 (U.S.) in overhead per store; and that a seasoned crew and manager can add up to $100,000 to a store's annual sales.

So, our one big question: If McDonald's is compelled to revive the social contract that once bound loyal employees to employers, why have so many blue-chip firms spent the past few years diluting or eradicating employee benefits? Are we going to have to start ridiculing them into treating their employees better too?


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