Bridging the generation gap is the key to a happier workforce


·  New analysis shows multigenerational working enhances McDonald’s business performance, with employees up to 10% happier and improved customer satisfaction

·  Census of 5,000 people reveals working with people of different ages is a top priority, especially for the youngest and oldest generations.

New research released today by McDonald’s UK reveals the positive impact a multigenerational workforce can deliver, as 16-year-olds born in the year 2000 enter the workforce for the first time this summer.  

As one of the largest employers in the UK, McDonald’s brought together statisticians, researchers and its own research and insights team to understand the value to its restaurant teams and to its customers of having a workforce that spans more than seven decades.

In a survey of over 32,000 of McDonald’s own UK employees, analysed by independent statisticians, people who work with a cross-section of ages registered a 10% increase in happiness levels compared to those who work with their peer group[i].

The mutual benefits of a broad range of age groups working side-by-side is also recognised by customers.  Out of a sample of 1,000 McDonald’s customers, an overwhelming majority (84%) like to see a mix of ages in the restaurant team and most (60%) expect better service as a result. Customers are not disappointed, and of those who see a difference the majority do prefer the experience with just under half (44%) saying it created a good atmosphere in the restaurant[ii].

To explore attitudes among potential future employees, McDonald’s UK commissioned a census of 5,000 people representing each of the five working generations.  It revealed that adults of all ages are united in wanting to be part of a multigenerational workforce[iii]:

·  The opportunity to work with people of different ages was the top priority for more than half of all respondents (58%)

·  This factor was important for older people born between 1900 and 1964 (67%), as well as 16-year olds (57%)

·  70% of people across the generations expect to work with people who have different life experiences and views of the world.

McDonald’s employs a workforce of over 110,000 people in the UK, – from today’s 16-year-olds eligible for part-time work as schools and colleges closed for the summer, through to McDonald’s eldest employee, 91-year-old Bill Dudley.

Today, McDonald’s is half way through its biggest ever restaurant refurbishment programme, which will place more people in front of the counter than ever before.  As part of the multi-million pound investment, more crew will greet customers at the front of house to help people order from digital touch-screen kiosks and create an even more welcoming and enjoyable experience.  The business recently announced plans to create over 5,000 new jobs by the end of 2017. 

Claire Hall, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK, said: “This summer marks an important milestone in the workplace as people born in the year 2000 take up part-time roles for the first time.  Yet despite growing numbers of older and younger workers, the value of a multigenerational workforce to business is little understood. 

“People join McDonald’s for different reasons but what they want from their jobs is the same: a flexible, fun working environment and to meet and learn from others.  The skills we look for such as teamwork, time management and good communication aren’t the prerequisite of any particular age group and appeal to people from every walk of life. 

“As these insights show, teams that bring together a mix of people of different ages and at different life stages are fundamental to creating a happy and motivated workplace and to delivering a great customer experience.  The age range of our people at McDonald’s now spans an incredible 75 years.  Diverse and committed restaurant teams will remain at the heart of our business and I hope other employers will recognise the benefits.”

McDonald’s employee Katie Turney, a 20-year-old student, said: “I work part time at McDonald’s during my holidays around studying Veterinary Medicine. At the moment it’s really useful that I can balance my studies whilst continuing my work experience while adding to my savings. I love working with different generations; people aren’t bothered at all when being coached by younger people and I’ve learnt so much from some older colleagues about more practical things like personal finance.”

Kenneth Clarke, a grandfather of 74 and part-time McDonald’s employee, said: “I really enjoy working at McDonald’s and have done for the eight years I have been there. My favourite part about the job is working with all the young people and interacting with the lovely customers. They keep me young and give me a good laugh.”

McDonald's Bridging the Generation Gap exec summary

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