McDonald's Redefines McJob

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McJob What do you think of when you hear the term "McJob?" Maybe a part-time, fast food-slinging position for first-time workers, at the bottom of the food chain, that pays next to nothing? The term actually made Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary in 2003, where it was defined as, "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement."

To say that McDonald's, the mother of the term, was not pleased, would be an understatement. But instead of badgering the dictionary icon to change it, corporate officials decided to make a change from within, and see what they could do about the perception of working at McDonald's.

They sent out a survey to most of their 1.6 million employees asking them if they liked their jobs and what they enjoyed most about them. They found out that 80 percent of their employees enjoyed their work, but the perceived public perception of those jobs was only 40 percent positive. "It was incredibly clear that our employees like their gig," Mike Balaka, McDonald's director of Global HR Design, told SmartBrief contributing editor Robert Jones.

Employees mentioned three things again and again: They loved their co-workers and the company culture, they appreciated the variety of work options available; and they liked the fact that there was plenty of room for growth and promotion. McDonald's boiled this down to "Three Fs": friends, flexibility and future.

McDonald's has made a concerted effort to get that message out both to the public and to employees, and it seems to be working. Turnover rates have dropped and business is up, although most of the latter should probably be attributed to the fact that during the recession, more people have been choosing less expensive options (such as fast food) when they eat out. Still, in more than 40 countries around the world, McDonald's has been named one of the "Best Place to Work," since the Three Fs were launched.

If only ealtors could be as savvy about redefining the term "McMansion."

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