McDonald’s Research Says 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 as well as improved levels of customer satisfaction

Pictured is Olivia Holmes, Jennifer Holmes, McDonald's Business Manager Coleraine and Rea Moore

Pictured is Olivia Holmes, Jennifer Holmes, McDonald’s Business Manager Coleraine and Rea Moore

A Census of 5,000 people reveals working with people of different ages is a top priority, especially for the youngest and oldest generations. In Northern Ireland over 50% of people value having an older role model at work.

New research released today by McDonald’s 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.

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

· Nearly 70% of respondents are keen to work with people who have different life experiences

· The opportunity to work with people of different ages was a key priority for 65% of people born before 1964 compared to 56% of those born after 1980

· 52% of respondents born between 1965-1979 would value having an older mentor at work, compared to 38% of those in Generation Y (born between 1980-2000)

· Mutually, 100% of respondents aged 71 or above and 78% of people born between 1946-1964 enjoy the opportunity to coach younger colleagues

Today, as this study is published, McDonald’s is calling for all businesses to take a multi-generational approach to recruitment.

71 year old customer care assistant Rea Moore, is just one of the McDonald’s employees benefitting from a multi-generational workforce. She has been working at McDonald’s in Coleraine for six years, and is familiar face across the business. Working at McDonald’s has become a true family affair for Rea with her daughter, granddaughter and grandson also working in the restaurant.

Rea said: “My daughter recommended McDonald’s as a place to work for me, and I have never looked back. I’ve never been one to just sit around doing nothing all day, so this is the perfect job to keep me out and about and meet lots of new people. When I started McDonald’s, I was impressed at how all the staff take such pride in their work. The younger employees look up to me, and they definitely help keep me young! It’s lovely to be able to work so closely with some of my family and the rest come to visit when they can.”

Equally, the value of a multi-generational workforce is recognised by customers and makes a difference to their restaurant experience, with 40% having a better experience when they are served by a team spanning the generations. When asked about the difference it makes, customers report a friendlier and more cohesive crew (47%) and a better atmosphere in the restaurant (44%).

Bruce Bailie, franchisee for the Coleraine restaurant said: “Here at McDonald’s, we pride ourselves on employing a great range of people who can all offer us a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as a fresh perspective. Everyone from the staff members to the customers can benefit from working with people of all ages and my teams are always helping each other out. Rea is a highly valued member of the team, and is very popular with her fellow crew members and regular customers. I am thrilled to have an employee like Rea working in one of my restaurants and admire her dedication and the positive effect she has on everyone.”

Claire Hall, Chief People Officer, McDonald’s UK, said: “This summer marks an important milestone in the workplace as young 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.”

About the Author

Abby Williams
Belfast based author/writer specialising in entertainment, mental health and human interest.