"The key thing for McDonald's is talking about fun, because we are a fun-loving brand," says Randy Lai, managing director of McDonald's Hong Kong. "I believe this is one of the reasons why we [are] one of the winners, because we are not only providing a competitive package to our employees, we also provide them with a fun-loving environment, an opportunity to learn and grow, plus a real chance to develop a real career - a great career - at McDonald's."Lai says the company's recipe for strengthening employee engagement in the notoriously high-turnover food and beverage industry is based on three elements: creating a fun environment, embracing diversity and offering career growth opportunities.
The fun environment is a key differentiator for the company, says Lai. "If we don't have a happy group of restaurant people, how can we deliver a happy experience to our customers? So it is always our belief not only to make our customers happy, but also to make our people happy and make them feel like we are working together as a family, and we support each other with respect and care. This is very unique compared with other companies."
Activities organised around this concept include a very popular singing contest inspired by hit-show
About 80 per cent of McDonald's employees are from Generation Y - those born in the late 80s and early 90s. In fact, many are still at school. According to Lai, the young staff want flexible working hours and are easily bored. However, McDonald's job rotation policy makes them feel like they can learn something new every day, she adds.
Keeping this age group with the company is particularly difficult, adds Vincent Tam, general counsel and senior director of people resources.
"One of the biggest reasons why Gen Y people leave their jobs is because they don't connect with people in the company," he says. "We play right into it because we're a company that's fun and we want people to have connections with each other in the restaurant. If you see the crew working, you can feel the energy and see the fun that they're having," Tam adds.
"Based on the demograp