McDonald’s explains how it works hard to ensure that new staff quickly realise the opportunities for career progression and personal development on offer

There may be a may be a stereotype attached to fast food chain employees, but McDonald’s has long been combating this by leading national best practice in staff training.

“Our people are an absolute priority and fundamental to our success,” says Jez Langhorn, vice president people, McDonald’s UK.

There is considerable pride attached to its work.

“McDonald’s has been recognised by The Great Place to Work Institute as one of the top 50 best workplaces in the UK from 2007-2012 and was one of only five organisations with more than 10,000 employees to be included,” he adds.

To witness this in action, you only have to flick through the employee prospectus that the company publishes. More like a university brochure than a high street information manual, it explains the careers and qualifications available, profiles two restaurants and outlines the ethos and atmosphere that the company strives to maintain.

Lessons from McDonald’s

Offer recognised qualifications

“We offer all our employees the chance to gain nationally-recognised qualifications and build their future careers – whether with us or in roles outside of the company,” says Mr Langhorn. More than 53,000 of the company’s 91,000 staff members have taken advantage of this, with qualifications ranging from adult certificates in maths and English to Level 3 Diplomas in Shift Management and a Foundation Degree in Managing Business Operations.

Provide development opportunities

“It is important for the business to retain and develop talent by providing career progression opportunities,” says Mr Langhorn. This includes internal opportunities to rise the company’s hierarchy. “Ninety per cent of our restaurant managers started off as hourly-paid crew members and more than half of our first-line managers have progressed as a result of completing an apprenticeship with us,” he says. “An apprenticeship at McDonald’s takes a year to complete and the average tenure for a McDonald’s restaurant manager is 15 years.” This highlights the long-term advantage of being a good employer.


McDonald’s invests over £43m in training each year, which works out at almost £500 per year per employee. It’s a clear sign how important good training is to the company. Like convenience store new starters there’s much to learn about the business and the industry and the company makes sure staff are fully assisted for weeks after their appointment. “New starters are trained on the job by their peers under the supervision of a crew trainer for an average of two to four weeks. Thereafter, training and performance reviews are carried out on an ongoing basis with regular opportunities for development,” says Mr Langhorn.