History of McDonald’s

McDonald’s with about 30.000 restaurants in 121 countries; was founded in 1948 at San Bernardino, USA. Its business goals are satisfied employees, more satisfied guests and a better economy. They consider employees as their main asset and accordingly, have undertaken human resource programs and practices called the “People Promise”.  Their success was due to quality, quick service, cleanliness and value for money. In 1997, McDonald’s divided its HR into three groups: the Service Center, HR Business Partners and the HR Design Center.

The HR Design Center employs HR experts who develop, test and implement systems applicable to employees’ tools, which are at the forefront of research and which are designed to improve overall business results. The Measurement and Organizational Effectiveness group deals with employee commitment surveys in order to standardize relevant data, to study practices and approaches that affect turnover, productivity, customer satisfaction, sales and profitability.

I-O psychologists have played a critical role in Leadership Assessment and Development, which deals with the executive succession planning process, senior management feedback and coaching and other senior leadership development programs. Implementing competency-based people systems, McDonald’s has realized intellectual capital by helping each person deliver business results.

This is the People Promise initiative, which identifies metrics that relate to the success of this key strategy. In addition to conducting job analyses and test validation studies, I – O psychologists also construct and assess methodologies appropriate for capturing critical factors that measure overall business success. “I-O psychologists at McDonald’s are now, in a position to enact a key role in defining the landscape, identifying the key signposts and measuring how far an organization has gone to reach its overall goals” (Matt Barney, July 2001).

McDonald’s attaches great importance to imparting knowledge about the benefits of a balanced diet and active lifestyle not only to its customers but also to its employees. Recently, Peter Beresford, CEO of the UK wing of McDonald’s, endeavor has been to improve communications. He has initiated a number of pioneering measures like ‘Ask Peter’, a direct e-mail, ‘Town Halls’, a monthly live online event where board members answer questions from staff, and the MDUK staff magazine. The employees have welcomed these changes whole heartedly (HR Challenges. 6th September 2005).


  1. HR challenges … I’m lovin’ it., 6th September 2005. Retrieved 19th April 2006, http://www.personneltoday.com/Articles/2005/09/06/31465/HR+challenges+I’m+lovin’+it.htm
  2. Matt Barney, Macro, Meso, Micro: McDonald’s, Retrieved April 17, 2006 from http://siop.org/tip/backissues/tipjul01/17barney.htm


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