Articles by TAFEP.sg
In McDonald’s Singapore, a series of operational and training changes were incorporated to cater to the needs of mature workers. These included changes to the orientation program and redesigning of training materials for their staff.
Currently, about 50 percent of McDonald’s workforce in Singapore comprise of housewives and older workers, fondly known to the other employees as ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’.
McDonald’s sees the advantages of employing mature workers. Older workers offer valuable advice and guide younger crew in their work and other activities. They also tend to stay for a longer period of time, contributing to a lower staff turnover rate.
Most of the mature workers serve as mentors for the younger ones. Together with other employees, these ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ form a vital part of the workforce and help create a warm and ‘family’ atmosphere in the restaurants.
Two key adjustments were made to ensure an operations-friendly environment for mature workers at McDonald’s.
1. Visuals and graphics to kitchen’s food station
Previous training aids were text-heavy, and mostly in English. These training aids were revised to include more visuals and graphics to aid training of mature workers.
2. Cash Registers / Hand Held Order taker (PDA)
Existing cash registers were upgraded to touch-screen models, where each menu item is represented visually. This eliminated the need for mature employees to squint to read the tiny text on the registers. It also made it easier for employees to enter a customer’s orders, ensuring faster service to the customers.
In order to cater to the needs of its female employees, McDonald’s also made available flexible work options such as part-time work, and ensuring that employees are able to work in a restaurant close to their homes.
The quick service industry leader also embarked on a “women referring women” programme. This programme accounted for 40 percent of total new hires in 2007, a strong testament that employees are proud and feel valued working at McDonald’s.
McDonald’s also works with NTUC and Community Development Councils to encourage more women back into the workforce.
“I was a housewife with young children and little experience when McDonald’s hired me as a part-timer. In 6 months, I converted to full-time and was promoted to Shift Leader. Because of the flexible working hours here, I work the night shift regularly so I can spend time with my children. My family is enjoying a more comfortable life now with my second income. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance in life — by McDonald’s!”
Tan Chiew Yen