Audrey Chin, HR director for McDonald’s Restaurants, speaks to Sabrina Zolkifi about how word of mouth has helped the company recruit some of the best and brightest talent.

One indication that employees are enjoying their tenure at an organisation is when they feel comfortable sharing their experience with the company and encourage their peers to join.

“We offer our crew incentives to spread the word, and many of our new hires come from referrals,” Audrey Chin, HR director for McDonald’s Restaurants, says.

Chin is particularly proud of McDonald’s commitment to building fair recruitment practices and a highly diverse workforce.

“We were a pioneer in the hiring of mature workers here in Singapore and our employees come from all ages, races and walks of life.

“This has helped us create a fun and dynamic environment in the workplace and gives us a greater pool of talent to draw on,” she says.

On top of actively building a heterogeneous workforce, Chin says the company also keeps in mind candidates’ potential to be developed into future leaders during the interview process.

The company offers both full-time and part-time opportunities for candidates so “there is something for him or her at McDonald’s”.

But Chin admits it’s a challenge to hire because of stiff market competition.

Therefore, she says McDonald’s was forced to think creatively when structuring its recruitment strategies so it could maintain the inflow of talent.

“We work with various schools, communities and social agencies and we are currently developing a few short-to-long term hiring strategies with some key partners and corporate social responsibility in mind.

We are looking to deepen our relationship with the community and offer even more job opportunities to the locals.
McDonald’s also focuses on building a strong brand and culture, as the company understands the link between that and talent attraction.

“McDonald’s has a fun and caring environment for our staff and we always look to train and develop leaders from within and propel them ahead. Our restaurants can be found in every corner of Singapore and this proximity to work lace also attracts a lot of our employees,” Chin says.

She adds it’s important for leaders to identify those who are aspiring for a long-term career future in McDonald’s to join the company with a business mindset, excellent service mentality and leadership qualities.

“We recruit and offer them a series of training and development opportunities to develop them into the next generation of leaders. It is always important to look for and hire people who are able to succeed current leadership team so that the leaders can move on to their desired career progression.”

It is also important that senior leaders are involved in the entire talent development process, starting with recruitment.

“They also help out during National Hiring Days which happens twice a year. They are out in the streets, together with the restaurant managers and office staff. Other than team-bonding, it also gives them the opportunity to better understand the needs and challenges at the ground-level and hence develop solutions that work even better for our restaurants.”

Having a strong foundation in recruitment not only ensures a steady flow of talent into the company, but it is also important because having “the right hires provide good and efficient service to our customers in our restaurants to achieve the business goals”.

McDonald’s also goes a step further when developing its recruitment strategy by having all senior management and general and administration teams undergo up to four weeks of training in the restaurants before they embark on their respective roles.

“This is an excellent programme for them to develop strategies that are based on the restaurant operation needs, customers and business goals in mind,” Chin says.