Using Our Scale For Good: The Importance of Investing in People

August 22, 2018

By: David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Executive Vice President, Global Chief People Officer

There have been two great inspirations in my life – my grandfather and my faith. Through them, I learned the importance of helping people and putting them first. My grandfather Thomas Ogden was a born entrepreneur who, when he completed his service with the army, he invested his savings in a grocery business. He taught me early on the value of hard work and the customer obsession that’s essential to run a successful retail business. But most importantly, he taught me that creating a positive customer experience starts with People. As a teenager, my church gave me the opportunity to support people in the community who had found themselves in difficult circumstances. That taught me about the danger of labels, such as disabled, unemployed and migrant, and how if we look past those labels, there’s an individual who often simply wants the chance to prove themselves.

Throughout my career, I have tried to live up to the examples that my grandfather provided me. This is the background that drove me to realize that there was a massive untapped potential for employer organizations to use their scale and resources to make a difference in this space. I wanted to be a part of making that difference. I used my passion for people in six different industry sectors over the years – Aerospace, Distribution, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Retail and Hospitality – to meet the needs of the business and customers through people, and enable people to achieve their potential. Fast forward to my current role as McDonald’s Global Chief People Officer where my key driver continues to be around the importance of making a difference to the business, people and the communities in which McDonald’s operates.

Today, as McDonald’s continues its commitment to using the company’s Scale for Good, we’re announcing a global goal to reduce barriers to employment for two-million young people by 2025, through pre-employment job readiness training, employment opportunities and workplace development programs. This builds on our longstanding commitment to provide advancement opportunities for all through programs that provide education, career and tuition assistance like Archways to Opportunity, or leadership training at Hamburger University and Apprenticeships. In partnership with independent franchisees, local community organizations and the International Youth Foundation (IYF), which has over two decades experience in youth development around the world, we will pilot this initiative in Chicago. Our goal is to reduce barriers to employment for 4,000 young people in the city, before rolling it out to select cities in the U.S. from 2019 onwards. This initiative will also be expanded to participating global markets through locally-relevant training programs and partners, starting from 2019.

As part of this goal, we’re also joining the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, led by the International Labour Organization, to help accelerate global efforts to tackle youth unemployment. According to the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017 report, one in four of the world’s young people are not engaged in employment, education or training, which can dramatically impact their skills development, earning capacity, long-term employability and wellbeing. As a major employer of young people, McDonald’s has the potential and the scale to help bridge this opportunity gap.

As we embark on this ambitious goal, we know it will take all of us across business, government and civil society to work together to give youth the opportunity they deserve. I look forward to learning from this important community of partners, advocates and young people to make a real, lasting impact.

I am very proud to be a part of a company that shares my vision on the importance of people, and champions for their potential. I hope my grandfather is proud too.