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The Importance of Community Involvement to Employee Engagement

This is a transcript of a live Leadership Conversation between Jostle CEO Brad Palmer and Len Jillard, Chief People Officer for McDonald’s Canada. This is part 8 of a 9 part series.

Brad: The final thing I wanted to touch on is Ronald McDonald House. Our chairman is Don Bell, who is one of the cofounders of WestJet, and the guy who created WestJet’s culture. He had lots of interaction with McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House. He’s retired from WestJet now, but that was certainly one of his favorite connections, so he asked me to pass that on.

Len: Great.

Brad: How does that play into the overall messaging of culture to employees?

Len: Great question. Again, it ties right back into one of the values. This goes way back to McDonald’s founder, Ray Croc. He always said that whatever community you’re doing business in, you’ve got to give something back. One of our seven values is giving back to our communities. I think today, with today’s employee, they really do want to know the company they’re looking to work for aligns with their personal values; that they’re part of a company that’s responsible socially and certainly responsible corporately.

With the Ronald McDonald House charities it’s certainly something that our employees, whether it’s here, or the various offices, or in the restaurants, and certainly that our managers, and owners/operators, and suppliers enjoy. Participating in Ronald McDonald Day is just a blast and they take such pride in it, in what they’re able to do.

Certainly internally we tell those stories, and communicate the stories, and the impact that each one of them is contributing to the importance of what we’re doing with Ronald McDonald House charities, that they view it as their own. Those that live in the Toronto area, they view the Toronto House as their house. If it’s in Vancouver, they view that house as their house in Vancouver. They volunteer. They do all kinds of things. I think with employees today that’s all just part of the package that they’re looking for before they make their decision whether or not they choose to work for a particular company. That whole piece of community, and that involvement, is absolutely critical for any company in today’s world. If you don’t, you’re not going to engage your staff at all.

Brad: That’s lovely.

Leadership Conversations publishes each Monday and Wednesday in the Jostle Blog. Subscribe to make sure you do not miss the next episode.

About Len Jillard

Len began his career with the company in 1972 in London, Ontario as a crew person. He has worked in a number of mid and senior management positions throughout the Canadian operation. Len also spent three years, from 1995 to 1997, with McDonald’s Mexico as the Senior Director of Operations.

In January 2002, Len became Vice President of the Western Canada Region, overseeing all aspects of the Western Canadian operation. In 2005, Len was named to his current role as Senior Vice President, People Resources and Chief People Officer, in which he is responsible for carrying out the McDonald’s People Promise to value each and every employee across the country.

Len has always made it a priority to dedicate his time and expertise to McDonald’s charitable efforts, serving on the board of Ronald McDonald House in London, Ontario for more than seven years and as a member of the Society for Ronald McDonald House Vancouver.

About Leadership Conversations

At Jostle we recognize the importance of people-focused leadership. In fact, we are so passionate about how leaders engage employees, drive culture and catalyze collaboration that we seek out top people-oriented leaders to explore these topics with us through our Leadership Conversations series in the Jostle Blog. If you know a people oriented leader you feel should be included in this series, please contact us at leaders@jostle.me. There is no requirement that they are using the Jostle People Engagement® platform.

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