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How McDonald’s® Executives Stay Connected to their Employees

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 5 of a 9 part series.

Brad: How do you divide your time in your job now? What do you actually spend most of your time actually doing?

Len: Talking to people. You know whether it’s on the phone with owner/operators, or to members of my team, or corporate. I think one of the things that’s really unique about McDonald’s – our connection to our people. So whether it’s John Betts our president, or Jacques Mignault our COO, or Don Thompson our global CEO, or Tim Fenton our global COO, they all spend time in the field and with the leadership across Canada. They are very visible to the operators and to the restaurants.

I’m not sure we could get away with doing the ‘Undercover Boss’, because we know everybody and we’re engaged with them. There are very few companies as big as we are that have this. I think it’s just that’s who we are. Culturally that is what we do. We get into the restaurants and we have that connection.

Part of that, I think, is driven by the fact that 65% of the leadership positions in the company are filled by people that came up through the restaurant. There’s a tremendous respect that we all have for the restaurant manager and what he and she does, and for the staff person and what he or she does day to day.

They’re the face of the brand. They’re the ones interacting with the guests every day. We need to be out there to ensure that we’re providing the tools, the equipment, the support, whatever it is that they need. We need to be out there championing them, so that they can do what they like to do, which is to serve the guests.

Brad: I agree.

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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