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3 min read

How a People Engagement Platform can Drive Culture & Recognition

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 7 of a 9 part series.

Len: From what I understand the company that you’ve got, that whole idea of that social portal and engaging with your staff, that’s huge to be able to do that because then you’re able to communicate ongoing one-on-one from the leadership right down to that crew person, as to what the company is and what it’s all about. To me that just really gives you that opportunity to connect and develop a culture with them.

Brad: That’s exactly where Jostle came from. I’ve spent my career building, leading, transforming fairly large teams, in mostly large companies, with a whole variety of different corporate cultures. I wanted to do another start up, so I asked myself what in my past was important and powerful as a leader and as an organization. Are there things that you used to have to do by walking around, getting everybody together for a barbecue, or flying people to a convention, that you can now augment through web-enabled software?

All the stuff we’ve been talking about throughout this interview, we enable in our platform. That’s exactly what we do in a way that just articulates who you are and energizes it. It doesn’t necessarily change you, but if you want to change it’s a great way to drive that change.

You can start shifting things by recognizing those new values, and spotting the people that are living them, and sharing those stories. Getting recognition happening across the organization.

The big awards are wonderful and work, but there’s a whole other level of peer-to-peer recognition right?

Len: Yes, exactly right. It was interesting, I was doing an interview at a radio station a couple of weeks ago. I went in to the studio and the producer had a McCafé cup on his desk. We introduced each other and I said “Alright, you’re drinking the right coffee.” He said, “I worked at McDonald’s. That was my first job.” He said “It was the best job that I’ve ever had.”

Just talking to him, you could feel the engagement and you could just see his energy as he was reflecting back to when he worked as a crew person in his restaurant. He was very fond of it. He said the one thing that I question the most, more than the precision and the operation and so on, is that everybody said please and thank you. And so, to your point, it is those kinds of little things where you just say ‘thanks, you did a great job today’ that just go miles.

Brad: We’ve been crafting our platform for four years now and for the first three we just hand-picked challenging customers to figure it out with. One was an organization that was very dispersed and did not have a strong culture. Another is a big international church; super multi-generational, all over the world, and very technology averse with a lot of older people. In both those places, our peer-to-peer Shout-Out mechanism broke out like wildfire, with no rollout initiative and no management participation. To me this really says how people really work together, right?

Len: Yes. Yes, exactly.

Brad: That was one of the points where I said ‘okay we’re actually accomplishing something here’.

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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