Employer Branding at McDonald's: Redefining McJobs|Human Resource|Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies

Employer Branding at McDonald's: Redefining McJobs

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB121 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Employer Branding / Attraction and Retention
Case Length : 26 pages
Period : 2001-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : McDonald's Corporation
Industry : Fast food
Countries : UK; Europe; USA


This case is about the employer branding strategies adopted by McDonald's Corporation, one of the largest fast food chains in the world. Since the 1980s, entry-level jobs at McDonald's had come to be associated with low-paying dead end jobs.

The term 'McJobs' had become synonymous with low-prestige, low-benefit, no-future jobs in the service or retail sector particularly at fast food restaurants and retail stores. Though the term was coined to describe jobs at McDonald's, it was later used to refer to any low-status job where little training was required and workers' activities were strictly regulated

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

Because of its common usage, the term appeared in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in March 2001 and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) in 2003.

The case discusses how McDonald's systemically tried to redefine the term 'McJobs' and improve its employer brand since the early 2000s. According to McDonald's, this negative interpretation of McJobs was not only inaccurate but also demeaning to the thousands of people working in the service sector. As employer branding was a critical management tool for companies to attract the right talent, McDonald's decided to try and revise the image associated with McJobs. This it did by taking various initiatives that also included advertising campaigns aimed at showcasing the benefits of working at McDonald's and bridging the divide between people's perceptions of the McJob and the real employment experience of people actually working for the fast-food chain.

Experts felt that these were some of the best examples of a company successfully planning and implementing an employee branding strategy. However, the case also highlights the challenges faced by McDonald's in attracting new talent as derogatory comments continued to be made about McJobs and this could discourage prospective employees from taking up such jobs.


Understand the importance of employer branding and its relationship with the ability of a company to attract talent.

Understand the issues and challenges in planning and implementing an employer branding initiative.

Understand the strategic role of Human Resource Department.

Evaluate the initiatives taken by McDonald's to bridge the gap between people's perceptions of McJobs and the real employment experiences of people actually working at its restaurants.

Explore strategies that McDonald's could adopt in the future to enhance its employer brand.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 3
Origin of the Term 'McJobs' 5
The 'McJob' Issue 7
Redefining McJobs 8
"My First Job" Campaign 9
Mcdonald's People Project 10
"Not Bad for a McJob" Campaign 12
"Change the Definition" Petition Campaign 13
'My McJob' Campaign 14
Campaigns in Other Countries 15
Results 16
The Other View 18
Looking Ahead 18
Exhibits 20

Key Words:

Employer Branding, Employer brand, Employee satisfaction, Employment policies and practices, McJobs, Service sector jobs, People Project, Hierarchy of Needs, 'My First Job' campaign, 'My McJob' campaign, 'Not Bad for a McJob' campaign, McPassport, Fast food, Retail , McDonald's

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Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies


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