Spikes Asia

McDiploma

DDB HONG KONG / MCDONALD'S HONG KONG / 2024

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

McDonald’s Hong Kong has one of the highest penetrations of any McDonald’s market, serving 1 million customers daily in a city of 7.5 million, with over half the population visiting a McDonald’s store at least once every seven days. With such high density and volume, any shortage in staff would be detrimental. To ensure a constant roster of staff, McDonald’s has always relied on part-time youth employees, making McDonald’s the largest youth employer in Hong Kong. But these youth employees mostly do not stay to become full-time employees, treating it as a part-time job. With a youth labour shortage expected to plague Hong Kong in the foreseeable future, it has made recruitment and retention even more difficult for McDonald’s.

In recent years, there have been fewer applicants and higher churn, leading to a steady decline in McDonald’s employee inflow/outflow trend, suffering a 32% decline from 2020 to 2021.

Idea

Our idea: McDiploma. We worked closely with the Hong Kong government to create an in-house training programme for our managers, the ‘Professional Diploma in Management Development’, so that it could achieve an accreditation equivalent to a bachelor’s degree that is recognized by the industry and government. The programme consisted of 7 modules ranging from Business Management to People Development Management, culminating in a large-scale graduation ceremony. To communicate that our programme possessed the rigor of a bachelor’s degree, our ceremony was held in the style of a proper university graduation ceremony, inviting a series of guests including government officials to give heartfelt speeches. Through this graduation event, we highlighted how McDonald’s is providing robust career development opportunities and the business acumen that its managers and crew possess, extending our employer philosophy and positive buzz to the wider public.

Strategy

Although we have known about the negative perception surrounding a McDonald’s job, we decided to dig deeper to find out what these perceptions were exactly, and how we could tackle them. Through our focus groups, we identified the overarching issue – people did not consider McDonald’s to be a proper career. People generally think that working at McDonald’s is dead-end job reserved for those who have dropped out of school or for those who are unable to get into higher education. As such, there is a sense of shame associated with a McDonald’s job.

But this could not be further from the truth. Conducting interviews with our long-term employees and managers, we found that they have a unique sense of pride in working at McDonald’s, championing the business acumen that it instils, and the robust developmental opportunities.

With this initiative, we wanted to bridge this gap.

Execution

We created an in-house training programme for our managers, the ‘Professional Diploma in Management Development’, and worked with the governement to obtain an accreditation equivalent to a bachelor’s degree that is recognized by the industry and government. To communicate that our programme possessed the rigor of a bachelor’s degree, our graduation ceremony was held in the style of a university graduation ceremony, inviting a series of guests from the entertainment sector and even government officials to give heartfelt speeches. Through this graduation event, we also seeded PR stories across a wide range of publications. These stories highlight how McDonald’s is providing robust career development opportunities and also the business acumen that its managers and crew possess, extending our employer philosophy to the general public.

Outcome

We created citywide buzz and generated over USD$1.2 million in PR value surrounding our employer philosophy. This positive buzz was also reflected in our brand tracking, creating a record high for our ‘Good Employer’ brand score. But most importantly, this campaign helped to spark new interest in a McDonald’s career, resulting in a 77% increase in job applications during the period, and a 109% increase in our successful recruitment rate.

The initiative also resulted in our best recruitment results in the past few years. Comparing our recruitment results for the entire year (2023) against the previous year (2022), the number of new store manager recruits increased by 32%, while new recruits for our crew increased by 39%. All this helped to reverse McDonald’s decline employee inflow/outflow trend, bringing it back to a positive figure, with a whopping +312% increase in from 2022 to 2023.

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