McDonald’s Corp., like many other consumer-facing businesses these days, is reinventing itself. Customers want to be able to pay for their purchases via their phones, they want online ordering and delivery options and they want it all … yesterday. McDonald’s is doing well on that front so far, having increased its sales growth by 4.5% by the end of last year (despite a stagnant market for fast-food providers in general), while its stock price has reached an all-time high. At the same time, David Fairhurst, executive vice president, chief people officer (who joined in 2015), has overseen a major cultural transformation at the fast-food giant that’s seen the reinvention of many HR processes. We’ll go into much greater detail in my upcoming feature on Fairhurst, which will be Human Resource Executive‘s cover story for our Sept. issue.
In the meantime, I’ve included below some snippets of wisdom from my interview with Fairhurst, who, prior to his current role, oversaw HR for McDonald’s Europe operations and has worked at companies ranging from Tesco to GlaxoSmithKline.
Teams Matter: “You’ll know you’ve created a teaming culture when the biggest compliment someone can give you is that you keep losing your best people to rapid-action, cross-functional teams.”
Build Leaders at Every Level: “We’re supporting our people at every level of the organization to become less managerial and more inspirational.”
Challenge Every HR Process: “Traditionally, HR has been too keen to follow established processes rather than question, objectively review and reinvent.”
Run HR Like a Business: “Take a similar approach to Zero-Based Budgeting, make a business case for everything. Is every HR process making a difference? If not, consider eliminating it.”
Develop Ambidextrous Leaders: “We need leaders who are comfortable dealing with ambiguity/paradox.”
Prioritize Diversity and Inclusion: “For far too long, D&I has been something of a peripheral activity, often sitting as part of an organization’s [corporate social responsibility] agenda. In some ways it still will, but only if we change the definition of CSR to ‘core strategic response.’ ”
And finally: “Being a disruptor is tough–but being disrupted is even tougher.”