In 2009, Profiles International Denmark did a very successful project for McDonald's Germany which "achieved an enormously high approval". They have published an interview with Silvia Merretz, Head Staff Development, who was responsible for personnel development of McDonald's Germany.
Profiles: Hello, Ms. Merretz, you are responsible for the staff development of the biggest system restaurant in Germany. As Employer in the industry McDonald's is with its 60,000 Employees from 128 nations of eminently importance. With assessments from Profiles International your establishment strokes a new path. First off, could you please explain how the decision was made and what the new project's goal is?
Merretz: Our project was aimed at the restaurant managers and the middle management. For a time we have observed that the requirements to our managers, which often are professionally new comers, changed over time. We now wanted to find out how the perfect modern restaurant manager character looks like.
According to a benchmark study including chosen managers, we defined the current job profile. Now it was about the question how good the restaurant managers matched it and which areas demanded for action in order to brace all executives on the same level for the future.
Don't get me wrong: Of course McDonald's always offered and conducted special trainings for its executives. With our project we wanted to reach a modern level and adjust the measures more to the actual needs. Basically moving away from the “scattershotting” to an individual support.
At the same time our executives committed their selves to six principles, our so called leadership promise, to refine their expertise and personality in order to contribute to McDonald's steady improvement. At that, we wanted to support them effectively.
Profiles: What were the causes for the decision to utilize assessments?
Merretz: We were looking for a standardized tool, which should not just be efficient but also inexpensive. Initially we had two offers for Assessment Centers available. But could you imagine how much a good Assessment Center would have cost just thinking about the complex logistics, the extensive volume of travel and the necessary brain trust? We quickly would be at a six-digit sum. Consequently our personnel consultant from HR-Horizonte, Peter Krumbach-Mollenhauer, with which we are working together for years now, introduced us to ProfileXT®. This tool was comparatively 50 – 60 percent cheaper and for our objective the best choice. A huge advantage for us was the comparability of results.
Profiles: How did you proceed after that?
Merretz: To begin with we have conducted a pilot experiment in the southwest of Germany. After that the project was extended to the whole country accordingly to our regional structure. The participants were invited to the regional administrations where they answered 314 questions within 90 minutes out of six topics. Shortly after, the individual feedback interviews took place in the presence of the respective superior, on which we placed a high value, instead of an external advisor. With that we discussed and voted about individual development suggestions with the participants on the basis of personalized evaluations which were created by profiles. In the completion and evaluation stage the external advisors of HR-Horizonte played a very positive role. They all have spent a day in a McDonald’s branch in order to familiarize with the daily work in a restaurant. That was well received by the restaurant managers. On the one side the trust for the advisors on the other side the appreciation by the advisors helped making the project a big success.
Profiles: How many employees and franchisees have passed through the profiling so far?
Merretz: Over 1000 McDonald’s executives, not just restaurant managers, but also operation managers and franchise advisors in Germany have passed through the PXT®. This is a very good feedback if you think about the voluntary participation. The completion of the assessment process and the following evaluation was already completed 2009. In the first months in 2010 the first trainings were taking place already.
Profiles: What knowledge did the Profiles International assessments give you?
Merretz: The foreground of the whole project was the sitting of leadership skills and the economical relations. Questions about motivation, which were already covered by PXT®, were not in our foreground as our executives already have a high motivation by tradition. Through our project we gained the insight that we should adjust our needs for training especially to the areas of communication and conflict management.
Beyond that we developed a business game fitting the economical needs of McDonalds. It is about to even more connect economical figures and consequently reveal optimizing possibilities.
Profiles: Did the results match your expectations?
Merretz: PXT® backed many of our assumptions and observations due to its objectivity. Furthermore, PXT® uncovered certain details which we didn't have on “our radar”. This way we could create a scientific funded training demand analysis. Without the precise and perfectly fitting PXT® tool it wouldn't have been possible for us. But that is exactly what we wanted to achieve.
Profiles: What kind of feedback did you receive from the managers taking part in the profiling?
Merretz: The feedback from the restaurant managers was throughout positively. Our project achieved an enormously high approval. The participants were surprised how fitting and right they were reflected by PXT®. Trust me, as responsible project manager, it took a load off my mind by the time the feedback by the participating managers was so positive. Such a project which steps on a new path will always be monitored heavily.
Profiles: Is there an intention to utilize ProfileXT® beyond this project?
Merretz: We decided to also work with PXT® in the future and to fix it firmly into our personnel development. The tool will especially be used for the development of our junior executives. With this our already 18 month established development program for restaurant managers is intended to become more sustainable and individual.
Source: Profiles International
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