EXCLUSIVE: McDonald’s highlights changing nature of global reward

Employee Benefits Live 2021: Employers should be clear on what their organisation’s vision, values and responsibilities are, as well as making sure they know what employees want and need, advised Neal Blackshire, director of global total rewards at McDonald’s.

Delivering the closing keynote on the first day of Employee Benefits Live 2021 at London’s ExCel, titled ‘Adapting rewards and benefits on a global scale’, Blackshire spoke of the importance of keeping the destination in mind in terms of benefits and rewards, explaining that whilst the why is constant, the what and how can often change.

“Wellbeing wasn’t really part of our framework before, as our original one was written in 2018 and is now being rewritten. We’ve internationally rolled out a US-led global wellbeing framework this year that has five pillars, including physical, financial and mental wellbeing. Some markets already had these in place, so we suggested they look at what’s available in their country that would suit their employees’ needs,” he said.

Regarding how the global reward team measures success, Blackshire explained that he and his colleagues look at the feedback from each market and decide how to move forward in terms of what worked and the challenges that arose.

“Sometimes we share initiatives from one country that could work globally, we just adjust them and make them relevant for each market. Our collaboration between teams is the strongest it’s ever been. We pulled together a playbook for what markets could do to recognise employees’ achievements, but this has mostly been done virtually, as many conferences and events where this usually happens have been cancelled,” he said.

Blackshire recommended employers listen to their employees to find out what they want in each market and build flexibility into their global plan if needed.

“We’ve been seeing more flexibility and different approaches in each country, and have been looking into how to enhance this across the company. We’ve established locally based champions to collect and publicise what has been done in each market as a result. I think reward will really come into its own in the future, as strong benefits seem to be attracting and retaining staff.”