Case Study: How the McDonald’s EHS team raised the profile of safety and increased employee participation

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Case Study: How the McDonald’s EHS team raised the profile of safety and increased employee participation

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Safety culture soars, 95% acceptance from employees – go

How McDonald’s implemented Donesafe – go

Employee engagement with safety increases by 500% – go

“If you have time to lean, you have time to clean”, goes the famous McDonald’s catch cry. But in an
environment where every second counts, how does that leave any time for workplace health and
safety for McDonald’s restaurant workers?

And therein lies the challenge for the McDonald’s safety team. While their previous safety
management system, a paper-based system, was meeting standards, it simply took too long for
workers to interact with it, slowing down the flow of important information. “We knew there was a
whole swathe of information that we weren’t seeing quickly enough. It was a big issue for the
business because when we saw a potential hazard we didn’t immediately know if the problem was
isolated to that particular store or network-wide.” Said Adrian Ditcher, National Workplace Safety
Manager at McDonald’s Australia.

There was a whole swathe of information that we weren’t seeing quickly enough

Adrian Ditcher

Another challenge was that the paper-based system required manual administration and processes,
diverting resources away from high-level preventative tasks. With McDonald’s taking pride in
continuously improving workplace safety and adding more heads to the safety team, not in the
budget, this was highlighted as a key point in the business case to change from paper-based to cloud

With paper, the safety team found themselves constantly following up on actions, searching for
information and creating reports.

“The paper-based system was really difficult to manage. For example, when you had a worker’s compensation claim or an insurance claim say two years down the track, it was very difficult to collect that data because nobody knew where it was. It was a huge time drain.”

Yvonne Argent, National Workplace Safety Consultant at McDonald’s Australia.

In summary, the McDonald’s team was facing issues similar to those faced by many other safety
professionals around the globe. But what makes Adrian Ditcher, Yvonne Argent, and Natalie Riehl a
rare breed is what they did next.

They solved it.

Raising the profile of safety organization-wide by embedding it into the culture

McDonald’s knew they needed a solution that would encourage employees to participate in the
safety management process, now and in the future. More data in real-time = more insights =
targeted activities to improve workplace safety. “The goal was to make the lives of our workers and
managers in the stores a lot simpler. It was logical to pick a system that could speak the McDonald’s
language, and be modified with ease based on user feedback moving forward”, explained National
Workplace Safety Consultant, Yvonne Argent.

“The goal was to make the lives of our workers and managers in the restaurants a lot simpler”

Yvonne Argent

Donesafe, a configurable EHS platform with a modern user interface, enabled McDonald’s to achieve
this goal. Donesafe as a platform was able to wrap around unique business needs while making it as
simple as possible for a diverse workforce that ranges from executives to young restaurant workers.

As each restaurant made the switch from logging all incidents and hazards in a paper-based booklet,
employees responded positively. “The majority of McDonald’s employees accepted the change

Contributing to the smooth transition was largely to do with stakeholder input throughout the design and implementation process. “Robust feedback from employees during the trial phase helped with the system build as the frontline workers and managers would be using this system daily, we listened and put changes in place for a seamless system that worked for all.

McDonald’s implementation strategy to foster participation, leadership and cultural change

To succeed with this implementation, the McDonald’s safety team noted that it was imperative that
the vendor, in this case, Donesafe, had the tools to make instant configuration changes to forms,
workflows, automations, and details, right down to colors and naming conventions. “Important to
our success was dealing with Donesafe. They were very flexible in terms of what our needs were and
nothing seemed to be a problem. We would sit down and work out what the needs are, and
Donesafe always delivered a solution. It was never ‘no’ to any of our questions. They would always
try and accommodate whatever our needs were at the time.”

The Results

Fast forward 12 months, McDonald’s had rolled Donesafe out Australia-wide. “From a cultural
perspective across all levels of senior management through corporate and in the restaurants,
Donesafe has started to change the culture of safety in the restaurants.”

“With safety, it is now a lot more visible across the business and we get a lot more daily interactions
with licensees. They’re opening up more, they’re talking, and they’re asking for assistance, support,
and advice. That was very much not the thing beforehand. So, Donesafe has helped massively to
drive this.”

This cultural shift, in which safety as a function has risen in profile across all levels of the McDonald’s
organization, has driven overall participation by employees and executives. “The company hit an all-time participation record. Company-wide participation amongst restaurant workers, management,
and the executive team has increased by 500% since implementing Donesafe. This is due to the user
experience being fast and easy to use.”

“Reporting has increased by 500% since implementing Donesafe”

Adrian Ditcher

Overall, McDonald’s has shifted the power of change to the hands of its employees and opened up a
platform that gives everybody a voice.

Forms are completed in real-time with ease and reporting showcases what actions are taken as a
direct result of their work. Donesafe includes the ability to upload photos, CCTV footage, and videos
to records, which provides the business and managers with all the relevant information required for
the issue at hand – instantly. This allows for a faster response and gives the leadership team instant
transparency, which was not an option with the paper-based system. Moving paper forms from the
restaurant to HQ was a manual and time-consuming process. The EHS team has seen productivity
gains with a system that automates this manual work, in turn giving them more time to focus on
high-level preventative tasks.

In real-time, McDonald’s management now has insights, alerts, and actions at their fingertips – rather than on a spreadsheet. Accessible anywhere.

What is our biggest take away?

McDonald’s innovation was creating a better business system—better methods, systems, controls,
and constant improvement. Their reputation and success are incredible, and as Adrian, Yvonne, and
Natalie have proven, the same formula can be applied to safety.

Donesafe Apps used by McDonald’s

Incidents – Check it out

Hazards – Check it out

Donesafe Platform Features – Check it out

Want to improve workplace safety? Find out how Donesafe can help your business here.