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

Industry: Hospitality
Client: McDonald's


employee participation
engagement increase

“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.”

Andy Lewis
McDonald casestudy video cover02 1

“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?

McDonald’s is known for being a pioneer in process efficiency. How else would they produce 75 burgers globally every single second? Although every process has safety in mind, when an employee’s focus is on customer service, fulfilling orders, and keeping the restaurant spick and span, there’s not a lot of time for reporting. 

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 and slowed 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 technology. 

With paper, the safety team found themselves constantly following up 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 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 could 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, National Workplace Safety Consultant at McDonald’s Australia.

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 the diverse workforce that ranges from executives to young restaurant workers. 

As each restaurant made the switch from a paper-based booklet to log all incidents and hazards, employees were responding positively to change. “The majority of McDonald’s employees accepted the change immediately.”

Mcdonald’s Workers

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 in 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.”

Configurable compliance software safety software
Donesafe ‘drag and drop’ workflow builder

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, they’re asking for assistance, support, and advice. That was very much not the thing beforehand. So, Donesafe has helped massively to drive this.”

The cultural shift, where 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. Companywide 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 their 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 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.

Dashboard reporting mobile app
Donesafe is accessible anywhere, no matter what you are doing

Whats 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. 

Think Safety Done.
Think Donesafe!