Talent & Benefits

Providing a best-in-class employee experience – where people are given opportunities to learn and develop – is a business imperative because it directly impacts the customer experience.

McDonald's employees smiling around a table with laptop computers

People are not only at the heart of our Company, but they are also critical to the long-term success of our business. Looking after our people is central to our core values and driving our business forward.

Led by these values, we are committed to fostering workplaces where everyone feels supported, has equitable access to opportunity and feels empowered to pursue their career aspirations.


Our Recent Progress

  • Drove continuous improvement of our Performance Motivation process and resources to evolve our culture and build high-performing and engaged teams.

  • Updated the Talent Review process to give us common language to assess and identify high potential leaders, inform talent planning, and identify development opportunities and investments.

  • Introduced expectations for senior leaders to drive accountability for engaging in inclusive behaviors that support talent development and retaining our future leaders.

  • Established Elevate, a nine-month leadership program designed for high-potential individuals in director or senior director roles to become enterprise leaders.

See our latest Purpose & Impact Report for more on our recent progress. For more about how we respect and support employees, also see our latest Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report.

For related topics, see also our pages about our commitments to Safe & Respectful WorkplacesDiversity, Equity & Inclusion and Human Rights.

Our Strategy

Our vision is to be an iconic home for developing talent – known as much for our people as for our Golden Arches. We know the employee experience fuels the customer experience, and we are leading with our values to succeed in both areas. In 2022, we were able to design and deploy strategic human resources and talent management processes that support our long-term business strategy.

On this webpage, we explain the following:

Our Company and the Employees We Reach

Company employees, which include those in the Company's corporate and other offices as well as in Company-owned and operated restaurants, totalled over 150,000 worldwide as of year-end 2022, of which approximately 70% were based outside of the U.S.

Looking across the System, the over two million individuals who work in McDonald's franchised restaurants around the world are critical to the System’s success, enabling it to drive long-term value creation and further its purpose and mission.

Driving Value-Led Employee Progress

Delivering a best-in-class employee experience requires us to put our five core values into action. To measure how we are progressing, we leverage various internal indices.

In particular, we have used our Inclusion Index to measure behaviors and actions the Company is taking to ensure an inclusive environment for everyone that works for us. The Index measures attributes that are critical to being yourself at work, such as offering opinions and advancing through the Company.

To better embed these inclusivity attributes into our workplace culture, our efforts need to be driven from the top. That’s why we hold our leaders accountable for making tangible values-led progress.

Beginning in 2021, the Company incorporated quantitative metrics related to human capital management into annual incentive compensation awards for our CEO and Executive Vice PresidentsIn 2021 and 2022, in addition to financial performance, executives were measured on several factors focused on driving behaviors and actions that help support the increase of representation of women and Underrepresented Groups in leadership roles (Senior Director and above) and championing our values.

Hamburger University® and Our Signature Learning Approach

We’re continuing to establish Hamburger University (HU) as the signature learning and development approach for employees at McDonald’s, as well as Franchisees and leaders working within their organizations, building upon the legacy and offering development programs to empower people to continuously grow.

HU is McDonald’s signature learning and development approach. Since first opening in Illinois in 1961, it has grown to have eight campuses around the world. It provides training for Company-owned restaurant employees, as well as Franchisees and leaders from their organizations,1 and has helped to prepare thousands of students for leadership positions in the restaurant industry.

Talent And Benefits

Our Corporate Employees

Our Corporate Staff work daily to make a positive impact on our business, our people and our communities. In turn, we’re committed to their development and supporting them as they pursue their career paths.

We want our people to have a meaningful and impactful career at McDonald’s. We have robust opportunities to help people develop, explore their interests and aspirations, and help navigate their careers.

Our ambition is to grow and get better together – to create a place where people can work, develop, mentor and lead alongside other top industry talent.

Building High-Performing and Highly Engaged Teams

At McDonald’s, we believe in motivating our employees’ performance. Throughout the year, managers engage in critical conversations with their employees to drive business impact, value-led leadership and individual career growth. The Performance Motivation process involves four milestone conversations – the “4 Cs” of Commit, Connect, Conclude and Career – along with sharing frequent feedback year-round. Each of these important conversations ensures our people are focused on the right priorities, have an opportunity to reflect and review progress, and discuss feedback and development opportunities.

Encouraging Employees to Be Their BEST

At McDonald’s, we set high expectations for how we lead our business and each other. The BEST model defines the qualities and behaviors that enable high performance for employees at all levels – the Building Blocks that make employees successful at McDonald’s, as well as the three areas needed to drive results: Execution, Strategy and Talent. McDonald’s uses BEST as a foundation for how we hire, develop and assess talent. The model serves as a compass for employees and people managers when exchanging feedback and directing continuous growth and development.

The Leaders of Tomorrow

To help further shape career paths for Corporate Staff, we encourage certain individuals to enroll in leadership development programs, with initial units covering areas such as inclusive leadership. They can then move on to more specific learning topics, such as Leading as a Strategic Partner and Inspire, delivered through three-day, in-person workshops with on-the-job application designed to help develop new and existing people leaders. The next level of leadership development focuses on Elevate, a nine-month program targeted at high-potential individuals in Director or Senior Director roles.

Building Our Talent Pipeline and Developing Our Future Leaders

Leadership at McDonald’s is also accountable for taking steps that help support a strong and diverse pipeline of talent that will support our long-term success. In 2022 we introduced expectations holding senior leaders accountable for engaging in inclusive behaviors that support talent development and building a strong diverse succession pipeline, with the leaders’ performance contributing to their annual performance ratings and incentive compensation.

Talent Recognition

Our recognition framework encourages dedicated effort, rewards results and celebrates career milestones in a meaningful way. In addition to locally relevant market recognition programs – including Employee of the Month schemes, service awards and peer-to-peer digital recognition platforms – we have five global pinnacle awards that reward the highest achievers among Corporate Staff, Restaurant Staff and Franchisees.

Every year, through our annual Presidents’ Award, we reward the top 1% of Corporate Staff who have demonstrated all five of our Company values, while an annual Shining Light award goes to Corporate Staff who have best demonstrated one of our values in action. The Circle of Excellence is an annual award given to teams who have contributed most to our Company purpose, mission and values.

We also have two awards that are given every two years. Our Ray Kroc Award for Restaurant Managers is presented for value-led behaviors, as well as for noteworthy business and financial results, while the Fred Turner Golden Arch Awards recognize Franchisees who have made significant contributions to our purpose, mission and values. Winners of these two awards are recognized at our Worldwide Convention.

Continuing Education Support for Corporate Staff

We have partnered with DePaul University in Chicago to offer the McDonald’s DePaul University MBA Cohort program for Corporate Staff. DePaul provides a 25% tuition discount, and eligible Corporate Staff can combine the discount with their McDonald’s education benefits. The program is designed to give students the skills they need to move into leadership roles. Together with DePaul’s business professors and academic staff, we have created a customized course outline including strategic management, finance, marketing and effective business communication courses.

Restaurant Employees

McDonald’s and its Franchisees are committed to providing training, education and career pathways to empower Restaurant Staff (people working in a McDonald’s-brand restaurant globally). We and our Franchisees want to make McDonald’s one of the best places to work by offering development opportunities unique to McDonald’s-brand restaurants.

We have also developed optional toolkits of principles and best practices to help Franchisees recruit and retain talent. It includes recruitment and retention workshops, activation guides to bring McDonald’s values to life, and attraction and employer branding materials.

By creating an environment of continuous learning and development, McDonald’s and its Franchisees are focused on attracting and retaining the very best people. We and our Franchisees are dedicated to providing learning and development opportunities for people at all stages of their journey, whether they choose to build a career with McDonald’s, or beyond. Training, education and leadership development programs can advance their careers, regardless of where they start at McDonald’s. Some of today’s Franchisees and corporate leaders began their McDonald’s careers as restaurant crew and managers.

Setting Up Restaurant Staff Members for Success

From their very first day on the job, we want all restaurant team members to be set up for success. We are enhancing our digital education approach and strategy to continue to provide restaurant team members with the tools to do their job well. By modernizing delivery of learning and development tools and services through easy-to-access, easy-to-consume, inclusive content that leverages advanced technologies, we’re meeting learners where they are. This includes pivoting from traditional training programs to simulation and gamified offerings that support bite-sized microlearning, as well as translating all training to support learning in native languages.

Continuing Education Support for Restaurant Staff

We believe opportunity starts with education – which is why McDonald’s and many participating Franchisees offer avenues for learning to restaurant employees across the globe. In many regions, McDonald’s and participating Franchisees are combining workplace training and study, and offering apprenticeship programs at various levels, so people of all ages and at all stages of their educational and professional journey can build a career, regardless of previous experience or qualifications. 

Archways to Opportunity® is a comprehensive education program that offers eligible U.S. employees and employees of participating Franchisees the opportunity to graduate from college, earn a high school diploma, learn English as a second language and gain access to academic and career advising services.

We also know that apprenticeships – opportunities to earn nationally recognized qualifications while working – can improve lives. We offer apprenticeships in multiple markets in Europe to help promote and improve access to vocational training for young people. In February 2023, the U.K. celebrated National Apprenticeship Week 2023, hosting McDonald’s Festival of Apprenticeships with the theme “Skills for Life.” The week, which had over 700 registrations and included guest speakers and awards ceremonies, recognized and celebrated national apprenticeship success stories.

Developing Corporate Talent in the U.K.

In 2022, McDonald’s UK continued their Restaurant to Corporate Bridge program that gives Restaurant Staff the opportunity to work in one of our Corporate Offices in the U.K. on a 12-month placement. Designed to develop talented individuals across our system, employees have the chance to work across multiple departments including Finance, Technology, Development, Supply Chain, Marketing, Communications, Legal, Restaurant Solutions Group (RSG), Franchising, Strategy & Insights, People, Change and Global Business Services. The program is open specifically for hourly paid employees.

Global Speaker Series

Our Global Speaker series, What Makes Us Golden: Empowering Growth, is open to all employees from Company-owned restaurant crew and management to corporate employees. Throughout the year, we offer unique events with leaders who have truly excelled in their fields sharing their experience and perspectives.

Hosted by an internal McDonald's leader, each 20-minute online event features an external speaker from a globally recognized brand who focuses on transferable leadership skills or behaviors. The events are translated into 16 languages and accompanied by additional learning resources such as discussion guides and videos. Participants benefit from a greater understanding of how leadership skills are connected to personal and professional growth and achieving goals.

Workplace: A Shared Sense of Purpose, Better-Run Restaurants

We know a positive restaurant culture enables crew to create more feel-good moments for customers and for each other. That’s why we have launched Workplace by Meta, a people-centric communication tool backed by McDonald's. With Workplace, markets and their Franchisees can foster a people-first mentality and engage with employees in McDonald's restaurants. The tool gives managers and crew the necessary real-time information to do their jobs, while facilitating communications and connection across the wider McDonald’s community.

2022 was a big year for Workplace, with notable progress including:

  • Sustaining and deploying Workplace in 20 countries – over half a million restaurant employees have access to the platform with 76% of users accessing it weekly.

  • When surveyed, 88% of crew that responded across Poland, Portugal and Spain said Workplace provides the knowledge they need to do their job better.

  • Since reopening restaurants in Ukraine in September 2022, strong Workplace campaigns have resulted in 93% of restaurant employees using the platform, 93% of whom access it more than once a week.

Compensation, Wages and Benefits

To attract and retain talent at all levels of the business, we provide competitive compensation commensurate with a Company employee’s position. We evaluate competitive wage data and market trends to determine appropriate wage ranges, and ensure compliance with all applicable wage and hour laws.

The Global Pay Principles for our owned markets ensure that good pay practices are understood and consistently implemented for all Company employees.

  • Competitive – pay opportunities are aligned with the external value of a job to attract, engage and motivate talent. The competitiveness of our pay rates is reviewed regularly relative to peer companies that reflect our size, scale, performance and talent needs.

  • Non-Discriminatory – Company employees are compensated at a level commensurate with their role, responsibility, impact, location, experience, knowledge, skills and performance, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or any other similar protected personal characteristics. See also our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion page.

  • Performance-Based – pay is focused on motivating high performance, recognizing achievement and reinforcing behaviors that align with our culture.

  • Understandable – pay programs are communicated regularly and transparently. We strive for simplicity and focus on the design of our programs to ensure Company employees understand what determines their pay.

  • Compliant – we comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements and standards.

In 2021, we announced a commitment to prioritize equal pay for equal work through a goal to close pay gaps identified in annual equal pay analyses for women globally in Company-owned and operated markets, and for underrepresented groups in the U.S. at the staff and Company-owned restaurant levels. Read more on our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion webpage.

Supporting Employee Well-Being

Well-being can mean different things in different areas of the world, but ensuring our people are happy and healthy across the globe is something we all champion. Our BeWell@McD internal webpage is designed to support markets in developing a well-being strategy, providing frameworks and tools they can leverage and adapt to bring the brand to life locally. We have created a Global Well-Being Committee who help drive our strategy and have created a number of new well-being resources including:

  • A Global Well-Being Framework.

  • Best practice sharing across our five well-being pillars: Physical, Emotional, Financial, Social and Workplace.

  • Regular additions and enhancements to McDonald’s benefits, offerings and resources for staff and Company-owned restaurant employees.

  • Support to improve the communication of our well-being programs across markets.

Global Benefits Principles and Locally Relevant Rewards

We offer competitive benefits to individuals employed by McDonald’s Corporation and its majority-owned subsidiaries worldwide and offer resources to our Franchisees to support them in designing competitive benefit packages for their employees.

In most countries, we offer benefits to full- and part-time Company employees working more than a certain number of hours.

Below, we’ve provided an overview of foundational benefits offered in our top six Company-operated markets by revenue. Our Global People teams work to identify the particular needs of Corporate Staff and Company-owned and operated restaurant employees in different countries, creating locally relevant and competitive benefit packages.

The U.S.

In the U.S., we offer healthcare and retirement benefits, as well as paid time off and parental leave, to Corporate Staff and Company-owned restaurant employees working more than a certain number of hours or, for paid parental leave, based on position.

In addition to our core benefits, we offer employees in the U.S. a wide range of programs to best support their needs and goals: life, critical illness and accident insurance; education assistance; mental health support; adoption assistance; discount childcare; emergency relief; matching charitable gifts; employee discount program; and virtual everyday urgent care, including a prescription drug discount program.


In Australia, all employees have access to retirement benefits, fully funded by employer contributions, as required by law. Additionally, we offer healthcare benefits, paid time off2 and parental leave to Corporate Staff and Company-owned restaurant employees working more than a certain number of hours.


In Canada, all employees have access to public healthcare funded by employer health tax. Additionally, we offer healthcare and retirement benefits as well as paid time off and parental leave to Corporate Staff and Company-owned restaurant employees working more than a certain number of hours.


In France, all employees are automatically enrolled in retirement benefits, provided for by law. Additionally, we offer healthcare benefits, paid time off and parental leave to Corporate Staff and Company-owned restaurant employees, as provided for by law or by Company agreements.


In Germany, all employees are covered by the comprehensive public healthcare system and automatically enrolled in retirement benefits provided for by law. Additionally, we offer paid time off and parental leave to Corporate Staff, Company-owned restaurant employees and employees of our majority-owned subsidiaries working more than a certain number of hours.

The U.K.

In the U.K., all employees are covered by the public healthcare system and automatically enrolled in retirement benefits provided for by law. Additionally, we offer paid time off and parental leave to Corporate Staff, Company-owned restaurant employees and employees of our majority-owned subsidiaries working more than a certain number of hours.


1 Franchisees are independent employers and select which of their employees attend Hamburger University.

2 Excludes casual workers. Casual workers in Australia do not have fixed work hours, receive a higher hourly rate and do not qualify for certain benefits as outlined.

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