58 min watch
Sep 14, 2022

The power of conversational recruiting: how McDonald’s replaced friction with automation.

Alexa Morse, McDonald's, discusses how conversational AI has transformed their hiring process.

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What if you could replace barriers and pain in your talent experience with conversations and high-touch interaction — without any more work?

Hear McDonald's Director of HR Operations and Execution, Alexa Morse, talk through using AI recruiting assistants to eliminate friction and replace it with conversation, keeping talent interested and freeing up recruiters.

Listen to hear how McDonald's:

  • Reduced time-to-hire by 60% 
  • Saved hiring managers 4-5 hours per week 
  • Doubled candidate flow

What if you could replace barriers and pain in your talent experience with conversations and high-touch interaction — without any more work?

Hear McDonald's Director of HR Operations and Execution, Alexa Morse, talk through using AI recruiting assistants to eliminate friction and replace it with conversation, keeping talent interested and freeing up recruiters.

Listen to hear how McDonald's:

  • Reduced time-to-hire by 60% 
  • Saved hiring managers 4-5 hours per week 
  • Doubled candidate flow

Meet the speakers.

Alexa Morse
Alexa Morse
Director of HR Operations and Execution, McDonald's

Lead of McDonald's USA restaurant hiring and staffing strategy, including the design and deployment of data-driven recruitment technology, marketing, and staffing tools.

Alexa Morse
Alexa Morse
Director of HR Operations and Execution, McDonald's

Lead of McDonald's USA restaurant hiring and staffing strategy, including the design and deployment of data-driven recruitment technology, marketing, and staffing tools.

Eleanor Vajzovic
Eleanor Vajzovic
VP, Strategic Solutions, Paradox

After beginning her career with the world’s largest HR Solutions company in 2006 and spearheading multiple digital transformation initiatives, Eleanor Vajzovic, VP, Strategic Solutions, is widely recognized as an industry expert operating at the forefront of the talent acquisition technology revolution. In her current role, Eleanor collaborates with Fortune 500 companies to help define their talent roadmaps and drive greater transformation through the implementation of Paradox’s AI recruiting assistant, Olivia.

Meet the speakers.

Alexa Morse
Alexa Morse
Director of HR Operations and Execution, McDonald's

Lead of McDonald's USA restaurant hiring and staffing strategy, including the design and deployment of data-driven recruitment technology, marketing, and staffing tools.

Alexa Morse
Alexa Morse
Director of HR Operations and Execution, McDonald's

Lead of McDonald's USA restaurant hiring and staffing strategy, including the design and deployment of data-driven recruitment technology, marketing, and staffing tools.

Eleanor Vajzovic
Eleanor Vajzovic
VP, Strategic Solutions, Paradox

After beginning her career with the world’s largest HR Solutions company in 2006 and spearheading multiple digital transformation initiatives, Eleanor Vajzovic, VP, Strategic Solutions, is widely recognized as an industry expert operating at the forefront of the talent acquisition technology revolution. In her current role, Eleanor collaborates with Fortune 500 companies to help define their talent roadmaps and drive greater transformation through the implementation of Paradox’s AI recruiting assistant, Olivia.

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Eleanor Vajzovic (00:03):

What solutions means at Paradox is that we get to work with franchise teams, fortune 500 teams, to work on their talent roadmaps. What does that look like from a process, people and technology perspective? And then bring it to life. And today, we're able to talk through, and I'm honored to share the stage, right? And share this, this moment with all of you to talk through the story of how the power of conversational recruiting really came to life between Paradox and McDonald's, right? And what does that mean? Y'all came here to the session because of the description, right? And also maybe a little teaser of what does McDonald's and Paradox have to do together, and what did they do, and how did they do that? And it's really about being able to take a look at the friction and the pain of application processes and find ways to alleviate that with more of a human connected touch through conversational experiences.


And so for the next 45 minutes or so, we're gonna take a few moments to kind of set the stage and talk about the problems, the solution, the results, and the impact. So we'll do a couple of slides, and then we're gonna sit down and do a little bit more of a behind the scenes peak. Right? There is a lot of questions that over the course of the, probably the last 12 to 18 months we've gathered, and we wanna share some of those answers, some of the kind of behind the scenes, little secrets and surprises that were uncovered through the plan, through the project, and through overall delivery and execution. And those are the things that you may not find via Google, you know, via blog post. And so that's really what we're hoping to share with you over the next four to five 50 minutes. You ready to get get started? Let's get started. All right.


So you know who we are. Now, what's the problem, right? From an from a industry perspective, you know, this is very much a kind of a visual of the restaurant experience, right? But when you take a look at understaffed restaurants, or you think of the, the, the pain that we're illustrating here, it might apply to your, to your job, to your sector, to your industry. But when we're talking through understaffed restaurants, we mean brought people to work, right? The the candidate pool is a little bit dry. You're having frustrated remaining staff because they're having to work a little bit extra shifts, right? We're stretching them a little bit to a late night, maybe a weekend, maybe a double, right? And so they're getting frustrated, they're feeling a little bit overworked and maybe a little strained, and you're getting some turnover because they're like, there has to be relief somewhere else, right?


And so what does that relief look like? Well, they go, they, they apply for other jobs, and they're probably getting something, maybe for a moment or two that's a, a relief from that pain. But what happens in a restaurant when the, when the ca when the employees turn over and they leave, they're slower ticket at times, you've probably all over the last year or two have been in longer drive-through lines and maybe spent a little bit longer in a, in a, in a queue. And so that poor customer experience, that wait time, the frustration and maybe a little bit more complaints and a little less patience has impacted your experience and your memory of that restaurant, right? And so what happens to that restaurant? You start losing people that go, the customers start to leave and maybe pick somewhere else, or maybe cook at home, maybe one of two times a week, and you have a de decrease in revenue. And so, while this is an illustration of the restaurant, like impact being over a billion dollar opportunity to solve this impacts customer service rules, warehouse distribution, almost every industry is being touched by this problem, right?

Alexa Morse (04:01):

We knew that problem had existed for some time for McDonald's. We were looking for ways to improve staffing, reduce turnover, and ultimately impact the entire employee experience starting with the candidate. So some of the things we were looking for back in 2019 when we started our search for what our next hiring products would be that there were some key things we wanted to achieve. The first was this idea of a generational skip. And what we mean by that is we didn't wanna make a 1% difference here, or maybe a, a 5% improvement. We wanted to make really big swings with 30% improvements, double the applications, and really push ourselves to deliver on an elevated candidate experience. So the first bullet here about speed wins. We thought about our customer experience. We know that most of our candidates, our customers in the restaurant, and what do our customers expect at McDonald's? They expect speed, they expect consistency, and they expect quality. They wanna be delighted. So we wanted to make sure that we were giving that experience along to our candidates as well. We also know candidates are applying to, in the hourly space, about three to five jobs at any given point. It's extremely competitive. So we wanted to be the fastest. We wanted to get them scheduled for interviews even faster, keep them engaged because it is such a competitive labor landscape out there.


The second is really focused on the hiring managers. As much as we were thinking about that candidate experience, we were thinking just as much about the hiring managers. Because for us in McDonald's restaurants, we don't have recruiters. We don't have big HR teams. It's really the general managers, and sometimes even people department managers, which is just a level below general managers in the restaurants. They're the ones doing the hiring, and they don't always have it, that they virtually never have HR backgrounds. So we needed to offer a solution to them that was not adding complexity to their day, but something that enabled more effectiveness as they were running the operations in their restaurants. And then lastly, we wanted to deliver really a gold standard experience for our candidates. And again, same thing for hiring managers. Make it simple on both sides. Make it fun for hiring managers to hire someone, not look at it like it's a chore. Look at it like they're bringing value to the restaurant in a way that's easy, in a way that's fun. But also keep it simple and make sure candidates also feel like they're getting a personalized experience. And even on the hiring manager side, we were looking for the same thing. And you'll see as we, as we chat through some of the great components of mc hire that personalized experience also translates to managers as well.

Eleanor Vajzovic (06:57):

So does that resonate with all of you, right? Do you have some of similar goals? Maybe a different industry, maybe the same industry, but you're thinking, oh my goodness, those are two of my strategic things I have to do this year. And so this is great. What great timing, Eleanor and Alexa <laugh>, and so you're welcome, <laugh>, but now we're gonna talk through a little bit more about the solution, right? So the next two slides are about the solution. What was the impact? What did we land on? And then what were some of the results? So then you can kind of get a baseline of what is possible when you set up with good partners and you have a singular vision in mind, right? So the first two points here is we ended up really building an end to end and co-design and co-creating an end to end hiring solution, right?


For 13,000 restaurants in US, Canada, and the uk. And we're continuing to expand. So yes, the, the world is great and there's a global opportunity, but we wanted to focus on, you know, what was in front of us and get those results so we can have a story. So we have the metrics, we have lessons learned, and then we can apply those out into the market. And then the, the talking about like generational skip, right? That incremental change. We could have made the application a little bit better on a form, but instead, or on a, on a desktop, assuming that everyone was still doing work on a desktop, but they're not, this candidate is on a mobile, everyone here is on a mobile. And so we made the experience mobile first. Not mobile responsive, but mobile first. And so that was a huge differentiator to the results that you'll see in the next couple slides.

Alexa Morse (08:36):

And mobile first was for both candidates, again, and hiring managers. So on this third bullet about automation, the, the hiring managers really got to experience just as many of the benefits of that. And of course continue to, to this day. So within the app and within desktop as well as iPads they can access applications. There's Q and A both ways for candidates and managers. Scheduling offers, onboarding. This is a fully integrated solution that can happen in the palm of a candidate's hand. And same, again, goes for those GMs in the restaurants that when they, when they have a break from helping out a customer, dealing with an issue in the drive-through, they can actually action and decision candidates right in the palm of their hand. And then last piece is just, just continuing to simplify that process. We've continued to hear great feedback on this.


Just there's several hours saved for for our hiring managers. And you know, that is one of our guiding principles across all of our people initiatives at McDonald's is to continue to push ourselves to reduce complexity so that the managers can ultimately spend more time on things that really matter in the restaurant. Not all the administrative stuff, but go spend time with customers, go spend more time to employees. And one piece I wanna emphasize here is when you see automation, sometimes we still have that kind of, that feeling of are we, are we taking out the human experience of something with automation? And if anything, I think we're adding to it. The automation helps us move faster in our hiring process. But what we're getting out of that is adding the human experience to offering an even more personalized interview process, engaging with the candidate in between steps, as well as, again, just getting back into the restaurant with the rest of the restaurant teams in this very tight labor environment when employee experience is at its most critical. And also, of course, helping customers.

Eleanor Vajzovic (10:43):

So now the slide, you've been waiting for the results, right? What, as you set out to have your strategic goals, and it's just like, what's a baseline for conversational ai? What does that look like? Well, this was a very aggressive and a very productive, right? Year plus together. And so these results are possible. We can attest to that. And we can, we'll be going through a little bit more, but this would be best for you to share for sure.

Alexa Morse (11:11):

Absolutely. So we launched McHire with the, the first batch of our restaurants in our franchisees restaurants in the last quarter of 2019. So many of our franchisees started using the platform right before the holidays. And since then we've just continued to see market improvement. You know, now we're seeing candidates get scheduled for interviews within three minutes. They're not waiting for someone to call them. A hiring manager, doesn't forget, have to find time to go find someone's application, find their phone number, call them, they don't pick up. I mean, we all know what that feeling is. And now for for both, both the candidates who can have that instant gratification of having an interview scheduled right away hiring managers can get a quick alert, you know, while they are out on the floor just to know that someone just got scheduled for an interview.


we also double the applications. We've, we've had a really, really great summer of hiring across McDonald's restaurants. And even last year when there were far fewer job seekers in the market, the speed of McHire really enabled us to execute well. And, you know I'd say handle some of the waters of the staffing pressures last summer with a little bit more ease. So we've been really, really pleased to double these applications, but that also impacts our ability to look even closer at the quality of talent that we're hiring to impact retention. The next piece, I think is where, you know, really the restaurants have felt this particular result the most is decreasing that time to hire. On our previous platform, it took upwards of 21, 22 days from the first time they engaged on the application to actually getting them to orientation.


And now there's many restaurants out there that they'll, they reg regularly and routinely higher within two days. Our average though, has improved well over 60%. So we continue to see progress month over month in this space as well. And then lastly just the amount of time being saved for our managers in the restaurant. They're getting four to five hours a week back, and that's four to five hours that they can spend recognizing their employees, assisting with customer challenges, thinking about how to improve the employee experience even more, reach out to candidates along the way. What it's doing is alleviating that really significant administrative burden in, in enabling better operations in the restaurant.

Eleanor Vajzovic (13:57):

Those are real. And so now we're gonna talk through just a little bit on, actually, sorry, we're just gonna talk a little bit more about how it all came to be, right? So this is the more of the behind the scenes look of if you were having a conversation with Alexa, right? And you had all these questions, what is she gonna tell you, right? Like, what was, what was really the, you know, the, the genesis? What was the strategy? How did a large corporation like McDonald's go through a change going from one system to an, not in not only an entirely different system, but a transformation of a process for candidates, hiring managers, and all the managers touching, right? That experience overall. And so all of those conversations, all of the, or all of the conversations, all of those questions will be kinda shared. And we'll dive into a few of those topics now. So, and then we'll also have time for q and a as well. So, we'll, we'll be keeping a little, you know, on, on the time check, but the first, right? So we talked a little bit about kind of the problems of the market, but specifically to the challenges for McDonald's to solve, and in the timeframe of 2019, I think everyone can kind of look back at that time. But what were some of those challenges you were looking to solve specifically in your role based on your feedback that you received from your leadership?

Alexa Morse (15:25):

Sure. So in the back half of the 2000 tens who remembers the workforce Cliff? Its kind of the, the precursor to great resignation, the quiet, quitting, you know, workforce Cliff was definitely the buzzword. You know, 20 17, 20 18 or so, that's what really drove us to look towards a new solution that could differentiate McDonald's from our competitors. Not just in the quick service restaurant space, but the retail space and capture even more candidates. So when we were thinking about how can we address this impending issue we know is coming, we know that demand is going to exceed supply. And here we are today too, where there's two open jobs for every one person looking. We needed a way to hire quality talent even faster. Internally though, we were also thinking about our digital ambitions as a brand, as a company, we as many of you have hopefully experienced, we were digitizing many aspects of our customer experience.


with our mobile app, with Mac delivery, we wanted to also translate that digital strategy to our employees and also to our candidates. So that's where the solution with Paradox came in as well. Our platform at the time, it was still, it was digital. And it, you know, it was fine <laugh>. It's, it's, it, it, it worked I think for some, some candidates. But it wasn't, it was lengthy. The dropoff rate was significant. Even, you know, two, two outta five candidates were still dropping off. And now, you know, we've been able to improve that significantly up to about only maybe one in 10. But that, that was a problem we knew we had to address if we wanted to really beat this, this impending workforce cliff that was coming. So ultimately it, it was a tough labor market. But then Olivia, Olivia showed up. And at, at first, I think, you know, we, we were a little intimidated by, by the idea of putting AI in restaurants, but of course, you know, we, we, we've really been able to enjoy a lot of success with this and would love to share more more about that too, too. Yeah.

Eleanor Vajzovic (17:49):

Well, and I think that's a, that's a topic probably for everyone. And we're all coming back into HR tech. You walk the expo floor, you see a lot of buzzwords, a lot of technology that's come in over the last couple of years even, and other technologies that have kind of remained and stayed, right? But when it comes to the, the words automation or AI being introduced into a process, like what were, you know, I think probably a few questions here from across the room too. Is that what led you to choosing this solution when there's so many options out there, right? I think would be helpful.

Alexa Morse (18:24):

Definitely. And that's where we go back to speed, consistency and knowing what the unlocks were to capture more candidates out there in the market. So we were definitely excited about ai. I'd be lying if we weren't a little nervous, though. Our restaurants are so different across the country. They're in very different stages. You know, not everyone was very upskilled in, in technology. We had many, many restaurants still using paper applications a few years ago. So this was going to be a really significant transformation. But we were excited by the challenge, and we really felt confident in Paradox as a partner because they listened to us as we were, you know, as we were really learning more about how we could integrate conversational AI into our people experience process. We were also onboarding Paradox to the complex world that that is McDonald's. And it is complex. We, we have corporate owned restaurants, we have franchisees, and that's continued to grow with McHire going live in some other markets. But ultimately, we wanted to deliver a unique experience that left a candidate feeling like it was very differentiated. They felt like they were truly cared about and not just another number that a hiring manager was going to look out for at some time in the future.

Eleanor Vajzovic (19:55):

Fair, fair. And one of the other things, right? Like when you've selected you, you know what your problem is pretty well, now, you've selected a partner to hopefully build with, develop a relationship with, and kind of create something amazing together, and you create a plan, right? And so a lot of times it's like, what does that actually look like in reality? Is what does that implementation and design process look like, especially for companies that have never done that before? An ats, a crm, sure, right? Career sites great. But what does conversa like in introducing conversational, you know, technology or an assistant? What does that look like from an implementation and design process? From, from your perspective and experience?

Alexa Morse (20:38):

Yes. Well, from the start, everyone was aligned on what we needed to accomplish, who we were serving, who our many stakeholders were and ultimately how that was fitting into this larger business strategy with elevating the digital presence in restaurants. So designing the solution was a really collaborative effort with Paradox, but also with many of our franchisees. We work with a core group of our franchisees in the US that are kind of the, the people experts. So they really helped co-create this platform all together with this team. Many of my friends in the audience today were very well integrated in that. And they, they will tell you too, it, it was constant change, constant learning a lot of feedback to be taken from the many stakeholders involved. But ultimately, you know, it, we, we came together to deliver something that both worked for McDonald's corporate owned restaurants, but also gave our franchisees the ability to customize the needs the needs for their restaurant with Mackay.


and that's really where the diversity of our restaurants come into play. Some restaurants get tons of applications and they need a few more screens before they interview someone. Others may not get as many, maybe some in rural areas. And this really gave them the confidence that they could customize this and also know that other owner operators were looking out for them. And were part of that build process, which also helped build trust along the way. The last piece I would say is that although it was, we, we did a very, I, I'd say rapid build, looking back on it. But but we did test extensively. We piloted in several different markets around the US from metropolitan areas to rural areas, both coasts and everything in between so that we could really learn and make tweaks along the way so that when we did deliver and we were ready for more of that full launch we were delivering a, you know, a, an MVP that was you know, very, I'd say elevated and really excited a lot of operators as they were going into the next year.

Eleanor Vajzovic (23:00):

Well, and we talked a little bit about that, right? Like, I think you'll, you'll, you're hearing the themes of feedback and iterative, like rollouts and getting that feedback and applying it to the next, right? And the next, and the next when we, when we're encountering a project like that. But change is change. So even if you start with one person and introduce that change, or you speak to 250 people and you introduce that change, change is going to be reflected and receive differently, right? And so when we're talking about a large corporation, or when we're talking about complex systems or different stakeholders across the, the way, can you help a little bit and and share a little bit more about the context, cuz maybe there's some relatable experiences here when you're trying to introduce something to a larger size or a complex organization and, and how you approach change management through the journey,

Alexa Morse (23:52):

Right? Yes, and change management was our key priority from the start. It wasn't just about getting leadership buy-in at McDonald's, but it was about, as I mentioned, getting the buy-in of those franchisees, getting the buy-in of our field, HR partners of our general managers in the restaurant. So buy-in itself was, it was really agnostic of level, and we were most focused on who kind of the primary end users were. While also making sure that some of the people that they answer to, like, like the franchisees in our system were really confident behind the product. So we did partner with this group of owner operators as well as folks from our corporate owned restaurants to come together and really build what we want that ideal candidate, fully integrated experience to, to look like and feel like for the candidate.


not that we didn't want kind of the traditional, very segmented experience of applying, waiting for the interview call. Maybe it will never come waiting for an offer letter. We wanted that very consistent experience for the candidate throughout and made sure it was mobile first. So it being able to introduce this solution from early on was also one of the key enablers I think that helped us get off the ground quickly when we ultimately deployed mackay was that we didn't wait to to talk about it. We wanted to get people excited about digital from the start. We wanted to get them excited about the possibilities, and most importantly, we wanted to show how this was going to be easier for them and really impact their day to day in a way that made other parts of their job easier. The other, you know, the, the other piece I would just mention here is how we, how we also not just thought about how we got the information to the general managers, but everyone that would touch this tool along the way.


So we conducted train the trainers with our field HR teams. Paradox came out to some of our larger corporate events to start talking about McHire and getting feedback months and months before we even deployed. And because we had that open door policy for feedback with all of the different stakeholders along the way, people were bought in, they felt like they were part of the creation. And then you know, I, I think our, our waves of deployment were rapidly, rapidly filling up. So ultimately I think change management, focusing on that from the very beginning in a very holistic way, was a really big key to some of our early success.

Eleanor Vajzovic (26:40):

Yeah, that's amazing. And, and I think, think that's, that's like what we hope for, right? Like when you're, when you're reading about a, a case study or a client experience and, and that story, it's like you wanna see all those pieces come into play, right? There is a problem, there's a solution, there is the result, and then a plan, and then the execution of that plan, and then ratings and feedback that are in the 99 percentile, right? And so, but along the way, as we kind of map this journey and map this story, were there surprises, right? Things that you didn't anticipate, things that maybe were pleasant surprises, not all surprises are, you know, good bad in, in the middle, but just things that you didn't account for, even though you hope to plan for everything.

Alexa Morse (27:26):

I'll share a couple. The, the first I would say is I don't know if I would deploy right basically during the holidays, a month before Global Pandemic starts. But <laugh>


Good notes considered. It did go pretty well, <laugh>. But no be beyond that. I think the evolution of the tool and the support provided along the way from the Paradox team has really enabled mc hire to have a great reputation for Paradox to have a great reputation particularly with the owner operators at of McDonald's restaurants in the US and in our other markets as well. You know, one, one thing that we were challenged with, of course, in 2020 was so much unknown, so much uncertainty. And immediately we got to work on building a fully contactless hiring process. So video interviews were were set up in just a few months, fully integrated within the tool. And it was a homegrown solution actually, which I think just made it easier and just enhanced that candidate experience even more that they didn't have to go to, you know, some other site.


But they got to experience everything from engaging with Olivia, having a video interview getting an offer and being pre boarded really all before their first day. And they didn't have to go into a restaurant. I mean, and, and this is coming from just a few years ago, most people didn't get hired at McDonald's without at least filling out the application in the restaurant, then maybe coming back for an interview. And this in this scenario, folks were getting hired, you know, truly within, within hours. At that point. I think some other things that have also have also really surprised us is just it, it has upskilled how the, our hiring managers managers in the restaurant are feeling comfortable in this digital landscape. It's really as, and that affects our larger business strategy. That's not just our people initiatives, but it's helping them feel comfortable in an area that maybe they weren't feeling as comfortable in a couple years ago.


so it's, it's establishing a lot of those baseline skills, but they're often coming to us and asking for enhancements. And that continues to help with our change management process. People continue to feel bought in. They're excited to learn. They're excited when a new enhancement comes out. And even in the first year, we launched 14 enhancements, which you know, sounds like it could be complex, but ultimately these were the things that people asked for. And they were, they were really excited to get them. The other piece I would just say is, you know, sometimes I feel like hiring managers forget that Olivia isn't a real person, <laugh> and Olivia's their best friend. And I mean, she is the hardest working person at McDonald's though, 24 7, 365 days a year <laugh>. So she, she is scheduling candidates at all hours of the day. So overall, I think that that particularly has been a great experience on the candidate side and the hiring manager side.

Eleanor Vajzovic (30:42):

I love that. Love that. And I think one of the stories I, I'll share a little story that was a wonderful, like, surprise and, and experience where, you know, through like one of the stories that just came out of, for one of the rollouts was was a, a car full of teenagers, goes into the drive through, sees the sign at the start of the drive through lane, right? And they're just like, they're hiring that as a job. You just have to text. So then they text, they text to Olivia and they go through the screening conversation, you know, are you able to work? You know, are you open to multiple shifts? Can you work weeknights? And, you know, and do you love McDonald's? Well, obviously I'm in the drive through right now, right? And so it's like, yes, this is what's happening.


And by the end of the, the, the order receiving, you know, receiving and paying for the food, they're scheduled and confirmed for an interview. And that's a three minute experience, right? And so that story, when we heard that and we shared that, and it was a, a, a beautiful way to show, okay, this is how far we've come through the project, through the exploration of what works, what doesn't, what can be tweaked. And then seeing that impact is, you know, a powerful of teenagers getting a maybe their first job, right? And starting their journey and starting their story. And I love those moments of kind of delight as well.

Alexa Morse (32:00):

Absolutely. But that was from the passenger side. Yes. No one tucks and drives.

Eleanor Vajzovic (32:05):

That's true. Very good point. And then when it comes to, you know, we, we have a little bit of a glimpse of some of the results, right? But there were other results that maybe you wanna highlight from from the candidate experience or the interview feedback or anything else that you'd like to share just relating to other results that maybe you didn't account for and over the last few years have really been able to target a success criteria or, or, or new metrics right, to consider now that we have Olivia?

Alexa Morse (32:37):

Absolutely. I, I think one of the first things that comes to mind is just looking at that dropoff rate. And I remember when I started at McDonald's our dropoff rate was, I think in the low or i, I guess high 30% actually. So we had about 60% of candidates or so coming through the process. And with mc hire, that has just changed immensely. Really about 90% of candidates do ultimately complete their pre-screen with Olivia and can immediately get scheduled for an interview. So the response from candidates, I think has been really, really positive. And we even see it within the platform because they can actually go in, continue to text, text Olivia, but the hiring manager can respond as well so they can continue to engage, get information on their first day if they need it. And that has really, I think also helped helped with some other metrics and just showing up to orientation even in this, again, very challenging labor market as well.


the, I think some of the other highlights I would share is also with managers building some of those strong habits during excuse me, using the mobile app. That's been really transformative. Again, it helps to upscale grow comfortability with digital digital platforms. I think another, another really interesting result for us, or I guess outcome recently is how we use data. The data that we receive from the Paradox platform is very easy to read. It's very simple to draw very quick actionable insights. So an example of that actually was last year when we, we noticed that, you know, we were, we were getting a good application flow, but it was not converting to interviews. So, you know, what did that tell us? It meant that hiring managers were not inputting their availability in. So that gave us this idea to implement a no availability alert.


So again, really collaborative effort between our franchisees Paradox our core team in McDonald's hr, and you know, in just a couple months since that alert was implemented, which basically lets hiring managers know when they've run out of availability so they can op quick, open up their phone, put more in we were able to improve that metric by about 10, 15% in, in just a month or two. So when we talk about bringing more quality talent into the organization all these little pieces come together to do that, but in a way that's simple for hiring managers, using things like nudge technology that really help them just make their jobs easier so that again, they can go and focus on some of those other really critical situations that come, come up in, in the restaurant. And then the, the last piece too, I would say is how we've been able to apply learnings from developing, launching, continuing to enhance mc hire with our other people initiatives.


so we, we don't always have large, large multiple change initiatives throughout the year. If not the managers in the restaurants really would <laugh> fire back at us. But I, I think the great thing is that we've, we learned so much through this change management process. And of course we made some mistakes along the way to learn from, but we've been able to translate that to other people initiatives and enable success and things like recruitment marketing or our listening, employee listening strategies. You know, we're, we're able to basically take, take all of those learnings in how we communicate to all these different stakeholders that all need different kinds of communication and all need different messaging and help drive success across the full people strategy.

Eleanor Vajzovic (36:40):

Right? And actually, that, that kind of leads into, say you have the, you have the, the candidate hired, right? When we're talking through pre-boarding and we're talking through those gentle nudges, right? To get them from offer to then day one, and starting to think through that experience too, because now they've had an assistant all the way through the hiring process, and then all of a sudden, you know, you, you don't have anyone <laugh> to, to help you with the paperwork and to help you to get to your orientation and to training day one. But when we are thinking about that experience, right, and we're, you're starting to navigate through, okay, what's the next set of problems we wanna tackle and the next level of strategy we wanna go through, like, what does the future look like when it comes to the next, you know, that next evolution, do we pull a little bit more to the right, you know, as far as the experience goes?

Alexa Morse (37:30):

Yeah, I mean, it's all about experience again, on both that candidate to new employee to manager side. So you know, we, we know the managers love Olivia, it's their best friend. So how can we, you know, how can we set up more play dates with Olivia, basically <laugh> later on in the process? But that, that is exactly what we're thinking about is how do we add more engagement touchpoints, continue to improve that candidate through day one. Maybe beyond that experience. And even, and I go back to that idea of thinking about retention from the beginning of the recruitment process. So we did Imple, implement tradify, which is the Paradox personality hiring assessment. It's been able to give us some interesting insights on you know, who really could be kind of that, that best crew person or that best shift manager. And that's all really tailored for every specific role when they, when they take those assessments. So we wanna grow from that as well and continue to elevate what that quality of talent looks like that are coming into coming into the restaurants

Eleanor Vajzovic (38:43):

That I won't, I won't get you started on, on tray fi and talking through a little bit more of that, that we can leave that for another moment. But when it comes down to the last five minutes or so of the, the conversation, we wanted to kind of highlight if you were to take away, right, if for the, for, for our friends here, right? Like, if they could take away a few things from the conversation, you know, what would you want those bullet points to be, right? From your experience, from the project, from the launch, from the future. Yeah. What would you like to share and, and make sure they kind of note?

Alexa Morse (39:17):

So the first one probably won't be a surprise. It's, it's change management. We cannot emphasize this enough. It, this has really continued to be, I think that the core of how we enhance McHire and think about what the future of mackay looks like. So involving, involving your stakeholders, thinking about the next step. They might not be your direct stakeholder, but who is that next direct stakeholder of yours? Who are they touching? Who are they talking about the platform to? How do they need help influencing? So thinking about that entire web and equipping them with the knowledge and the confidence they need while also giving them the opportunity to get feedback and really be open to that and have a growth mindset about just consistent improvement based on your, your end users. That I think is one of the strongest, strongest takeaways from our experience building and, and really executing McHire.


And then of course, by the end of that, you know, they really know what to expect. You've brought them along the journey the entire way. They're ready to use the tool again right away. So you can start seeing those results immediately rather than, again, waiting for that change curve to, to come to fruition. The, the next one I'd say is to never stop thinking about that user experience on both sides. Candidate experience is incredibly important but it's really about the human experience and every person's interaction with this tool. Whether, you know, you're an admin user or you are the manager using the, using the app every day to check on your hiring processes and manage your staffing right in the palm of your hand, really. Or, you know, on the candidate side, of course you know, this, this labor market is not getting any easier, especially in the hourly space and how how to differentiate in that market.


Of course, we'll come down to how the candidate feels and making yourself really the place they wanna work. And then the last piece is, is data. I think hopefully everyone in this room, I mean, the people analytics we're getting now is so much better than it was four or five years ago. But especially with this tool, it, it's been very, it's, it's, it's been pretty simple to be able to draw actionable insights quickly and ultimately optimize the platform and build capabilities with end users. So it's really those three things. I'd say change management, keep using data to optimize, and then never forget about the entire user experience.

Eleanor Vajzovic (42:05):

Oh, thank you. Thank you for, for sharing those takeaways. Thank you for sharing a little bit about the, the, the conversational ex, like the exploration right from problem to solution set to real results that have made an impact over the last one, two years of the last few chapters of, of the McDonald's story and, and really taking the time to, to, to share those insights and, and hopefully have been relatable and, and something that you all can take away from. But when it comes down to, I think the next few minutes, I mean, we do have a few minutes to, to go through any open questions or, or open dialogue, and we're happy to, to take some time as well. And we'll go Yes, please.

Audience #1 (42:56):

For our position.

Eleanor Vajzovic (42:59):

Can we, for McDonald's or, or in general? Oh, okay. So first for for Alexa, then I'm happy to share from Paradox.

Alexa Morse (43:10):

Thanks. So Olivia, at McDonald's, we do use the full kind of end to end Olivia process in, in the restaurant. So Olivia manages essentially everything from helping the candidates fill out the application to completing a digital offer and getting them onboarded. We did launch a brand new career site earlier this month. We have some fantastic audience members that built that, but it's it's powered by Paradox, so it's fully integrated and apparently the corporate team liked it. So the corporate team now is using Olivia on their site as well as some of our other markets.

Eleanor Vajzovic (43:50):

And then from a, a general use case from we target both segments of hourly and professional hiring. So some of our hiring can be done right with, with clients like Pfizer and Nestle and a few of those larger. So it's, depending on what the use cases are, we can automate scheduling, communications status movement, and, and work through some of your, your problem sets. So it's open to majority of the candidates. And yes.

Audience #1 (44:19):

I'm curious what did, from a diversity and representation perspective as you went through this, and can talk a little bit about how you're mitigating bias throughout the, what you consider as you, as we look at these really impress results.

Alexa Morse (44:35):

Sure. Absolutely. So I think one of the great things about mc hire is that it inherently mitigates bias because Olivia is assessing the candidate on our basic qualification questions. So they're, she's not looking at, you know, a candidate's name. They're not meeting in person. Candidates are purely being scheduled for interviews based on their ability to meet the minimum qualifications for the job. Same thing with the trade I hiring assessment. That's another way that we've been able to also mitigate bias and identify who those best candidates are for the interview and ultimately the hiring process. And to even more broadly though, with, with our new career site, it's really an awesome opportunity to demonstrate our DEI initiatives, the, and truly just the diversity in our restaurants. And we're really excited to as we look ahead towards the future, continue to tell that story and really enhance the content on our website to demonstrate that.

Audience #2 (45:37):

Oh, thank

Audience #1 (45:38):

You. Do you see the regulations around AI and hiring impacting process at all?

Alexa Morse (45:46):

I can start or so we, we are exploring some of that right now. Ultimately, I think with the due diligence that has really been performed by the Paradox team, we aren't expecting a lot of impact to our processes as it stands today. We've continued to of course heavily monitor, you know, how the regulations are changing and ensuring that our platform is not in conflict with that. But so far we just really continue to see benefits. And it, the other thing I would say too is that AI is not making any hiring decisions for the restaurants. It's ultimately up to a human being to make the hiring decisions in those, in those restaurants.

Eleanor Vajzovic (46:30):

And we can always talk a little bit more about that, but but that's the, that's, that's exactly it, is that we're, we're focused mainly on the national language processing, right? So being able to interpret and receive, right, versus making, receiving the information and decisioning and selecting yes.

Audience #2 (46:54):


Audience #1 (46:54):

So you're 99% plus can satisfaction, how are you getting that? Is that Paradox like a survey after they applied or?

Alexa Morse (47:04):

Exactly. So we've surveyed candidates and actually multiple points during the hiring process. So we've surveyed them at the end of the application process, maybe before their interview, also at the end of the onboarding process. So that's how we've gained those candidate satisfaction scores. We've also been able to survey on a couple other metrics. Back in 2020, 2021, we launched a short survey to understand how McDonald's candidates felt about safety at McDonald's. And that gave us really good insight in, you know, a very kind of cautious time around that to understand how we were also viewed as an employer when it came to safety, especially.

Eleanor Vajzovic (47:48):

And with the ratings and feedback we can kind of schedule it from an automation perspective in those moments of truth, right, those moments that matter or or just in general feedback, you're, you're looking to test one aspect of something and you wanna get feedback immediately, and it's deliverable through SMS or, or email?

Audience #2 (48:09):


Audience #1 (48:12):

I mentioned that begin with the

Audience #2 (48:18):

Improvements in retention?

Alexa Morse (48:22):

Sorry, I think that is the last half of that question. Have we seen kind of improvements in, in retention? Yes. Yeah. So I, I think that we, we have started to see some overall improvements with retention over the last several months. Now how we can exactly point it back to different, different programs, I think that's where it gets complicated. Retention is going to be very different in every restaurant, every organization. But the, the opportunity to review that with the tradify platform is really interesting for us to be able to ultimately measure, you know, are those best candidates staying longer? So, so we have seen a couple interesting metrics there, particularly on the shift manager side when they, you know, when they take that assessment. I think ultimately there's, there's so much opportunity there too. And one thing I didn't mention in our, in our talk today, but I'd say is really important is continued education of how to use the platform. And in the hourly space, you know, this is a high turnover industry. We can't forget that there are new users all the time. And there's of course, you know, new menu items, new operational processes, so that education of using these different features are also important.

Audience #2 (49:43):

Yeah, that's true. Oh,

Eleanor Vajzovic (49:46):

Oh here first and then we'll navigate through a triangle.

Audience #1 (49:51):

How do you use tradify

Alexa Morse (49:56):

To use tradify? Yeah, sure. So we, we use tradify in our McDonald's corporate owned restaurants, and then a handful of franchisees are also using tradify. There's a few different ways that we have trained them. And we, we generally use a combination of this throughout the year. So we we do train the trainers with our field HR teams that they can go out and they're the folks that are ultimately going into the restaurants and helping to train the GMs. They're delivering a lot of that training. We hosted many open sessions for GMs to come and learn the tool as well. Paradox also graciously host office hours so that they can come in, ask questions, and learn more about some tips and tricks of the tool. And then very similar on the owner operator side we do host some larger trainings, but Paradox does a really great job of sitting down with the, or the organization signing up and helping them understand how to best use the tool.

Audience #1 (51:03):

I actually, two questions. Was this implemented at all on the US outside the us and if so, any nuances in that market compared to the us?

Alexa Morse (51:14):

Yeah, so we, we started in the so we, we launched in the US at the end of 2019. And there, there are nuances in every market, especially in the us our franchisees they have kind of full control over which people programs and initiatives that they implement in their restaurant. So it's up to them if they wanna use Mackay. But we are at about a 92% adoption rate in the us. It is different in other markets. And there are, you know, several different nuances for that. So Canada has actually launched in the last year. I, I, the dream team is here actually <laugh> if you need if you need more, more detail, if you need the detailed scoop after. But there were absolutely nuances in Canada. Some nuances to consider in the uk. But ultimately, you know, the, the core functionality of the platform is pretty consistent across the markets.

Audience #1 (52:08):

And the second question how people help the applications, it's always necessarily a good thing it's the right applicant. So can talk a little bit more about that layer between applic to, to the hiring and that trust hiring the right to

Alexa Morse (52:29):

Yeah, absolutely. So, and this is usually going to be very restaurant specific, sometimes organization or, or specific franchise. But to your point there, there are some restaurants that, you know, they don't need 60 applications a month, but you know, they do receive them. So we do provide specific guidance in those scenarios and that's where the customization of the platform is so important and so helpful to a lot of those restaurants in particular because they can add additional filters, additional screening before that candidate gets scheduled to interview. There's other, there's other ways to also get a sense of, of the candidate before they come into the restaurant. So many choose to use video interviews or they'll set up a quick phone interview. So that's generally how we, we kind of help manage the restaurants that kind of are fortunate enough to be able to really look at that quality of talent.

Eleanor Vajzovic (53:33):

For sure.

Audience #1 (53:43):


Eleanor Vajzovic (53:46):

And for that one, I'll just repeat the question. So the question was around integrations. Was there a specific integration? Oh, inter wait. Iteration. Iteration. Thank you. So I'm glad I repeated cuz I would've gone into an integration conversation <laugh>, and that would've either been wow to some and not so out to others. So iterations, so as far as like process, like what did we, from a rollout perspective, I'm glad I repeated that. Thank you.

Alexa Morse (54:15):

That it's a great question. I wouldn't say it's a one size fits all. I think with the breadth of enhancements that have been developed over the last couple of years some are really helpful to some organizations, some are more helpful to others. I know there's some that, you know, they can't live without video interviewing. They, they really rely on it to identify the best quality talent for their restaurants. There's others that you know, we, we, we implemented kind of a filtering tool and that really helped hiring managers stay organized. Others, you know, can't say enough about trade afi. So it kind of depends on who you talk to and what those specific organizational needs are

Eleanor Vajzovic (55:01):

Better than an integration question. Yeah, that's <laugh> right over here.

Audience #1 (55:06):

How do you draw awareness to jobs...

Eleanor Vajzovic (55:12):

How do you bring awareness to jobs or hard to fill roles like in those markets and markets or and build the candidate pools? Yeah!

Alexa Morse (55:23):

So Eleanor touched on this a little bit, but text to apply is a really great driver of applications. Text to apply gets used in all kinds of different ways, particularly along the drive through path. Again, we're, we're capturing a lot of our customers as candidates. So they're seeing that text to apply code, right? As they're going through the drive through or, you know, they pick up their meal and they, they find a, a fun card that lists all the great benefits that McDonald's offers with a quick text code to apply. So that's one way. A lot of our recruitment marketing, again is around in and around the restaurant. And then again, at more of a localized level, that degree of recruitment marketing will, will change. There, there's many markets that rely heavily on Indeed, they see a lot of great benefits come out of that.


there's, there's others that use more digital optimization. see our french shakers shakers here, so they, they help us out a lot with that. But you know, the, the other piece too is just our, our career site. a lot of folks come to McDonald's dot com. They're familiar with the brand. We also try to leverage some of our other digital channels when possible, like our global mobile app or even packaging. so we, we do kind of pull on all levers and it, it does differ for every market, but there's of course different times of year too that most, most markets invest more

Eleanor Vajzovic (56:52):

One in the back!

Audience #1 (56:53):

How is...

Alexa Morse (57:00):

We do not have any recruiters <laugh>. So I think that that's kind of the, you know, one of the wow factors with, with this story is you know, we, we did formerly have a, a couple recruiters that supported management positions at our corporate owned restaurants only. And there are some, you know, very large franchise organizations that do use recruiters to support with hiring. But it's actually, you know, it's, it's not something that we've really found necessary just given Olivia's ability to quickly schedule interviews.

Eleanor Vajzovic (57:37):

And for, on the Paradox side, if you do have a centralized model, a recruiting or coordinator model, we do have solution models that, that support that. So where that impact is, is between 30 to probably 40% reduction in manual like movement tracking for scheduling, for you know, for, for communication. So that's where we, we make that impact for those teams. Yeah, happy to. And so with that, thank you so much for the time. Thank you so much for, for being so engaged and hopefully, you know, through this conversation, through this story you have a few takeaways and, and learnings that you can apply into your everyday. So we appreciate you all. Thank you. Thank you!

Olivia assists hiring managers in 20,000+ quick-service restaurants nationwide.

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The power of conversational recruiting: how McDonald’s replaced friction with automation.

Sep 14, 2022

Meet the speakers.

Alexa Morse
Alexa Morse
Director of HR Operations and Execution, McDonald's

Lead of McDonald's USA restaurant hiring and staffing strategy, including the design and deployment of data-driven recruitment technology, marketing, and staffing tools.

Eleanor Vajzovic
Eleanor Vajzovic
VP, Strategic Solutions, Paradox

After beginning her career with the world’s largest HR Solutions company in 2006 and spearheading multiple digital transformation initiatives, Eleanor Vajzovic, VP, Strategic Solutions, is widely recognized as an industry expert operating at the forefront of the talent acquisition technology revolution. In her current role, Eleanor collaborates with Fortune 500 companies to help define their talent roadmaps and drive greater transformation through the implementation of Paradox’s AI recruiting assistant, Olivia.

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