John Moreland, one of the largest employers of Southern Illinois, understands the importance of offering employees opportunities for growth.
Moreland, who owns 14 McDonald’s restaurants in McDonald’s with Mary Moreland and Stephanie Bishop (the Moreland/Bishop Organization), has encouraged and supported his employees to take part in Archways to Opportunity. The Moreland/Bishop Organization has seen more participants in the program than any other McDonald’s restaurant. The program has attracted 75 employees, three of whom have received their high school diplomas.
Competitive edge and better benefits
Stephanie Bishop, Moreland’s little girl, said that they find offering the two-year old program rewarding because it gives them the opportunity to give their employees opportunities and an incentive to stay with the company.
Bishop stated, “From an employer perspective, to be in a position to offer your employees high-school diploma tuition is important to us, and to see them improve themselves as a person.” Bishop said, “It’s really helped our stay competitive out there.” “Jobs can be competitive. It has helped us with our turnover. We use the Archways benefit in sit-down interviews (which we call stay interviews) to get [employees] back to work with us, instead of going to a factory job.
Employees should be offered opportunities that meet their needs
The Archways to Opportunity program stands out among all other employers that offer tuition reimbursement, according to Barb Mileur, Moreland/Bishop Training and development Director.
Participants in Career Online High School can earn a high school diploma at their own pace, on their own schedule, and completely online. Mileur explained that this allows them to work and take care their families while earning their diploma online.
They don’t need to have a certain grade point average, log a certain amount of hours or anything like that. This is often necessary for tuition. Mileur stated that once they realize that working at McDonald’s can help them get assistance, it’s a big help. We were shocked at the number of people who needed high school diplomas. They’re thrilled.
“They were thrilled that they were allowed that opportunity and didn’t have to attend a class five days per week. They could also work.”
Mileur said that employees who are part of the college tuition assistance program find that working at McDonald’s allows them to balance their work and school schedules. 20 employees have been a part of the program for two consecutive years.
As they grow, it is important to retain and promote employees
In addition to the other benefits, Bishop/Moreland can often find a job in management for college-educated employees.
Mileur stated, “Those are people who tend not to stay on through college. So we can get them in management.”
Moreland stated that the Moreland/Bishop Organization has a 70% retention rate, which is more than twice the average retention rate for restaurants in the region. Moreland stated that Archways to Opportunity is a key factor in this success rate.
Encourage participation by educating employees, and showcasing successes
Moreland stated that he attributes Moreland/Bishop’s high participation in Archways to Opportunity on their constant promotion and on a mentorship program that they have established to coach employees through the program.
Information about the program is shared with new employees during training. Sign-up sheets and posters are displayed in Moreland/Bishop’s restaurant. Photos of employees who have received their tuition reimbursement checks are posted to the company’s Facebook page. Each restaurant has a designated “point person” who can help anyone with questions about Archways to Opportunity.
Bishop stated that the greatest supporters of the program are the employees who have participated in it and are given the chance to share their experiences.
Bishop stated that there has been excitement at the restaurant since they know how much they have received and are eager to help others. “It really helps to gain momentum when you find the main person, and it really carries through the restaurant.”
Employee morale can be improved by offering meaningful benefits
Mileur stated that employees have found a surprising benefit from being able to share their successes with others. This has resulted in employee enthusiasm, pride, and satisfaction.
She said, “That really builds their buy in to the restaurant. Doing something for someone else is really what makes them feel good.” “That’s really what you want.”