Mario Jušić, McDonald’s Hrvatska: “We are proud that all employees have the same opportunity for advancement, regardless of their formal education”

We employ about 2,000 employees and we believe that they are the key to our success. That is why we pay a lot of attention to their education and motivation, enabling them to coordinate work and private life and thus achieve their full potential. We are proud because every employee has the same opportunity to progress, regardless of their formal education.

I have been in McDonald’s since the company beginnings in Croatia, since 1995. At that time, the first McDonald’s restaurant in Croatia was not yet open. I started as a staff trainer, with training in Maribor. After returning to Croatia and the opening of the first restaurant, I continued training new staff. I first worked in Jurišićeva as a floor manager, then as an assistant at the Vrbani restaurant and at the Pothodnik restaurant. While working at the restaurant, I was already in charge of staff training. In 1998, I became the manager of the restaurant in Kruge, and I stayed there for the following three years.

Since 2001, I have been at the function of Human resource manager. While working on the Board, I went through a big number of educations within the region and at Hamburger Universities around the world. Out of all the educations, the one that helped me the most was the lesson learned about the process of leadership.


Please list a few introductory information about your organization.

We have been creating joint memories in Croatia since February 1996, when the first McDonald’s was opened in Zagreb’s Jurišićeva Street. Since then, we have become a favourite place to enjoy delicious burgers, to socialize with coffee and cake, for family moments and fun, and our successful history has brought us to 30 restaurants in 12 Croatian cities.

We employ about 2,000 employees and we believe that they are the key to our success. That is why we pay a lot of attention to their education and motivation, enabling them to coordinate work and private life and thus achieve their full potential. We are proud because every employee has the same opportunity to progress, regardless of their formal education.


Part of the management at McDonald’s Hrvatska stemmed from the company itself, which is a confirmation that you provide employees with opportunities for advancement and career development. Can you tell us more about that?

It has been a long time since a saying was coined that McDonald’s best product was not served in buns, but rather that it is its people, the employees. The training system is known outside McDonald’s as much it is known, if not even more, inside McDonald’s itself. The development of potential and investing in people is a continuous process through which we promote employees, who over time take over managerial positions within restaurants and within the management.

More than 50% of the total number of colleagues from the management came from the restaurants, where they, in a way that was just described, developed their potentials that got recognized at a certain moment, when they were offered the opportunity to continue their work within one of the management departments.

Those who have not been recruited from the restaurants have to undergo training at the restaurants so that they can be a better support for them. The training is designed to include the same elements as is does for the employees who will stay in the restaurants. It lasts one month, and the new management employee has to go through all the positions in the restaurant to get a wider picture. The idea is that management staff can only be a support to the restaurants if they know what work in restaurants entails, and the training process itself serves as a useful estimate of the attitude and the way of thinking of the new employee. Understanding the daily life of a restaurant is essential for someone to be part of the team at any level.


Which models enable the best employees to stay in the company and also their satisfaction?

McDonald’s employs employees who have different motivations which is why they expect different benefits from the employer – from students to whom this is the first job and parents who want enough time for their private lives to the experienced employees looking for a stable job where they can work until retirement. Opportunities for personal growth and development, constant care for the work climate, stimulating compensation package, and daily challenges are a mixture that covers the aspects of interest of employees who have different expectations.


How do managers in your organization motivate employees?

This is the area that provides the most opportunities with a wide range of tools – from a sincere “thank you” to promotion and financial stimulation. Also, in motivating the employees, we see the biggest opportunity for management to prove themselves; from “standard” acknowledgments for a job well-done and small everyday things that show sincere concern for employees, to finding new tools that communicate in line with the time in which we live.

Investing in the restaurant management’s management skills is an important factor for the success of a particular restaurant, and the company, given that it is the management that creates the work environment, motivates the team and gives a big contribution to the restaurant atmosphere for the guests.

McDonald’s also has a precisely designed job position systematization within which the obligations, responsibilities, educations and trainings needed for competencies for a particular job position are clearly defined. Within the system, there are a lot of opportunities for people to accomplish themselves in a professional sense, based on the recognition of their potential, education and advancement.


Corporate social responsibility has become an unavoidable aspect of business in the 21st century. How do you ensure them in your organization?

It is very important for us to show that we respect the community in which we do business. This means that part of the profit is returned to the community through socially valuable projects and participation in humanitarian activities. As part of the project “For our more beautiful neighborhoods”, we have carried out more than 30 activities, we help small children in Klaićeva hospital, we participate in humanitarian actions and always strive to help the community in which we work.


McDonald’s Hrvatska entered the Certificate Employer Partner project for the first time this year, and successfully met the high standards of excellence in the area of human resources management. What do you see as the value of the Employer Partner certificate that you attained?

It is a valuable external acknowledgment by a reputable certifier, which, to us, brings back into focus what we do and how we do it, when it comes to our employees.


What are the main strategic projects in focus in the coming period?

To remain an employer with a reputation among existing employees, that, even in these challenging conditions at the labor market, easily attracts new candidates with its image.