Kingston Restaurants is a chain of 10 franchised McDonald’s restaurants based around the Hull area. With several branches opening 24/7 and a total number of 1063 staff to keep them running efficiently and with the maximum customer satisfaction, Franchisee George Michniewicz is very invested in keeping HR issues to a minimum.

NORi HR are on hand to help with support for George and People Manager Clare Whittle on all areas of HR and Employment Law. Their HR Business Partner package can take the form of proactive strategies and policy development.

How could we help?

George found that when restaurants reopened after the Covid pandemic, management were starting to see over time a trend of inconsistency in attendance. McDonald’s don’t have a central absence / sickness policy, and with such busy restaurants non-attendance and sickness can cause real operational issues.

Absence also causes issues for the staff on shift, making it even busier and stressful for them, which in turn can cause a downturn in staff morale, which could impact on their ultimate goal – customer satisfaction.

This needed addressing.

In order to address this, George called on NORi HR to develop proactive strategies and a new policy, so that all staff could fairly know what was acceptable and what was not. In addition, NORi were able to help in determining what was genuine absence, and navigating the field of mental health, based on their long experience across lots of different sectors.

The new policy includes 3 sickness absences triggering an exploratory call to understand any underlying problem, with the possibility of escalating to disciplinary meetings and formal letters if it is deemed to be required. NORi HR worked with George and his team to plan out the project, set up the policy, understand the parameters, and embed the new process.

How did they implement this?

More than that, NORi also conducted all of the initial calls and interviews, setting consistent standards in fairness in line with current legislation. They also provided documentation and letters to again set consistency in standards. They were able to provide insight into patterns and data and give the benefit of their broader experience.

NORi also provided training to the relevant managers, to assist in deciding which absences should be logged onto the sickness tracker, and which should be discounted, for example protected absences. Managers were also trained in the new call and interview process, so they could continue with the new system consistently and effectively.

Rather than this being simply a disciplinary process, the project focussed on being proactive. NORi have also helped facilitate some on long term sick to be able to return to the workplace, which has a great benefit for them.

What are the benefits?

The major investment happened in the first six months of the project, which was time intensive in implementing the new policies and ways of working. George can see a great operational benefit coming to fruition as the project matures and all staff are on board with the terms and conditions.

The benefits are in staff morale and ultimately, customer satisfaction as staff are more attentive and engaged in terms of attendance, and only using sickness leave when it is required. This eases the pressure on all staff, and helps teams work together more efficiently.

We asked George what he thought.

George commented, “This was a large scale project which meant implementing changes, as McDonald’s don’t have a central policy we have developed one in collaboration with NORi to improve our operational efficiency.

“Morale has definitely improved across our teams, and staff are happy with our new policies – they know that if anyone is unfairly ringing in sick, it will be dealt with.

“NORi have been really helpful in helping us navigate dealing with the mental health field, and helping us assess with sickness where it is and isn’t genuine. They have been brilliant – and they’re always there to help you!

“We’ve implemented a structured programme that I would highly recommend to other franchisees. It’s absolutely been beneficial to us – particularly around key unexplained absence times like bank holidays, paydays and even sunny days.

“Setting clear parameters has been a great way forward for us, and it has been very helpful to work alongside NORi to pull this together.”

Resource was the biggest benefit.

Alongside the people resource, NORi were able to save George and his team valuable time and resource in conducting the calls, interviews and documentation required across the board with staff. In the past, it was taking Business Managers 45-60 minutes with a note taker to conduct these meetings. That is a labour time / cost of 90-120 minutes, per employee interviewed. NORi took on average 8-10 minutes per meeting, due to our expertise and experience.

NORi HR and Employment Law are experienced in people strategies, customer satisfaction and providing excellent support and advice. If you’d like us to help you with any aspect of your HR, please get in touch and we can work together to bring you excellent results – just like George.