McDonald’s Singapore wins big for championing job security and livelihood during pandemic

As the official licensee of McDonald’s Singapore, Hanbaobao Pte Ltd serves over six million customers per month.

All companies, big or small, were affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, in the new normal, industries have adapted to cater to flexibility of operations and betterment of service despite challenges in the post-pandemic.

Even well-known global brand and restaurant chain McDonald’s was no stranger to this topic. Over in Singapore, McDonald’s had its fair share of challenges, but its official local licensee, Hanbaobao Pte Ltd. took on the reins and steered the business to its continued success.

In the recently concluded Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards, Hanbaobao won two major awards: for Executive of the Year - Food & Beverage and COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Food & Beverage.

The awards programme recognises the most outstanding leaders in Singapore for their hard work and dedication that brought tangible contributions to their businesses. It also honours employee engagements and COVID management initiatives that have made a positive impact on its workforce or customers.

Hanbaobao won the Executive of the Year - Food & Beverage award for the leadership exemplified by its Managing Director, Ben Boh.

From leading a small team in 2019 to leading a team of 10,000, Ben leveraged his style of leadership to lead McDonald’s Singapore out of the COVID crisis successfully and bring the business into a position of strength and growth.

Ben rejoined the McDonald’s Singapore business in late 2019 after working at McDonald’s Japan for 2 years.

In 3 years, Ben rose from Chief Operating Officer to General Manager by 2021 and Managing Director by 2022. As the Managing Director, Ben oversees all departments and reports directly to the board for McDonald’s Singapore.

His quick acceleration and success as a leader can be attributed to 3 things: possessing a servant leadership style, leading with a ‘Winning the Now, Building the Future’ attitude, and having the ability to harness the strengths of others.

McDonald’s Singapore’s market share has grown, with brand metrics showing that customer satisfaction has leaped in bounds since COVID, and its business fundamentals have grown strong through being backed by effective strategies and business transformation initiatives. All that has led to strong top- and bottom-line recovery in 2021 and significant growth in 2022.

In granting the award, the judging panel took into consideration three major achievements.

First, Ben protected the business whilst securing growth momentum during and after the pandemic. The second is that he helped build dynamic and high-performing teams that proved to perform and deliver on business goals. Lastly, the company has grown into one that is engaged, motivated, and energised to do more.

These achievements were echoed by the second award received by McDonald’s Singapore, which is the COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Food & Beverage award.

Here, the awards panel recognised the family and people-first culture of the company and how that translated to the framework, strategies, and initiatives it undertook to not only manage but thrive throughout the COVID pandemic.

Primarily, the focus was on the COVID management framework developed by McDonald’s Singapore which has the sole purpose of prioritising the wellbeing of three important segments of its family, namely: Our Employees, Our Customers, and Our Community.

For its close to 10,000 frontline employees, spanning across 14 year-old students to 80 year-old seniors across multiple races and religions, it committed job and financial security by making sure that everyone was continued to be employed and paid on time. It also decided to pay out “Thank You” bonuses to all employees to thank them for all frontline work rendered.

Amplified as well were the health and mental wellbeing of its people, such as providing for safe workplaces, offered accommodations, and created support groups amongst other projects.

For its customers, McDonald’s Singapore offered familiar and exciting menu options, elevated convenience through various sale points, and ensured family hospitality and safety.

As for the community, the company also launched a number of initiatives during the pandemic. Some of these are the Big Thanks Campaign for Healthcare frontliners, Food Drive for Migrant Workers, Championing Family Mental Wellness, and Giving back to families in need through various social service agencies. 

In giving the award, the judging panel zeroed in on three main achievements. First is that the company protected the jobs and livelihoods of all who worked at McDonald's Singapore. 

Second is that it kept the organisation motivated whilst ensuring the success of the business. Employee satisfaction was at its highest despite COVID challenges during this period. 

Lastly, it was able to move from business protection in 2020, to recovery in 2021, and finally to growth in 2022.

All in all, McDonald’s Singapore became successful in protecting the health of its brand and business, which in turn allowed it to invest in all the above areas that enabled its employees, customers, and community to be taken care of.

The SBR Management Excellence Awards is presented by Singapore Business Review Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2023 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's employee engagements and management initiatives, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].

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