Investigation Into Employee Motivation Uk Fast Food Sector



The most important variable for any organisation in the whole world is the man power of that organisation. Every other aspect is secondary but people connected to that organisation are the whole and sloe responsible for the betterment and the development of that organisation. Then let it be an I.T. company, a medical company, a logistics company or a fast food company. How happy our employees are? The answer to this question is actually more important than we think. If we rely o our staff to reach or exceed sales quotas every day, we need them to be driven to succeed. This is only possible by giving them the right motivation; encourage them to put their hearts into work and producing best results for the organisation. There can be several ways to motivate your employees so that they give their best for better results. For example

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It is a fact that to develop any industry or any organisation, there has to be a balance of every variable tied to it. It is doubtless to say that an employee is the most important factor for any organisation. There have been questionnaires and researches about the percentage of job satisfaction and the amount of job motivation provided by the companies and different business sectors to the employees in the UK, so it is to examine that where exactly the scale of job motivation stands in the certain industries like the fast food sectors.

Example: Employee bonuses, if the company does well then the workers are given bonus.


This research will analyse the motivation level of the people engaged in the fast food sector of the UK. It is important to investigate it because it is one of the most growing businesses globally and ironically the people working in this sector are very unstable, so what is the major rationale behind this statement that a growing industry is lacking in motivating their staff or employees. This research will come up with some important facts and figures and will throw light on recommendations on how to retain and motivate their staff or create stability in this sector.

Evidence: Change in Management and by understanding the primary aims of the organization and keeping them aware of the company's principle, priorities and their mission the employees can be motivated. The major fast food Sectors like KFC, Pizza hut etc follow these trend to restore and motivate their employees.


To investigate employee motivation in the uk fast food sector.

To critically review the employee motivation in the UK fast food sector.

To provide recommendation on how to improve employee motivation.

To review the Level of retention in the UK fast food sector.

To have a look at the Reward system and the motivation theory.


According to a survey of more than 1000 workers, the Work Foundation has found that they have strikingly positive attitude towards work but they also confirms that work also remains a simple way of making a living for many people in the UK. As a part of Work Foundation's campaign for "good work", the study found that most of the people got better since beginning of their working lives.

The concept of the human resources emerged from the 1980's and has been considered as the core corporate strategy in the 1990's, (Legge, 1995). There have been no such relevant definitions of the HRM in literature yet there have been a huge emphasis on the corporate role of the HRM in the recent years. Some researchers have quoted HRM with a strategic aspect of the "best fit" or consisting people according to the needs of the organisation and some have expressed it as the means of gaining or enhancing organizational performance, as per Golding, N (2004), cited in Beardwell, I, (2004). However the contributions made by the HRM or which it may make towards an organisation's performance has been linked quite closely to the changes which have occurred in the business environment in context of both macro and micro.

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For HR to succeed, it must take proactive roles in the organisation for the betterment of the employees and the company. Strategic HR is medium which creates room for organic learning, development of the core competencies and intellectual capital. This value and space created by the HR people for the people of the company is crucial for the future of the organisation, (Treen, 2000). The employers want to increasingly extract the best possible performance from the employees. The best practise will enhance the skills of the workforce and with recruiting it will strengthen the environment of a highly skilled workforce, (Mullins, 2005). The strategic HRM has gained popularity over the past decades, especially with respect to the effect on the working skills of the employees and the organizational performance, (Paauve, & Boselie, 2003).


There are several roles of the HRM department which are directly or indirectly associated with the future of the company as well as with the future of the employee. Their role is not administrative; it is entirely based on the long term strategy of the organisation. It can only happen if an HR manager is appointed to the board, (Beardwell 2004). The major responsibility of the HR group is to find a way which proves it to be fruitful for the company in the future where recruitment of staff is concerned. Retention of the staff, motivation of the staff, reward system and the feeling of job satisfaction of the staff is the main concern of the HR department.


There is actually no right level of retention and it effectively depends on various internal and external factors. For example: Pizza Hut in the UK has a staff turnover of more than 50% per year, this figure shows that the company employs a large number of casual, student or part time workers effectively. On the other hand, the technology company, 3M, promotes a wide range of opportunities to the employees and actually retains a high proportion of its staff. (Rigby, 2003)

When the level of retention is high, it becomes a new problem for the company, for example, gradually an employee becomes so good in his/her work skills, that their supervisor cannot bear to lose them or even promote the, which can lead to stagnation or de motivation for the employee, (Rigby, 2003).


Amongst the most important points which should be taken care of in order to retain the staff of an organisation is the reward system of the company. It includes, job satisfaction, job motivation and the psychological contracts.

Reward system is one of the main strategic policies of the HR department to retain its employees and to make their performance enhanced. Any organisation can use it to raise its commitment and competence and moreover it is cost effective also. There are incentive pays also for the employees, like setting targets for the employees and when they meet those targets, they are rewarded with cash bonuses. Similarly there is one more way of rewarding the employee by sharing the ownership, by giving them dividends. This effectively not only strives the employee to work honestly and with their best efforts in order to drive the share price higher but also to remain with the organisation at least until the maturity of the plan. (Sigler, 1993)


Normally there are four main categories in which the theory of motivation can be expressed: Economic needs of a man, money motivation, Taylorism, social concept of motivation, psychological issues and the contingency approach which studied the variables that influenced the person's motivation. These theories are related to the work place. (Mullins, 2005)

Today the issue of motivation are becoming difficult and intricate for the employers. The effectiveness and the closeness of the supervision and in depth rules are no longer a part of the work place. Employees nowadays are becoming self motivated and self managed which drives them to be committed towards their work and makes them demonstrate innovation and initiative at their work place. As these new work patterns have emerged, new reward patterns to motivate employees have also emerged as the intrinsic rewards. The work itself fulfils the employee's motivation, even with some certain setbacks they obtain satisfaction from the job which is actually well done. (Blyton, & Turnbull, 2004)

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Will Hutton, chief Executive of the Work Foundation, said,

"Traditionally work has been purely an economic necessity, where there is no getting out of, and effectively little more to be said about. Today, in the UK work is increasingly thought as the source of fulfilment, an important aspect of life that matters to people in a very personal way.

The key findings in the survey included:

In the UK women are more likely to be satisfied with their job in comparison to the men.

The over 55s are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs in compared to the young people, especially those who are in between the age of 16 to 35.

Managers and professionals are more satisfied with their jobs compared to the other operational groups.

There is also a feeling of satisfaction in those who earn more than £ 50,000 annually than those who earn less than that.

Employers and the organisation have to think much harder about the jobs they offer to the people in the UK. The wages still matter but moreover there are crucially more important psychological, social and personal dividends from work. It is all about the money and meaning. Well over two third of the workers employed in the fast food sector in the UK consider work as a source of fulfilment to them, but only few employees over succeed in making the most of it. The level of motivation is on the lower side and it has to be enhanced in order to attract more and more employees and the people who are already working with this sector.


Apart from the compensations, incentives and the rewards, one effective way to retain your talented employees can be achieved by improving their job satisfaction. If the employee is satisfied with his/her job, then there are very few chances of that employee to seek another job. Management can actually insure talented employees by giving them proper job functions and meaningful assignments, by giving them the authority to take decisions in the fields of their expertise. Pleasant working conditions and environment can entice the employee to stay in the organisation and not look anywhere else. Moreover offering these employees new training sessions to keep them fit to their current job functions and allowing them to learn new skills can also be utilized to improve employee satisfaction with the organisation. (Sigler, 1993)


The research acts as platform for a further detailed research or even a dissertation. It is the foundation which comprises the future of the research journey. Research process can have different design and methods depending on the nature of the research and analysis. The focus for the data collection for this kind of a research will be mostly secondary. Considering the Qualitative and the Quantitative paradigms, it is important to determine that in what terms the research will consider quantitative, qualitative data or both to frame a proper approach and start.

The quantitative data will consider:

Employee turnover in recent years.

Statistical figures of the company's existing in the market in the near future.

The growth or fall in the percentage of employment in this sector.

The qualitative data will take into account the base of the research, from where it started and what may be the outcome as per the results in the previous years and in the years to come.

It will analyse the relevant case Studies.

The outcome of introducing new ideas in the HRM policies.

The main focus and objectives of the research have been examined earlier in this proposal. The research has to be designed in such a way each layer of the research covers a portion and final layer is the outcome of the research.

It has to be an Exploratory Research so that the patterns, ideas or hypothesis can be tested at a later stage as the research goes on and new parameters are results are formed.

This proposal further follows an Inductive approach. The theory is developed from the observation of the real world. Ex: what are the new policies adopted by the fast food companies in order to motivate their employees. Deductive research develops a conceptual framework tested by the empirical observation. It also will form an Analytical approach as it attempts to explain what has been described. The framework changes from quantitative to qualitative data.

In terms of methodology to be used, it is important to analyse an initial picture of the base and the structure of the UK fast food sector and the main features of the major companies on the basis of quantitative data. Then after the Qualitative Stage begins as it will analyse the outcomes and the later results, successes and failures.

For this purpose, the main objective of this research will be Observation supported by Interviews. Observation is a very important tool in this type of research as it reveals a clear picture of the subject then whether a participant or a non participant observer. Ex: visiting the restaurants and analysing the working patterns of major fast food companies in the UK and their staff. Being a non participant, the observation may be supported by write ups, short snaps, etc. In this kind of analysis the researcher is observing without being noticed. Another method is participant observer. Here the researcher can also conduct small interview or conversations with people working at the restaurants for different companies to extract the real information, the working structure and their expectations. Moreover in depth Interviews can also be conducted.

For example the investigation on a fast food restaurant can be conducted through questionnaires, McDonalds can be considered as an example and the response of the employees will be crucial. There have been such quesions to evaluate the staff motivation level,

What age group are you in?

Are you a student, what is the current role of McDonalds?

How did you rate the recruitment process? What hours do you do?

Do you work as a part of team? Is your work pattern flexible?

Are you encouraged to think of yourself? Do you follow set patterns of tasks?

Have you been promoted? How much training have you received?

Are you ambitious with McDonalds?

Are you happy in your role? Is your pay good enough for your role?

Has your service at McDonalds been recognised?

How long you intent to stay with McDonalds?

The blend of ideas of the interviewee and the interviewer can bring in unique contribution to the research at a later stage. The method of the interview is determined as the process develops and with proper recommendation of the managers and supervisors in the major fast food chains in the UK.


Fast food sector is one of the most growing industries of the world. Across the world fast food has a huge market and the largest fast food market share going to the Europe and UK dominates the European countries. It has got the highest share where the fast food industry is concerned. It is a fact that people are working for longer hours and hence they have less time left in their life for other activities with includes cooking as well. Fast food has become an easy option to save the cooking time. The United Kingdom has the largest fast food market in the Europe and is almost double the size of the German fast food market and three times as big as the French fast food market. In 2006, a consultancy, Key Note valued the UK fast food market at GBP £8.38 billion. Despite market facing a strong opposition with the world facing an increasing level of obesity and more over triggering concerns on the healthy eating, there has not been much effect on the fast food sector.

The Global fast food market recorded very good sales in the year 2008 and with further positive results anticipated in 2009, gave the same results. The number of employees is also increasing and people are heading towards this sector but the point is to see that the turnover rate of the employees is also growing and people seek less stability in this sector from the point of view of an employee.

As the theories say that HRM plays a very important role in the multinational and domestic organisations today, it is a fact that managing the staff is the most important aspect of any organisation today.

There are companies in the fast food sector in the UK which are doing considerably good job in respect of retaining their employees and rewarding them well so that they give their best to the company and are with them for a longer period of time. If we take an example of McDonalds in the UK then we will find that among the leisure retailers found an average staff turnover rate of 188 percent, while the better performing McDonalds restaurants averaged 64%.

Retention, job satisfaction, motivation and reward system are the most important factor as far as employee motivation is concerned. As it has been discussed above that these variables play an important role in maintaining the staff stability, it is a fact that these factors are small efforts done n the favour of the employees. The big organisations get big returns on these small investments. It can be said that the more you put the more you get. These theories have emphasised on the relation of the employee and the company and especially the a sector like the fast food one is a very growing sector and employee retention has been a real issue in this sector. The companies have been following some of these aspects in terms of motivating their staff, but more emphasis has to be given to this aspect which is an asset for any organisation.

Example as Organisational facts of Motivation:

In the organisation Salary, benefits, policy, safety, security, affiliation, and relationships are all externally motivated needs. These are the first three levels of "Howletts Hierarchy these When the person achieves his task over someone by his extraordinary performance he will be rewarded to the next level However, if he is the one among the few , the person becomes dissatisfied with their job. When satisfaction is not found, the person becomes less productive and eventually quits or is fired. Achievement, advancement, recognition, growth, responsibility, and job nature are internal motivators. These are the last two levels of "Howletts Hierarchy." The person gets self motivation themselves. An employer or leader that meets the needs on the "Howletts Hierarchy there will be difference among the employees who was differed from his action by motivated himself for few rewards


It is a fact that motivation is the most important factor involved in a job to retain an employee in an organisation. Major food retailers in the UK have a set target in respect of their staff recruitment and are effectively depended on the students. Students starve for jobs and work as part time workers and are paid a lower wage, so it favours the monetary system of the company but as a matter of fact it creates an impression in public that which company is worth working worth and which is not.

If we take an example, McDonalds pays higher than the average fast food industry wage, it not only attracts the employees but also motivates the crew members of that company. Moreover training is one tool of McDonalds which keeps the employees on their feet and ready to face more trainings as they are aware of the fact that the more training they attend, the more increment in the wage they get. Although this retention level is not the same in the whole organisation, it is recommended that they increase and closely monitor training in the lower performing restaurants to increase the retention level.

This standardization of HR policies should lead to all the restaurants with similar retention levels allowing for the major regional discrepancies. HR plays a very important role in the development of the organisation and motivating the employee to stay in that organisation and give their best for better results. More importance should be given to this department as the most important variable of an organisation is the employee of that company and there has to be a good motivation for that employee to start everyday with a new drive and commitment towards its company.


There are many ways in which an employee can be motivated in order to be consistent and work with dedication for an organisation. Employees are fluctuating with their jobs due to the retention policies of the companies. Some small steps taken in the favour of the employee are big steps taken in the favour of the company. For example we can analyse these points in short:

Increase the motivation level of the staff by giving more responsibilities and showing more interest in the employees.

Encouraging the employees to attend as many training programmes as possible to enhance their skills.

Making small contracts with the employees to show reliability on the employees and making them feel secured.

Create more incentives on the basis of their performances and rewarding them on succeeding the tasks given.