May 19, 2020

Would you like fries with that? How fast food beat technology

Employee Satisfaction
Shane Watson
3 min
Would you like fries with that? How fast food beat technology

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The next time you consider threatening your academically-unmotivated child with the prospect of amounting only to the role of burger flipper, you may need to rethink your approach—according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, In-N-Out Burger’s employees are happier than Apple’s. (That, plus the fact that threatening your child as a means of motivation is pretty backwards…)

The purpose of Glassdoor’s survey—known as the Best Places to Work in 2015, or the Employees’ Choice Awards 2015—is simple: determine the best places to work in the US and UK by talking to the people who actually work there. Using a 5-point scale, respondents answered questions to help determine the pros and cons of the job, levels of satisfaction, likelihood to recommend employment to a friend, in addition to establishing pay rate, insurance benefits, perks, work-life balance, opportunities for growth and continued training, and more.

Related: How to create a benefits package to help attract and retain employees


Results from the seventh annual survey placed the fast food stand-out at #8, while Apple did not make an appearance until #22. This is the first year In-N-Out Burger has made the list and we have to ask:

When did managing meat become more appealing than toying with technology?

Actually, it hasn’t: In-N-Out Burger is the only fast food restaurant on the list. However, the satisfaction levels of In-N-Out Burger's employees are rather appealing and certainly worth discussing—not to mention applauding. 

Related: Virgin boss Richard Branson allows employees to take unlimited holiday


While the fast food industry is known for poor pay and even worse treatment, In-N-Out Burger has managed to stand apart from the negative perception shared by its competitors. Case-in-point: While the median hourly pay for fast food workers in the United States is $8.94, the starting wage at In-N-Out Burger is $10.50. In addition, while employees of industry giants like McDonald’s and Burger King continued to participate in an ongoing protest over the unfair treatment of fast food workers earlier this month, representatives for the 8th Best Place to Work were nowhere to be seen.

Related: Fast food workers plan nationwide protest 


In an email to The Huffington Post, In-N-Out Burger’s vice president of planning and development, Carl Van Fleet, sums up the company’s outlook toward employees:

"We strive to create a working environment that is upbeat, enthusiastic and customer-focused. A higher pay structure is helpful in making that happen, but it is only part of our approach. It is equally important to treat our associates well and maintain that positive working environment in all of our restaurants."

Click here to read the December edition of Business Review USA


Apple, on the other hand, was commonly described as having a demanding workload; requiring long hours; and allowing (or even promoting) a “secretive culture” that does not focus on the interests of employees. And although the perceived status of working at Apple—in addition to an enticingly competitive salary—may be enough for some, the cost of losing one’s work-life balance in a less-than-ideal environment is often regarded as too high of a price to pay.

Related: Apple employee diversity report shows White and Asian men take majority of top jobs 


We can assume that most business professionals would not trade their office doors for a drive-thru window; however, while In-N-Out Burger may not have been at the top of many professionals' “what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up” lists, the fast food chain can certainly teach companies like Apple (and the 40 others that ranked lower on the list) a few lessons on employee satisfaction

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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