Like the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has a hard time getting respect. Actually, that's true of pretty much any fast-food purveyor. It's not so much the companies themselves that aren't respected; it's the employees.

It's wrong, but true -- many people consider working at a McDonald's restaurant one of the lowliest jobs around. Society just doesn't think much of the "burger flipper." According to a Reuters piece, McDonald's wants to try to change this, and is implementing a campaign to improve the public's perception of its employees.

There's more to the new initiative than goodwill toward its workers. The company believes that the negative stereotypes cause a high turnover rate; indeed, according to the Reuters article, staff turnover and manager turnover rates are 130% and 42%, respectively. Such a notion would be difficult to substantiate, since the high rate of worker defections is probably due to a whole host of factors. While I'm sure job perception doesn't help, my guess is that high turnover rates may simply be an indigenous aspect of the job. There is certainly nothing wrong with working at McDonald's, but for many, it's an entry-level or stop-gap job that they'll happily leave behind if a more lucrative opportunity arises.

Creating a television commercial to alter the nation's opinion of those who serve up cheeseburgers and fries won't necessarily change minds on a mass scale, but I do think the idea behind it is worthwhile. McDonald's might do better to consider the overall package it offers its employees to see what changes would be beneficial to both sides. Happy employees can certainly make a difference in the fortunes of a company, as Bill Mann suggested in an article last year.

The company's stock has seen a nice run-up from lows hit a couple of years ago, although it recently pulled back from its high. Alyce Lomax took a look at the May comps for McDonald's, and found that while they may have been less stellar than previous reports, the valuation of the stock could be tempting for those thinking of initiating a position.

And to all those McDonald's workers who have served me delicious Quarter Pounders with Cheese and delectable fish filets over the years, you have my sincerest appreciation.

More fast food for thought:

What do you think of McDonald's effort to revamp the image of its employees? Post your opinions at the McDonald's discussion board.

Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.