Essay on Human Resource Management in Kentucky Fried Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken is the largest fast food chicken operator, and franchiser in the world. Colonel Sanders has become a world-known figure by marketing his “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken. The restaurants cover a large percentage of the United States market in terms of sales. Every day, millions of diners are served at KFC, featuring the Colonel’s “finger lickin’ good” special recipe fried chicken. (About us) KFC knows that their employees are at the center of their success. Developing a successful employee training program and effective retention strategies will determine the success of the company and whether the company can deliver a more consistent customer experience.

The KFC Corporation is based in Louisville, Kentucky and was founded by Harland Sanders in 1932. Sanders was born on a farm in Indiana in the 1890’s. Following the death of his father in 1896, Sanders’ mother was forced to work two jobs to support the family. In order to help his mother, Sanders learned to cook for his brother and sister at the young age of six. By the age of fifteen he had worked a variety of jobs, including painter and railroad fireman. In 1920 Sanders opened a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky and he began to cook for his family and the occasional customer in a back room of the service station. “It was then that he invented what’s called ‘home meal replacement’ selling complete meals to busy, time-strapped families. He called it, ‘Sunday Dinner, Seven Days a Week'” (Colonel Harland Sanders). Sanders enjoyed cooking the food his mother had taught him for travelers. Rather than coming in for service for their cars, people began coming in specifically for his food. Demand for his cooking rose and eventually he expanded his up and coming business by moving across the street to a facility with a restaurant, a motel, and a gas station. The restaurant was named Sanders Court & Café and was so successful that in 1935 the Governor granted Sanders the title of honorable Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his contribution to the state’s cuisine. (KFC Corporation)

Colonel Sanders was always experimenting with his food at his restaurant. He originally prepared his chicken in an iron skillet, which took an average of thirty minutes to do, which was to long for restaurant operations. During the late 1930’s the Colonel went to a demonstration of a “new gizmo”, the pressure cooker. He purchased a pressure cooker and made a few adjustments. “After a lot of experimenting with cooking time, pressure, shortening temperature and level, Eureka! The Colonel had found a way to fry chicken quickly, under pressure, and come out with the best chicken he’d ever tasted, and what we’ve come to know as Kentucky Fried Chicken was born” (The pressure cooker).

On a daily basis more than twelve million diners visit a KFC restaurant on 109 countries and territories around the world. (About us)

KFC’s product specialty is fried chicken that is served in various forms and is made with the “Original Recipe”. KFC standards for quality start with the use of the famous bucket. The paper bucket is used for its large sized orders and helps to keep the chicken crispy by wicking away moisture. The Original Recipe, which remains a trade secret, is made from a blend of eleven herbs and spices that Colonel Sanders was able to perfect. Portions of the secret recipe are mixed in different parts of the United States but the complete hand written copy is kept in a vault at the corporate headquarters. Nutrition has been a big concern for KFC because its main products are fried. In recent years KFC has made changes and now offers a variety of menu items that are low in fat for customers that prefer lower calorie choices. To assist customers, KFC has posted a nutrition guide on their website providing customers detailed information about their ingredient choices and nutrition values. They have also introduced grilled items that offer fewer fat grams and less sodium than the Original Recipe, all without sacrificing the great taste of KFC products. (Nutrition)

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KFC’s training and development strategies focus on effective management and building customer relations, as well as providing high quality products, and maintaining cleanliness of their restaurant. In the beginning, the company’s strategies were not very successful. The company has made changes to its strategy by focusing on giving more career opportunities for people related to business, management, and other professional area of study. The principle development and training strategies are as follows:

1) Urge the employees to get closer to the customer by adopting a very friendly behavior to them to make decisions from market back. So the first principle is to create the customer focus goal.

2) The firm also keeps in touch with the latest trends and changing technological innovations for its market and to keep a continuous change as a way of life. Adding new ideas and taste in its meals, making more deals for attracting the customers and many other small policies are adopted for this purpose.

3) Market orientation was another area of priority by the management team to generate extra effectiveness in the global market. A friendly atmosphere with the customers is very important to give them confidence for putting their suggestions in the suggestion box for getting an idea of the likes and dislikes of their valuable customers.

4) The management team communicates very effectively and learns how to create an innovative atmosphere and a better understanding with the various cultures of the globe. As people belonging in different areas and cultures have different taste. So the main principle here is not to create a strong uniform brand image but also to serve the best interest of different customers in different locations.

5) Making a market plan and providing effective training to the employees is also an important strategy for the development of the corporation in overseas locations. While training and educating the employees, human resource planning, reward system and cultural definitions were given for international operations to the management team, which further hired and trained new staff from the local countries where the new branch is to establish. This also improves international political economic relations as opening new markets in outside country and ensuring new jobs facilities for the nationals of that country played a very important role in building customer relations and getting into the cultural taste of the natives. (Training and Development Strategies)

Historically, the fast food industry has not been seen as the most effective way to build a career, especially for those individuals that are starting at the bottom of the ladder. KFC is working hard to overcome this perception. During the late 1990’s, KFC launched a new employee incentive program as part of a three million dollar reorganization of its corporate field operations. The program was intended to show general managers that they play an essential role in the success or failure of KFC. The managers were taken to the corporate headquarters for three days of meetings and seminars. The company believed that a great way to develop great teams is to focus on the restaurant leaders. The changes stemmed from a survey that was conducted and revealed that managers wanted more support from corporate headquarters, “‘they want to know that they are valued'” (KFC initiates). The new program emphasized on developing a closer relationship with individual stores and a stronger focus on training and hiring practices, all with the intent of providing better customer service and a better working environment that will reduce turnovers. Jackie Trujillo, chairman of Harman Management, said, “‘They are right on target, if you are going to succeed in this industry, you have got to get people to buy into the program, because who waits on customers? Where does everything happen? If you don’t have everybody buying into that, you’re not going to make everyone happy'” (KFC initiates).

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For 2010, KFC has again refocused its corporate goals and is now putting special efforts on making their employees feel valued. This is apparent in the way employees treat each other, and is also accomplished through the company’s reward package. The program offers all employees bonuses through a variety of schemes. The employees are rated in two performance measures, customer satisfaction and operational basics. The bonuses are also based on sales made as a restaurant and are paid in form of retail vouchers, with some vouchers valued at over $400.00 per employee each quarter. The bonuses are meant to create energy and encourage employee engagement with the goals of the restaurant. Managers and senior staffs can also earn cash bonuses depending on how they score on a balance scorecard. Misty Reich, vice-president HR at KFC UK and Ireland, says: “the aim is to use the bonuses to create an ownership mentality among KFC employees” (KFC keeps staff). KFC also considers career progression within the company to depend on the bonuses offered. By conducting in-depth review of the restaurants’ staffs twice a year, the company can decide which of them has the ability to move forward in the organization. (KFC keeps staff)

In order to generate profits and achieve long term success, businesses need to build a workplace that attracts, engages, and retains the best employees. A company culture describes how an employee thinks and feels about the company. It effects how employees respond and handle themselves in the work place. At KFC the company culture is a result of the company’s vision and values. “Our aim is to put a smile on people’s faces around the world and gives every customer a special experience on each occasion” (Human resources). These values are as follows:

1) Believe in all people: We trust in positive intentions and believe everyone has the potential to make a difference. We actively seek diversity in others to expand our thinking and make the best decision. We coach and support every individual to grow to their full capability.

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2) We are customer maniacs: Customers rule. Every customer sees it, feels it and knows it in every restaurant. We make sure we have great Restaurant General Managers who build great teams. 100% CHAMPS with a Yes Attitude is the expectation.

3) Go for breakthrough: We begin by asking ourselves “What can I do NOW to get breakthrough results in my piece of Yum!” Our intentionality drives step change thinking. We imagine how big something can be and work future-back, going full out with positive energy and personal accountability to make it happen.

4) Build know how: We grow by being avid learners, pursuing knowledge and best practice inside and outside our company. We seek truth over harmony every step of the way. We consistently drive outstanding execution by scaling our learning into process and tools around what matters most. Breakthroughs come when we get people with knowledge thinking creatively.

5) Take the hill teamwork: We team together to drive action versus activity. We discuss the un-discussable, always promoting healthy debate and healthy decisions. Our relationships allow us to ask the earth of each other. We make specific verbal contracts to get big things done with urgency and excellence.

6) Recognize! Recognize! Recognize: We attract and retain the best people and inspire greatness by being world famous for recognition. We love celebrating the achievement of others and have lots of fun doing it!

(Human resources)

Building employee capability is an important strategy at KFC. A company is only as good as its employees and KFC believes that their employees should be rewarded for the dedication and large portions of their lives they invest into the company. At KFC all employees receive initial training which covers food safety, business familiarization and online testing. The elements of the training are web based and virtual reality classrooms that are used to develop champions. After commencing employment team members continue to further their training through a program called CHAMPS. CHAMPS stand for the six universal areas of customer expectations: Cleanliness, Hospitality, Accuracy, Maintenance, Product quality, and Speed. The training is both face to face and web based. The web based program provides consistent and up-to-date information. The face to face program provides opportunity for cross-training within the restaurant so that employees continue to develop new skills. The blended training is estimated to require 41% less hours per learner than in-restaurant training programs. (Human resources)

KFC has grown to be the largest quick service restaurant and has been proven to be a successful business enterprise with more than 11,000 restaurants in 109 countries around the world. (About us) KFC understand that their employees are at the center of their success. Through structured employee training and effective retention strategies the company can deliver a more consistent customer experience. The training, development, and retention of the right people are the key ingredients to the secret recipe that result in the long term success of KFC.


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