Arby’s Radical Approach to Building a High-Performance Management Pipeline

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Arby’s Radical Approach to Building a High-Performance Management Pipeline

When Paul Brown took over as CEO of Arby’s, the Atlanta-based quick-service sandwich brand, he brought an unblinking assessment to the chain’s critical need for a smart and confident leadership pipeline. That led to a radical approach from HR and Learning: “Let’s admit that some of our people will move on — but let’s offer the best leadership education we can — so we can become known as THE EMPLOYER that trains future managers for all of America.”

The result is an innovative management education program designed to address important Arby’s key performance indicators – including:

Career advancement for managers and team members
Increased manager/team member engagement
High-performance appraisals
Increased social responsibility
Improved ranking as employer of choice

Damian Hanft & Jenny Murnane

Damian Hanft leads field learning and development at Arby’s Restaurant Group, based in Atlanta. As a veteran of the brand for more than 10 years, he currently leads learning and development initiatives in the brand’s 3,400 domestic and international restaurants. Previously, Hanft led talent management in the areas of employer branding, recruitment strategy, leadership development, employee engagement and culture. He has been involved with Arby’s service and culture program, Brand Camp, as well as the launch of an organizationwide recognition programs. The initiatives have increased engagement and contributed to creating a winning culture and organization.

His past experience includes curriculum development, program design, franchise management and ownership of a restaurant concept in Minneapolis. He has served on the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Educators Board of Directors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel, restaurant and tourism management and a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism from the University of Wisconsin.

Jenny Murnane is the associate director of Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab and an adjunct professor in the University’s Human Capital Management program.
Murnane’s experience spans the fields of finance, adult education and human capital. Her unique experience in securities analysis and management led her to further pursue the value of human capital in organizations. She has authored several dozen academic and practitioner articles and is a sought-after public speaker in the area of human capital management.

Murnane has haled executive-level sales, marketing and operations leadership positions with large corporations and has often consulted on complex business issues to improve organizational performance.