Yum! Brands announced Tuesday that it acquired Heartstyles, a program aimed at leadership development.

Yum, parent of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, says it purchased the program so that it could “unlock potential and build the capabilities of people who drive the performance” at its restaurants.

Heartstyles was created by married couple Stephen and Mara Klemich. The program teaches people how to create authenticity and build workplace cultures that lead to improved results. The primary driver of the program is the Heartstyles Indicator, an online self-assessment tool that analyzes key personality behaviors and identifies how one can grow.

The move comes amid the ongoing challenge in the industry of retaining talent. According to a National Restaurant Association survey, 37 percent of restaurant operators in the quick-service industry list recruiting and retaining employees as their No. 1 challenge in 2020.

Yum! plans to spread the Heartstyles program to its more than 2,000 franchisees who run 98 percent of its more than 50,000 restaurants.

“I’m committed to elevating the experience for each of our 40 million customers every day and achieving the kind of unit economics only made possible with an exceptional culture and talent. Scaling Heartstyles globally can help us consistently and measurably strengthen our people-first culture from the corner office to the restaurant,” says Yum CEO David Gibbs in a statement. “When we and our franchisees have strong and engaged restaurant general managers, they lead inspired teams, the customers feel it and it positively impacts results. We believe Heartstyles is a powerful tool to help our 2,000 franchisees consistently deliver and sustain a great customer experience and grow restaurant sales.”

Stephen Klemich, a leadership consultant, and Mara Klemich, a neuropsychologist, have worked in the area of corporate cultures and behaviors for more than 30 years. They recently authored a book, “Above the Line: Living and Leading with Heart,” which helps people understand their behaviors and how they can improve.

“Your culture drives your success. Your people drive your culture. So, knowing what drives your people is imperative,” say the Klemiches in a statement. “Leading organizations like Yum! Brands have long known that their people are a unique competitive advantage. The next chapter for Heartstyles is exciting because we know that the scale and resources Yum! Brands offers will allow Heartstyles to reach, develop, and transform the potential of more people for years to come. Heartstyles will continue to be available to organizations outside of Yum! Brands.”

Business Advice, Employee Management, Franchising, Restaurant Operations, Story, Pizza Hut