They needed to hire dozens of managers for the new stores, some
of which would be thousands of miles from the company's
They needed to get them up to speed quickly on the Krispy Kreme
way of making doughnuts. And they needed to teach them the
legendary doughnut maker's corporate culture, which dates back to
Before Krispy Kreme began selling shares to the public to help
finance the aggressive expansion plan last year, executives wanted
a standardized training program for store managers that could be
tracked back in Winston-Salem.
"We looked at every opportunity to deliver this training to
managers in various locations and we wanted to be quick, consistent
and effective," said Barbara Thornton, vice president of human
resources and community affairs for Krispy Kreme.
"We decided we needed an approach that offered both on-the-job
training as well as multimedia materials," she said. "The next
logical step was computer-based training."
So they turned to the Internet and an online management training
program developed by a tiny Charlotte technology firm, Handshaw &
Company president Dick Handshaw put together focus groups with
Krispy Kreme employees to determine exactly what they needed in the
training program and how a Web-based component could support the
other parts of Krispy Kreme's training.
The firm even created a software program that could run on a
basic modem connection, making it accessible to the trainees
without also having to provide them with expensive, high-speed
The training began in April on Krispy Kreme's intranet site, and
it has now been expanded to the extranet and finally, the Internet.
"With the Internet, a manager can sign on to the training
program at the store," Handshaw said in an interview. "If he or
she is not finished, they can go home and sign back on and pick up
where they left off. Or they can use their laptop in an airplane or
While the technology is not unique, the graphics and animation
used by Handshaw & Associates come straight out of the Krispy Kreme
culture. For example, a lesson entitled "Customer Relationships"
shows the trainee a variety of doughnuts with instructions to place
them in the proper trays in a display case.
The doughnuts look almost good enough to eat.
"Click and hold your mouse button to drag the doughnuts to the
trays, then release the mouse button to drop them in the case,"
the directions on the computer screen say. "When you're finished
practicing, click the Next button."
"It's kind of like a (computer) game," Handshaw said.
And like the fantasy worlds conjured up in some computer games,
the training program reinforces the actual Krispy Kreme culture
using images such as boxes of doughnuts and the company's logo.
"Everyone who grew up with Krispy Kreme has their own story to
tell, which is all part of the culture," Handshaw said. "The
managers need to be able to tie into that culture."
Since its introduction, about 54 managers have started the
training and about half of them have completed it, Thornton said.
The company expects 250 managers will take the training over the
next 18 to 24 months.
"The thing we really like about it is that we're all very
connected," she said. "As the company was expanding, we needed to
train more managers. We're very pleased with the fact that the
program can track a manager's progress.
"Another thing we really like is that we can keep updating the
program to make sure the training is current."
Handshaw & Associates plans to market its online training
technology to other companies with similar needs. Krispy Kreme has
153 stores in 27 states and is embarking on a big expansion
"I've had bigger projects, but this one is a turning point in
the sense that it gave us the chance to invent a product which we
will use to build a whole line of business," Handshaw said.
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