Al J. Schneider Company - Galt House and Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotels
The Al J. Schneider Company partnered with UofL Professional Development to meet organizational goals and provide excellent customer service by creating a multi-stage leadership training program for its employees.
Founded on the premise of providing passionate service from the heart, the Al J. Schneider Company and its hospitality division, comprised of the Galt House Hotel and Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel, are Louisville business icons.
Since education had always been important to the company’s founder, Al J. Schneider, Rebecca Bryant, director of human resources for the Galt House Hotel, was charged with the task of implementing a strategic learning initiative for the organization. Rebecca decided that by creating ongoing training opportunities and identifying career paths for the hotels’ 700 associates, AJS would be better positioned to help meet its organizational goal of providing guests with an exceptional experience. The biggest challenge was determining where to start.
“We chose to partner with the University of Louisville instead of all the other organizations and consultants out there because of the immediate connection that we felt with Virginia Denny and the rest of the team as we shared our vision. Virginia really listened to what we wanted and assured us that UofL could meet our needs.”
The Personal Personnel Experts
Rebecca knew the company needed training professionals who could provide the expertise and guidance to create and deliver training plans. “We chose to partner with the University of Louisville instead of all the other organizations and consultants out there because of the immediate connection that we felt with Virginia Denny and the rest of the team as we shared our vision,” Rebecca explained. “Virginia really listened to what we wanted and assured us that UofL could meet our needs.” Former Manager of Learning and Development Stefanie Englebrecht added, “UofL is local. They can walk through the hotel and see and touch our associates. With consultants and the cyber relationship, we wouldn’t get the passion and enthusiasm.”
Turning Learning into Leaders
“Corporate universities generally teach job skills: how to be a better cook, front desk agent or manager, all those basics. Those are the foundations, but ultimately, we wanted our university to be much more than that. We wanted our program to focus on leadership and teach what it truly means to lead and be a servant leader, an innovator within our industry. We want our associates to become experts at what they do and bring that into the greater community. This all ties back to what our founder Al J. Schneider stood for,” Stefanie shared. “By creating leaders within our organization, we are better positioning our company for growth and serving the greater Louisville community.”
With this goal in mind, UofL created a comprehensive, long-term program for AJS. This initiative was dubbed AJS University. The first program, the Leadership Foundation Series Level One, was targeted to supervisors and managers. UofL Professional Development instructors delivered eight three-hour seminars on-site, including a team-building session at the zoo. Seminars included “Leading from your Strengths,” “Coaching Like a Pro,” and “Working with Policies and Procedures,” as well as “Great Solutions: Problem Solving Skills and Tools.”
Not long after the first series began, the Galt House Hotel decided to invite associates from the Crowne Plaza to participate in the initiative as well. “We are a family. Family takes care of family. We want to be sure to offer a career path for all of our associates, which includes professional development opportunities,” Stefanie said. “We want them to know this is more than getting a paycheck. It is about building a career.”
Building a Unified Team
The initiative was also about building teamwork. Since opening up the training to both of the company’s hotels, the individual properties started to evolve into one organization. An associate from the Galt House Hotel explained it this way, “Building our team and getting to know each other was a great experience. It was like watching those invisible walls around departments come down right in front of us and I hope that continues.”
True to the original goal of the program, AJS University has provided life-changing opportunities for AJS associates. “ The Leadership Foundation series has given us an opportunity to embark on a journey of self-discovery, which led to the opportunity for us to identify our leadership style and how we can best serve the Al J. Schneider Company. We achieve change,” said Reginald “R.B.” Brewington, a Galt House Hotel associate.
The series has been so successful that UofL developed Leadership Foundation Series Level Two for AJS, which focused on advanced leadership training. UofL also delivered additional training sessions to AJS associates including executive facilitation and classes such as “The Polished Professional” and “Leading Change."
“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend UofL. Not just because they are experts. Lots of people are experts. They take the time to get to know you and your company. They will guide you through the process and tell you where to go based on what you say your goals are. They will make sure you stay true to your vision and goals while taking the fear and stress away. And, it means a lot to our associates that our training program is associated with the University of Louisville.”
Create leaders at all levels of your organization.
Join AJS and the other Louisville companies who have partnered with UofL to create Corporate Universities aimed at developing and investing in their employees. Contact us at 502.852.4620 to learn how we can partner.