EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: KIM SCHAEFER, CEO OF GREAT WOLF RESORTS INC.

Part 2:

Q: You recently appeared on the hit CBS show, “Undercover Boss,” describe the process of filming this show.

A: We were approached by the show’s producers to participate in the last season of Undercover Boss, and I instantly knew that it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the company in a way that very few other leaders get to – through the eyes of the people who truly represent our brand to our guests.

Admittedly, it’s not always easy whenever you choose to take a long, hard look in the mirror.  But that’s the only way for us to grow and to make ourselves – and our organizations - stronger.  I honestly felt that taking a step back, listening to some candid, unfiltered feedback, and seeing for myself what happens on the front line would really benefit this company in the long run.

Q: What did you enjoy most?

A: We all work hard to create an amazing experience for our guest families every day.  But I was absolutely astounded by how far above and beyond our employees go to personalize the experience for our guests – and sometimes that comes with a personal sacrifice.   I was also taken off guard with how much I personally identified with the employees I worked with.  Many of our employees are working parents just like me, and it was inspiring to see how they balance work and life, just like so many of us try to do.

I also learned that you have to stick around long enough for the employees to relax and start talking to you. And you have to do it often enough that it becomes an ongoing conversation.  It was those conversations that I enjoyed most.

I wouldn’t trade the Undercover Boss experience for the world.  What an amazing opportunity!

Q: What actions were taken to improve operations after going undercover?

A: In the end, this experience became so much more about the people who work for us and less about our policies and procedures.  I’m determined to find ways to engage people at a higher level in their jobs to help make us a better company. We have a team of unbelievable line level employees who create an amazing guest experience each and every day.  They inspired me to do several things I strongly believe will have a positive impact on the company.

We launched three new programs as a result of my journey:

Emerging Wolves Leadership Council – This is a program where line-level employees with high levels of potential and aptitude are identified and nominated by their supervisors to participate.  The program consists of educational training & career development, and a mentoring program designed to retain our valuable young leaders.

Great Wolf Scholarship Program – I’m so proud to say that we just launched our company-wide scholarship program for all Great Wolf Employees.  We just completed a successful fundraising drive which will enable us to award approximately 40 scholarships in 2012

Wolf Pack Family Days – We recently implemented a new employee benefit where employees can bring their immediate families to the resort and enjoy complimentary access to the waterpark with lunch or dinner for their families..

Q:  Favorite part about www.phillipfritts.com?

A: Highlighting people not only for what they have given to society but what makes them human and real in their journey as individuals.

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  1. [...] Want to find out about Kim Schaefer’s experience on the hit CBS show, “Undercover Boss” ? Then check out Part 2 of her interview! [...]

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