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  • Employee Engagement: 4 Things Disney Says You Need

    disney employee engagement If you want to create the happiest place on earth for your customers, you’re probably going to need some pretty engaged employees to make that happen, don’t you think?

    Bob Igor, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, believes that. He shared his thoughts on the subject in an employee newsletter (the Disney Newsreel), saying “I want Disney to be one of the most admired companies in the world, and we cannot do it without our employees. I want us to be admired by consumers, investors and the general public, but I also want us to be admired by the people who know us best–our employees. I want people to be proud to work here, to feel good about what we do and how we do it…”

    Disney knows what Gallup knows. There is a direct correlation between high employee engagement and high customer satisfaction. One tends to follow the other.

    If you want highly engaged employees, you’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse of engagement at your company. Disney conducts yearly surveys to make sure that they’re staying on track. The last survey results that they shared showed that 87% of survey respondents said they were proud to work for the Walt Disney Company. Eighty percent said that their jobs were both challenging and interesting. And 77% said they understood how their jobs fit with the goals and strategies of their business segments. Not bad numbers at all!

    Disney also runs the Disney Institute, offering professional development classes on employee engagement for both employees (“cast members”) and the outside world.

    Given all of that, we can see that employee engagement is a near-and-dear topic that Disney takes quite seriously.

    So, do you want to hear what they have to say on the subject? In their Disney Institute article The Building Blocks of Engagement, they cite four interconnected processes that they believe are key to creating and sustaining a culture of engagement. Here they are, excerpted from their post:

    • Employee Selection: Hiring people who are “right-fit” for the culture is crucial to the long-term success of an organization. The best potential employee is the one who exhibits desired cultural behaviors in addition to strong skills.
    • Training: Simply attracting and hiring right-fit employees is not sufficient to sustain engagement over time; so it’s also essential that on-going training is available for continuous development and personal career growth. The way you train your people sends powerful signals about what – and who – your organization values.
    • Communication: One of the single most important determinants of employee engagement and organizational effectiveness is communication. Remember that high-quality communications can actively reinforce culture; while low-quality communications can undermine culture.
    • Care: Genuinely caring for people, beyond standard benefits and incentive programs, creates a real sense of community, which leads to a positive and highly productive work environment.


    Disney believes that, by paying “extraordinary attention” to certain critical human resources processes, an organization can create and sustain a workplace culture comprised of highly engaged employees.

    There are no over-complicated HR buzzwords in Disney’s list and no concepts involved that are difficult to grasp. They simply make the commitment to do the basics extraordinarily well: Hire good people. Train them well. Keep them informed and in the loop. Care about them as human beings.

    When you reduce your company’s employee engagement strategy to its core, minus the corporate speak and official-sounding strategic initiatives and “roadmaps to success,” does it boil down to those simple building blocks? Are you paying “extraordinary attention” to those areas?

    If not, will you?


    Want help creating a culture of engagement? It’s our specialty! LEGEND Talent Management can help you create programs to attract, develop, and retain the right people at your organization.