Hiring Top Performers

“We are not makers of history. We are made by history.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Disney Way

At “The Walt Disney World Approach to HR Management”
seminar, attendees are given the opportunity to learn powerful
HR strategies from the largest single-site employer in the
United States. With 50,000 employees and the need to fill
100 job vacancies daily, Walt Disney World has a finely
tuned hiring and orientation program. Some of their key
strategies are:

=>Maintaining Disney’s culture is Chairman and CEO
Michael Eisner’s “No. 1 priority.” While first-time visitors
come to Disney for the attractions, they return because
of the quality of their previous experience. Employees
learn the importance of their role in providing the quality
experience that attracts repeat customers essential to the
success of Disney.

=>Disney processes between 150 and 200 applications
on any given day. Employment conditions and rules are
outlined and discussed with applicants at least five times
during the hiring process. Handouts itemize current job listings.

=>Disney’s orientation program engages new employees
on an emotional – not intellectual – level. As Richard Parks,
seminar facilitator explains, “We don’t put people in Disney.
We put Disney in people.”

=>An extensive reward and recognition program helps
create a supportive environment to encourage employee
enthusiasm. With 20 recognition programs, many of them
are rewarded locally, in specific departments so as to
remain pertinent.

=>New employees are asked to participate in their own
rewards by listing for their file the things they would like to
be rewarded with, such as time off, movie tickets or public

=>One form of public recognition is stenciling the names
of employees on the storefront windows of “Main Street”,
stating they are the store proprietors.

=>Though Disney utilizes bulletin boards, e-mail, television,
newsletters, update briefings, and virtually anything that
works, Dianne Marcum, vice president of human resources
planning and administration, acknowledges, “A leader is our
best communicator.” Supervisors are responsible for
communicating directly with employees.

Source: “The Walt Disney World Approach to HR
Management”, from HR Magazine Online Archive. c. early 2002

Additional references:

Dynamic Ideas to Reward, Energize and Motivate Your Teams
Here Today Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your
Workforce from High-Turnover to High Retention
Supervisor’s Passport to Success


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