Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Giving Thanks Beyond the Holidays: 4 Ways to Show Genuine Care Year-Round

November 11, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

‘Tis the season for giving thanks. With the start of the winter holiday season quickly approaching, Thanksgiving is the time of year where many of us pause to reflect on everything for which we are grateful. This frame of mind also carries over into the workplace, where it is customary for leaders to thank employees for their hard work.

Don’t get me wrong…leaders thanking their employees is always a good thing. But, when it comes to showing genuine care, the kind that builds and sustains a positive company culture that will drive employee engagement and commitment, leaders must make an effort that goes well beyond a perfunctory calendar-driven response.

According to this infographic based on the book, Leaders Eat Last, the most successful leaders consistently put aside their own interests to protect employees, actively demonstrate their support for colleagues and employees, and actively listen to employees.

The key word is here is “consistently.” In other words, great leaders make genuine care a regular, year-round priority. They don’t simply limit their show of appreciation to a single time of year. At Disney Institute, we believe that the key to sustaining genuine care is creating a care strategy, and then operationalizing it all year long.

Here are the Four Ways to Operationalize Care in your organization year-round:

  1. Find as many ways as practically possible to regularly demonstrate genuine care for your people. “As practically possible” does not mean spending lots of money. Employees don’t expect an elaborate gesture; they just want to know you care about them as individuals.
  2. Practice intentional listening as a critical tool and signal of care. People feel a tremendous sense of value and worth (i.e. they feel genuinely cared for) when it is clear that leadership is listening to them. Ask questions (beyond employee surveys), actively listen to your people, and take action based on what you hear.
  3. Make the day-to-day work experience as hassle-free as possible. Find out what bugs employees or makes their jobs more difficult. Resolving even minor annoyances can have a big impact. People will feel cared for and listened to when you make their lives easier, which goes a long way toward creating a culture of commitment rather than one of compliance.
  4. Encourage (and demonstrate) peer-to-peer care among employees.Why is this critical? Because peer-to-peer care is the purest and most genuine form of care, there is no company agenda. It creates a strong sense of community among employees and enhances the emotional connection between your employees and your organization.

In what other ways can you operationalize genuine care so that it becomes a regular, year-round occurrence in your organization?  

We would love to hear from you!
Post your response below, or respond to us on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #DThinkBlog.

Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney parks and resorts worldwide to provide relevant illustrations and engaging stories that help you deliver the type of long-term results your organization is capable of delivering. Ultimately, Disney Institute can help you operationalize and sustain business results through leadership, culture, service and more. Explore our solutions for a team or an organizational initiative by visiting Our Approach page. To learn more about options available for an individual, please explore our Scheduled Courses.



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Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Leadership, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leadership Coaching, Culture, Company Culture, Organizational Culture, Employee Culture, Employee Engagement, Thanksgiving, Holidays, Bruce Jones

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