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Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Celebrate the Everyday and Beyond: The Value of Consistent Recognition in the Workplace

January 26, 2016 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Last year, we explored the importance of simply saying, “thank you” to employees on a regular basis. We also shared this thought based on Simon Sinek’s 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.”

Doing these things “consistently” is key! Leaders who say thanks as much as possible, and who make recognition a regular, year-round priority create an environment of genuine care. Clearly, we know that recognition is a powerful tool for employee engagement.

Defined as any tangible expression of appreciation for an employee’s demonstration of the organization’s desired behaviors, recognition can be empowering, often propelling people to increasingly higher levels of engagement

Therefore, we believe that leaders should engage in at least these two broad types of recognition:
1.) Sincere, every-day acknowledgement for “going above and beyond” in daily tasks
2.) Special moments and opportunities that focus on larger accomplishments and significant milestones

Let’s look more closely at our philosophy on recognition:

At Disney, we believe that leaders should be out in the operation, away from their desks, on a regular basis. Our long-standing workplace culture already sets the tone and creates the expectation for how employees interact with each other on a daily basis, and recognition happens daily as we acknowledge each other for demonstrating one or more of our Four Keys Basics.

These everyday interactions and small, sincere acts of saying, “thank you” – when consistently delivered – provide the necessary foundation upon which larger, more significant recognition events can occur. For example, to commemorate their years of service with the company, leaders present their Cast Members with special-edition pins that attach to their nametags, and unique statues that signify reaching these milestone anniversaries. Leaders often make the presentation of these items into a “special moment” for the Cast Member, personalized to that individual’s desire for public or private recognition.


In addition, our Parks and Resorts businesses have established a tradition of hosting at regular intervals a VIP “Service Celebration” event specifically for those Cast Members, Crew Members, and Imagineers who are celebrating 10 years of service and beyond.This exclusive experience really makes our Cast feel valued and appreciated for their continued contributions over time.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that recognition is a powerful tool that can be used to encourage and reinforce your organization’s desired behaviors; and great leaders make it a regular, year-round priority. To learn more, consider enrolling in our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement professional development training course.

How do you recognize and celebrate the contributions your employees make every day?

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


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Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Employee Engagement, Engagement, Organizational Culture, Workplace Culture, Company Culture, Employee Recognition, Recognition, Genuine Care Bruce Jones


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