Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Creative Employee Recognition: Making a Big Impact in 140 Characters (or Less)

April 20, 2017 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Disney Cast member in front of Soarin Around the WorldIn recent years, Disney Parks and Resorts has expanded Guest service efforts to the digital world with the introduction of @WDWToday and @DisneylandToday, two new Twitter accounts created specifically to give Guests the opportunity to engage with our Disney Guest service Cast Members during their visit to the Disney Parks.

These Twitter accounts have made it possible for Guests to ask questions and provide feedback in real time, from the convenience of their mobile device, without having to seek out a Cast Member or visit a Guest Service desk.

Over time, our Guest service teams also began to see something else interesting happening. In addition to the questions and feedback, Guests were reaching out to the Twitter accounts to share stories about Cast Members who created a positive impact during their visit. That’s when they quickly realized there may be an opportunity to create some magic with the positive tweets.

Thus, the #CastCompliment Disney recognition program was born, and has started to become a part of our Disney culture. 

Today, anyone can participate in the #CastCompliment program to recognize exceptional Cast Members who added extra “pixie dust” to their experience. Guests can tweet at either of the Twitter accounts, using the hashtag #CastCompliment to share their experience, and identify the Cast Member and their location. Here’s an example:

Tweet from Guest to #castcomplimentThe @WDWToday and @DisneylandToday teams will then reach out to the recognized Cast Member’s leader, who will share the recognition with the individual at their work location along with a copy of the original tweet. Often, a photo is also captured to commemorate the occasion. Afterwards, the photo of the Cast Member being recognized is then shared on the Twitter account to publically celebrate their efforts. Take a look:

Cast Member receiving a thank you TweetOne of the insights we explore in our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement training course is that, in order for employee recognition to be more impactful and meaningful, you must infuse it with variety, creativity, and leader discretion. 

By utilizing technology, the #CastCompliment program has created a new, exciting, and convenient way for Guests to celebrate Cast Members. And, it is evolving into a cycle of positivity – because when followers see others recognizing Cast Members, they proactively look for their own #CastCompliment to tweet about, creating a unique emotional connection with our Cast Members.

At the same time, our leadership team embraced the #CastCompliment tweets as a way to positively reinforce exceptional behaviors, show genuine care for their Cast Members, and show them how much they are appreciated. As we have seen, surprising employees with recognition like this can have a positive disarming effect – it can transform an employee’s day because it was unexpected.

Ultimately, recognition does not have to be expensive or dramatic – just sincere. And, it doesn’t get more sincere than unfiltered positive Guest feedback. 

Think about it: What are some creative and innovative ways you could recognize members of your team? 


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Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Recognition, Engagement, Professional Development, Organizational Culture, Organizational Values, Values, Company Culture, Workplace Culture

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