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Recognizing Your (Work) Force: How Disney Cast Made Their Mark on a Galaxy Far, Far Away

October 06, 2017 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

At Disney Institute, we teach business professionals around the world that you must intentionally find as many ways as practically possible to genuinely care for your people. Why is this key? As I’ve shared in previous posts, caring for your people creates an emotional connection that drives commitment to goals and overall engagement in the organization.

Here’s a story from Disney Parks and Resorts that I think demonstrates this idea really well:

As you may know, a new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, is coming to Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. However, you may not know about a long-standing tradition at Disney Parks and Resorts that involves our Cast Members.

During construction, a “topping-out ceremony” represents the moment when the highest point of steel is put into place of a new building or project. In late July of this year, Cast Members from across Disneyland Resort enjoyed a topping-out ceremony for the new Star Wars section of the park and actively participated in an important moment: signing their names and well wishes on a steel beam that was hoisted into place as the highest point in this new land.

When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in 2019, thousands of Cast Members will look skyward and know they are part of this immersive, intergalactic world — literally.

At Disney, we’ve learned genuine care is everyone’s responsibility, and it occurs every day. As in this case, it can sometimes be as simple as signing your name! But, what this seemingly simple act communicates is something far more impactful. By inviting our Cast to be a part of this extremely exciting new endeavor, leaders demonstrated how truly important everyone is to our continued growth and expansion.

As we’ve learned over our many years of training business professionals, leaders sometimes get hung up on the idea of recognition – believing that to recognize their people they have to spend lots of money and time. But, that’s not the case! With a little creativity and thought, you can demonstrate in a meaningful way how important each person is to your organization.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that recognition is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire employee engagement and cultivate excitement among your team for new projects. 

Think about it: How are you creating simple opportunities to show your team how much you appreciate them and recognize their contributions?

To learn more, consider enrolling in our Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement course, our professional development training course that imparts techniques for improving workplace culture through employee selection, training, communication and care. 


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form




Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Employee Engagement, Organizational Culture, Company Culture, Workplace Culture, Recognition, Workplace Recognition, Disney Business Training, Bruce Jones


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