The Diversity of Disney
Going to Disneyland is a magical experience.
Much of the enjoyment comes not only from the wonderful settings and characters but also from the people that work there. There are a wide variety of people from all over the world, at all age groups, all doing a mixture of activities with a common thread. They all try their best to give great customer service in whatever role they are involved with.
I am unfortunately not party to the Disney recruitment criteria, but you can be sure that diversity is high on their agenda. As long as you have the right “you’re going to have a great day today Sir” attitude, you’ve got the job, no matter whether you are 18 or 80, Chinese or Mexican, male or female. One thing is for certain, I bet being a “recruiter” for people at Disneyland is a lot of fun….
They have a laser focus on people who will give great service, and all the other criteria (such as age, gender and ethnic origin) come a distant second.
It made me think.
Working in the technical recruitment market as I do, a common issue that I come across is how to open the market up to source more candidates for a particular position. In the technical space, we are very niche in the way we view the skill sets required and the sectors we chose from. From an experience point of view, my clients are looking for very specific competencies, which makes it even stranger that the “older” professionals sometimes do not get considered as often as they should.
We have to be more focused on the requirements of the roles and let the other criteria fade into the background. An ambitious 25-year-old who only stays for 18 months would not be as good a hire as a 55-year-old who can utilise his experience not only in his role but also in a mentoring capacity for others. The lack of hiring boundaries for Disney was a real eye-opener for me.
What is also clear is the level of trust that Disney put in their workforce. It was very evident in everybody I met who worked there. From the guy who seemed convinced he had been born and raised in Fantasyland to the lady who was encouraging me to dance with the parade. They all operate freely and have obviously been trained very well and had the vision of the organisation expressed very clearly to them. Irrespective of background, you felt that they were part of the Disney family.
I agree that the skills required to work at Disney are more generic than many businesses, but the Disney “cast” are a shining example of true diversity in action.
Industry could learn a lot from the organization, training and culture that exists at the most magical place on earth.
Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury
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