At Disney, our leaders make an intentional effort to consistently recognize our Cast Members as an expression of appreciation for their dedication and hard work. Meeting planners can help their organizations recognize employees by hosting an incentive program at a Disney destination and thanking them with an awards gala, dinner, or celebratory dessert party. 

Let’s take a look at some of the leadership insights that meeting planners can learn from a Disney Institute training session (this content originally appeared on the Disney Institute Talking Point blog):

Here at Disney Parks and Resorts, there is a group of Cast Members who Guests rarely see. I am referring to our third-shift Cast Members working in a variety of areas such as textile services, maintenance and custodial. Although these individuals may not interact directly with Guests very often, they clearly deserve recognition for their enormous contributions to the Guest experience.

Working throughout the night, these individuals help to maintain the upkeep of our parks and resorts so that they are “show ready” for Guests each day. They also focus on making sure our attractions, laundry facilities and transportation vehicles are in working condition to provide safe and reliable experiences to Guests and fellow Cast Members.

I was reading an article recently from 
Forbes that mentioned how employee recognition will always be an important part of company culture. As you would imagine, recognized employees are also happy employees, and when your employees feel recognized and valued they are more likely to stay with your organization and be engaged. When I think of these extraordinary third-shift teams, I’m reminded of the importance of recognizing those who may not always receive praise directly from customers.

One of the key insights we explore in our 
Disney’s Approach to Employee Engagement training course is that employee recognition is more powerful than most organizations can imagine. It’s a tangible expression of appreciation that you as a leader can provide your employees for demonstrating the desired behaviors of your organization. It may be as simple as telling employees “great job” in the moment when you observe them doing something above and beyond, or it can be something as grand as hosting an employee celebration event. It doesn’t have to be expensive – it just needs to be sincere.

To recognize our third-shift Cast Members we typically host an annual breakfast, or conduct an overnight celebration, including events like after-hours bowling. Each team’s leaders are responsible for hosting these celebrations to thank their teams for everything they’ve done throughout the year to make magic.

Of course, we can’t stop there when it comes to recognizing Cast Members. Throughout the year, Cast Members in various other roles across the parks and resorts have opportunities to experience 
special activities and events to recognize their contributions.

The article I referenced earlier says, “employee recognition knows no calendar.” To that, I would add, “employee recognition also knows no timeclock.” After all, recognition is an inexhaustible fuel for your workforce, so be sure you are not missing anyone!

So, whether you’re planning an executive retreat, a board of directors meeting, or a conference for thousands, Disney Institute can inspire you and your attendees with key takeaways and new ways of thinking that can be adapted and applied to their own careers and organizations. To learn more about engaging Disney Institute for professional development content for your next meeting or event held at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, submit a Request for Proposal or Contact Us to speak directly with a Disney representative or Sign Up to stay in touch with Disney Meetings.

Tell us - What can you do to recognize and celebrate those team members working behind-the-scenes at your organization? Let us know on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, or Instagram using #DisneyMeetingsAndEventsBlog.