At Disney, training our Cast Members is not an optional exercise—rather, it is operationalized and embedded into the values system of the organization. Meeting planners can incorporate training sessions into their organization’s meetings to help attendees exceed expectations and deliver on their brand’s promise.
Let’s take a look at some of the employee engagement insights that attendees can learn from a Disney Institute training session (this content originally appeared on the Disney Institute Talking Point blog):
At Disney Institute, we believe training is a vital component of organizational culture and a key ingredient in fostering strong employee engagement. However, what we've observed through our work over the past 30 years is that too many organizations tend to underestimate the amount of support people need in achieving desired levels of performance.
Instead of investing the time and resources to effectively train and develop their employees, some organizations appear to simply hope that employees will become technically proficient and begin to demonstrate desired workplace behaviors over time. Well, I can assure you that "hope" alone is rarely a viable long-term strategy!
We have found that, to ensure employees can learn new skills and develop the behaviors that represent your desired workplace culture, training cannot be seen as optional—instead, it must be operationalized and embedded into the values system of the organization.
We have also seen that the way people are trained often sends powerful signals about what and who the organization values. Here are three important opportunities for any organization to send positive signals that reinforce the value of training:
- Onboarding – Effective onboarding is crucial for both the employee and the company. New employees will make many judgments about an organization based on their first few days. It's important for onboarding to go beyond just the "how-to" alone to also include an overview on why the organization exists and does what it does. By sharing the organization's common purpose and shared values, new hires can see how they fit into the company's culture and be reaffirmed in their decision to work for the organization. At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, the very first training all new-hires experience is called Traditions, which focuses on introducing Cast Members to our common purpose and quality standards, as well as the rich history and legacy of the Disney Company. More specific "how-to" training begins in the days following Traditions.
- Transitioning Positions – When employees transition into new positions, move from an hourly to a salaried role, or take on the responsibility of leading a team, training is necessary to provide or reinforce the skills and behaviors needed to be successful. Re-engaging in training also offers important opportunities to reinforce the organization's values and vision.
- Continuous Learning & Development – Organizations that invest in the continual growth and well-being of employees tend to be more successful in the long run. Offering opportunities to further develop skills and improve one's leadership effectiveness sends a signal of genuine care for all employees, and those who do have the opportunity to continue to learn and develop tend to be more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay with a company.
To help determine if training is being fully operationalized as part of your organization's culture, consider the signals being sent at key moments like these and ask yourself
- What shared organizational values are being communicated during this training experience?
- How does this training experience help employees understand the "why" as well as the "how-to"?
- How will this training further empower employees to deliver upon the organization's mission, vision, and common purpose?
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 & Events.