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Disney U

How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees

By Doug Lipp
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
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Disney U by Doug Lipp

Disney U (2013) lays out the strategy behind the massive success of the Disney theme parks. By caring for their staff and providing them with the highest training, Disney ensures that their employees have the customer service skills necessary to create a truly magical environment. These blinks teach you how to implement Disney’s philosophy in your own business.

Key idea 1 of 6

A company's values should help the staff stay motivated, hardworking and happy.

The employees are the most important part of any business, especially in a customer-focused industry. You can't achieve success without a well-trained, motivated and happy staff.

So keep your workforce happy by providing them with values, not just physical goods. Most companies fail here because they assume they can motivate their employees solely with pay or bonuses or little perks. They don't realize they need to share the company's values with them, too.

If your employees don't care about your company's values, they won't be interested in its progress or stakeholders. They'll only be concerned with their own material needs.

Disney strives to avoid this. They carefully promote the company's philosophy at Disney University, where staff (or cast members, in Disney terms) is trained. The cast members come to share the company's values, so they feel a much deeper connection to it.

You also need to keep your employees happy. The best way to do this is to ensure that the management stays in close contact with them. The management should know immediately if the employees encounter any problems.

Van France, the founder of Disney University, used to take walks through the institution to see how the cast members were doing. During one of his walks, he noticed a problem with the orientation program for newly hired members: the company and its parks had expanded so quickly that trainees were struggling under the old orientation program, which had become too small. It was out of date.

So France developed a new orientation program that was more suited to the needs of the company and its trainees. The management should always be aware of the organization's inner workings, and seek out ways to make work more efficient and enjoyable.

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