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Human Resource Management At Walt Disney World Resort Tourism Essay

There's probably no place on earth as magical as the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The theme park is constantly on the thrill, delight and exceed its guests' expectations almost 40 years after its opening. The trick to Disney's success is it's well-trained, enthusiastic and motivated employees. From the secret that the founder, Walt Disney himself realized years back.

"You are able to dream, create, design and build the most wonderful devote the world but it needs people to make the dream possible, " he said.

A Brief History

The Walt Disney World Resort, is the world's greatest & most visited recreational resort, covering 30, 080-acres near Orlando, Florida, USA. The resort was founded with the opening of the Magic Kingdom theme park in 1971. It contains four theme parks, two water parks, 23 resort hotels, lodges and time-share properties, sports facilities complex, and other recreational venues and entertainment. Epcot park was added in 1982, Disney's Hollywood Studios in 1989 and Disney's Animal Kingdom in 1998.

This world famous resort was inspired by the dreams of Walt Disney and his creation of Disneyland in California. The resort is the most significant single-site employer in america, employing 42, 000 people, with over 3, 000 different job classifications. A lot more than 1000 people work in the security department alone.

Hiring

Disney is renowned to be a great and friendly place at which to work. Its ability to provide attractive incentives make it a desirable location to work and it is constantly evaluating the marketplace to ensure their wages remain competitive. All Disney employees participate in training programs that update them on the latest service techniques, product knowledge, and technology being found in their parks. Disney recruit both internally and externally, advertising vacancies on their website, via the press, job fairs, employment exchanges and colleges. There exists a large volume of college students employed in Disney. Employment representatives also happen to be Puerto Rico to recruit for positions such as housekeeping, custodial and food and beverage.

It 's 4 major employment strategies are:

Hire the right people

Develop visitors to deliver service quality

Provide needed support systems

Retain the best people

Once potential employees have been identified, interviews follow. The abilities and abilities that managers generally look for are:

Excellent communication skills

Good team player

Self motivated

Analytical ability

Problem solver

Leadership potential

Strong computer skills

Project management skills

Relationships-builder

Able to control expectations

Personal and professional style

Strong business judgment

Ability to facilitate and multitask

A guest service orientation

Disney theme parks promise to provide a superior service to be able to make a "imaginary world where visitors can escape the themes of the "real" world". To do this, the company has to employ people who have the correct skills and personalities, who are also motivated, with an obvious knowledge of the company's marketing objectives and strategies. Staff have to be polite, well dressed, energetic, enthusiastic, and people-loving, always serving guests whole-heartedly. All staff are provided with an considerable knowledge of the park facilities, rides, and sites.

HRM Practises

Disney believes in investing in its staff and provide various training programs and learning opportunities for employees to work their way into higher positions. The business promotes from within 70% of the time. Almost everyone like the managers begin in an entry-level hourly job (Disney almost completely promotes from within). There is a program to help hourly employees who wish to become part of management, there is another that lets them transfer to the technical unions like plumbers and electricians as an apprentice. That program involves four many years of training resulting in an extremely well-paid job.

Disney also give educational reimbursement for those who are continuing their education while doing work for Disney full-time.

Supervisors try to generate a family-like atmosphere in Disney by offering flexible schedules and on-site day care programs for working parents. . The business also host numerous special events because of its employees that are held in the park after hours.

Present day human resources practices at Disney are considered to be "extraordinary", with all staff being been trained in excellent client satisfaction policies. However HR practices were very poor in the early years of Disney. The Walt Disney Company originated back in 1923, when Walt and Roy Disney started their first animated recording studio. Early animation production was highly labour-intensive. Rigid division of tasks was further delineated on gender lines. By 1941, the Walt Disney Company employed 1, 100 people. Ellwood (1998) describes Walt Disney as "a notorious workaholic, a perfectionist who pushed his staff relentlessly". Both "paternalistic and domineering" he rewarded loyalty and punished dissidents. There have been no women or black people promoted to senior positions during this time period. The company was the only Hollywood studio without union representation and therefore was targeted by the American Federation of Labour. Eventually, animators took commercial action over conditions and lack of recognition in 1941.

By the end of the 1990s, the Walt Disney Company had progressed into a $23 billion media conglomerate.

Cast Members

Employees in Disney are called 'cast members'. Quality cast members are the result of quality hiring practices. Bonuses are paid to employees who refer new hires. Disney believes it's important to have people who have actually worked in several parts of the business, to do the hiring. So these cast members employed in the casting office, come from all different elements of the Disney organization, and focus on 12-month assignments.

While possible cast members wait for their initial interviews, they watch a short video that describes the interview process and outlines what the company expects of these, if they are successful.

Once hired, new cast members feel the same 1. 5 day training program called Traditions. It's here they learn the basics to be good cast members, from Disney history to direction how to meet and exceed guest expectations. Cast members learn they need to adhere to the company's strict 13 page manual of dress codes, known as the "Disney Look. " The "Disney Look" is a rigid code of cast member appearance that imposes a well-scrubbed, all-American look. It details the size of earrings allowed, to how big is finger nails, to the no tolerance rule regarding facial hair and dyed hair for both females and males. Disney's grooming standards seem sensible when you consider employees to be part of a cast of characters so there is absolutely no room for non-conformity.

Every employee is instructed in the "Seven Guidelines to Guest Service" which highlights the necessity to smile also to be cheerful.

From the start, staff are encouraged to implement a "have a nice day!" mentality, also to smile the "Disney smile" all day.

Casting

Employees are routinely assigned jobs according to age and appearance, a process officially known as "casting". The best "presentable" get the most popular "front-line" jobs and shifts. For example:

Young and pretty personnel get jobs that involve a lot of interaction with customers;

Haitian women generally work in housekeeping;

Older women sell in the shops

Older men work in security

Puerto Recons work in food preparation

African Americans are stewards or cooks,

More when compared to a 100 Africans are used in the " Animal Kingdom", to lend "authentic flavour".

Anyone who might appear "less 'presentable' work on the night time shift

Cast Members receive some excellent benefits including:

Health, Dental, Life Insurance

Complimentary Theme Park Passports

Learning and Development Opportunities

Paid holidays, vacations, and sick days

Retirement plan.

Scholarship Program

30% Discount on park merchandise

Employee Stock Purchase Program

Access to a Cast Member-only lake and car park with tennis, volleyball, and an Olympic-size pool.

Educational Reimbursement

Educational Matching Gifts Program

Service Awards

Employee & Cast Member Contests

Childcare Centres

Credit Unions

Employee Stores

Cast Members usually work 40 hours or even more every week, with quality service being the responsibility of every one. Each one measures service quality levels, establish benchmarks and set goals, as there is absolutely no person responsible for quality. Instead of one quality director, Disney has 42, 000 of these.

(Paton S. M. Service Quality, Disney Style, Quality Digest)

Disney University

Many hours have been specialized in designing successful employee 'universities' which train staff in the Disneyland philosophy.

Walt Disney established the Disney University to instruct these unique skills. The University provides cast members with free world-class training in diverse skills including computer applications, professional development, management/leaderships development, health & safety, interviewing, business, etc.

Empowerment

Disney is committed to employee empowerment. Employees are empowered to resolve all guest issues on their own, with managers only getting involved with extreme circumstances. Managers use service measurement teams to empower employees. 1 or 2 2 employees from each department take note of any service issues that might take from a guest's stay at the resort. By keeping records of every problem, and how it was handled, helps to decrease the chances of it happening again. To help keep up-to-date using their guests expectations, Disney also collects large sums of data about guests from judgment polls, surveys, focus groups etc. From this information, the company know that the most notable three things that guests expect are for the parks to be clean, friendly and fun. Every worker, from the CEO to cleaner, know these 3 expectations well, and it is empowered to make them happen. All employees know, too, the definition of quality at Disney:

"Disney defines quality as attention to detail and exceeding guest expectations. "

Performance Appraisals

Management use performance appraisals and performance surveys, to measure internal service quality. The twelve-monthly performance appraisal was created to supply the employee a broad perspective of his/her accomplishment from the prior year and also to identify upcoming challenges. Another strategy employed by managers to provide service quality, are monthly development action plans. (DAPs) (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000)

Rewards

Disney certainly know the true value of retaining productive employees. Annual turnover amongst its employees is only 20%. This low turnover is made possible by treating employees like resort guests, and the intensive employees reward programs, Disney offers. There are more than 50 different reward and recognition programs, that are geared towards maintaining high employee morale, the most prestigious award being the "Partners in Excellence" program. This award involves one employee nominating another employee (that has excellent attendance no disciplinary action record). The nominated employee then receives a bronze statue of the company founder, Walt Disney, and is also invited to a dinner ceremony where he/she is individually recognized for his/her outstanding accomplishments by company executives.

Disney also rewards employees through service pins, attendance awards, and Recognition-O-Grams (ROGs). Recipients usually wear service pins on their uniforms, which they receive service pins on their first, fifth, tenth, twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries. Attendance awards are also wanted to employees after one, three, five, ten and fifteen many years of perfect attendance. The awards range between honorary certificates to a $2000 gift certificate.

Recession hits Disney Theme Parks

Like a great many other industries, the entertainment industry has been damaged by the world economic downturn. Early this year, Disney reported a 32% drop in net gain for its fiscal first quarter of 2010, attributing the results to the recession's effects on its studio, television and parks. The Walt Disney Co. axed 1, 900 jobs from its theme parks in California and Florida. Walt Disney World in Orlando eliminated 1, 400 jobs. The original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, axed 300 positions. The rest of the jobs were eliminated at the company's corporate headquarters at Burbank.

"These decisions aren't made lightly, but are essential to maintaining our leadership in family tourism and reflect today's monetary realities, " said Mike Griffin, a Walt Disney World spokesman.

Those let go received a 60-day paid administrative leave, a severance package that is dependant on their years of service, extended medical benefits, and job placement.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

"Disney is bracing for a protracted downturn as people skip theme parks to save money. The recession, and the recent decline, has really hit the theme park industry, but it offers hit the destination parks more than the regional parks, People are staying nearer to home, " the newspaper said.

Trade Unions

Workers are represented by 34 unions, the biggest being the Service Trade Council Union (STCU), The STCU represents about 22, 000 F/T and 5, 000 P/T employees at Disney World. The SEIU is area of the STCU, a consortium of six trade unions that is the only group certified to bargain with the Disney company. Within the last two years alone, Disneyland Resort has successfully negotiated nine agreements with the union. These agreements included wage increases, sick pay and usage of seven affordable and reliable healthcare plans offered through Disney's Signature benefits package for full-time cast members.

Conclusion

This essay looked at the human resource practises which have been adopted at Disney in order to increase the delivery of superior guest services. Reasons for the business's success include emphasis on customer service, and a concentrate on the elements of efficiency, courtesy, show, and safety. It shows how employee strategies at Disney lead to the attainment of exceptional service quality.

Disney takes a lot of care with its casting department and regularly examine its pay packages and new means of recruiting. It provides a competitive package of wages and incentives to it's staff, such as free park admission and discounts on park merchandise.

In days gone by, Disney's theme parks has been fairly recession-proof. But this year, fewer people found their way to the Magic Kingdom as profits were down from 2008-10. Disney said the company manages its procedure based on demand, and like any other business it is subject to the fluctuations of the economy

It's important that management stress to workers that employee development and empowerment can be an on-going process, as the actions of empowered employees have enabled Disney to build up a lasting relationship with an incredible number of guests worldwide. The human resource department must continually develop successful recruiting strategies and effective reward and recognition programs to keep up high morale and promote teamwork.

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