I know you read these message boards. Just like I know you comb through newspapers looking for articles on Disney. I know because I had to do that for a few weeks.
I know the subject intrigued you, even if only for a moment. So let me qualify myself.
I am a 15 year veteran of Disneyland. I've seen quite a lot. I've worked on-stage and backstage. I was not the "perfect" CM. I continually flaunted the hair length regulations. (I hated my ears and thus tried to cover them up as long as I could get away with it.) I also could be gruff with the Guests. But that gruffness also made me very good at Guest Control. During the Electric Parade's final summer, I was assigned to a section by myself because the leads knew I could handle it. I was very proud of the fact that my section was the most organised and controlled on the entire route.
I've worked with Guests and Management, doing things from Attractions to Accounts Payable. I've been on "morale committees" and union activities. I've been called an asset to the company and been given awards as well as being told that management wanted to "march [me] to the end of Main Street and put [me] in front of a firing squad" (exact words). Yes, I've run the gambit.
In case you're curious (and you should be), I am in good standing and have only been written up once, back in 1989, for attendance. Other than that, my record is spotless.
If you're thinking this is going to be a bashing letter, please understand that I am not here to bury you. In fact, I will sing your praises. Disney does a lot of good that the detractors overlook for the sake of wanting to complain. Yet I will not be bashful about pointing out your deficiencies, either. If you want a Yes Man, you're looking in the wrong place. I'm certain you can find plenty of them if you really want one.
I have taken part in several "surveys" you've put out over the years which questioned us on how we perceived employment at Disneyland. One question that amused me most was "Do you think Management will listen to your opinions?" Despite my answer to that question (which I'm sure you can guess), I always strived to answer each question honestly and without bias. I loved Disneyland with all my heart and wanted desperately to help it improve.
Dear Disney, you have an employee problem. You've had one for years. And years. You've spent thousands of man hours trying to figure out how to solve it. Yet, after all that expenditure, you're looking at over 100% turnover. Things have gotten worse instead of better.
What you're doing isn't working.
I will tell you what exactly you need to do.
Some may say that is ego talking. Who am I to "know" what thousands of Cast Members want? Because, simply, I am one of those Cast Members.
Have a gathering of all Cast Members in Lincoln Theatre (or wherever your preference) and announce the following:
1) In 30 days, the Food Department will alter the pricing at employee cafeterias. Prices for food shall be changed to reflect "cost" rather than "profit". It is nothing short of theft to derive a profit from your employees, especially when going off property for lunch is not an option for many.
2) Break areas shall be refurbished, expanded, and enclosed to provide an area that is aesthetically separate from Disneyland so CMs can recharge in a world away from their work world. I remember years ago that The Centre was a CM break area. So comfortable with couches and comfy chairs. Then one day, a sign was posted that The Centre break area was being "improved". That "improvement" was moving the break area to a small, crowded room in back. We were so insulted. To call that an "improvement" was a slap in the face.
3) Instruct management that, in 90 days, rotation breaks will be restored to Attractions and rolled out to other departments at the end of summer but before November. I used to be able to pull a 13 hour shift without a problem because rotations always afforded a break before fatigue would set in. Now we have assigned breaks and lunches. The word was so we could "plan" our breaks. Liar. Oh, that may have been a secondary result, but the CMs knew the real reason. Rotation breaks are to be restored. Other departments will enjoy the same benefits.
4) Reverse Appraisals shall be implemented. I swear I have never seen such resistance to an idea as I saw management reject this one when it was first proposed in the 90's. The idea is that CMs shall give performance reviews to their leads, leads shall review supervisors (yes, I still call them Supervisors), supervisors review Managers, and so on up the chain. Performance reviews identify areas if improvement for CMs, but there is no real method to identify areas of improvement in the other direction.
5) Drinks shall no longer be free to Foods CMs. Sorry, there needs to be a giveback on this one. Yeah, Foods is a sucky job. So is a lot of other jobs and they don't get free drinks. Alternately, let drinks be free to everyone. One or the other. No special privileges.
6) B and A status CMs (Yes, I still call them that as well) shall be allowed a Silver Pass regardless of length of service. If they can work five days a week at Disneyland and stand coming to the park on their days off, more power to them! (On my days off, I stayed as far away as I could.)
There you are, Disney. Six things which will change the face of your employment situation. And not once did I mention a pay raise. Why? Because people don't work for Disneyland for high wages. They work there because of what Disneyland is. The problem is, you haven't been what Disneyland is supposed to be for so long that you've lost the loyalty of those you so desperately need.
You must change the definition of Cast Member. At the moment, you consider him a Liability. He needs to return to the status of Asset.
Thank you for your time. There is no charge for this counsel. I hope you accept it. So do your Cast Members.
Your most humble servant,
Pearls of Wisdom - Q: Should I have a baby after 35? A: No, 35 children is enough.
--== TIGERS' QUEST - http://www.tigersquest.com
--== THE DOCTOR WHO AUDIO DRAMAS - http://www.dwad.net