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  1. #1

    • Multi-decade CM
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    Arrow How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Dear Disney,

    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,

    Lighthope

    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

  2. #2

    • That Guy
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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Well put!

    Take care of employees and they will take care of the customers.

    I just got back from Discount Tire, and had amazing service, which is their usual standard. They take care of their employees, pay them well, and treat them with kindness and respect.

    DLR can learn a lot from this.




  3. #3

    • Disneyfanatic, CM
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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    I love it! Even just a couch and free soda would help moral sooo much. And oh, having a couch to rest on instead of the little metal chairs...I'd love it!

    Honestly though, I really believe it's the point system that has to go if they want anyone to stay. Trust me, when you're working in stores till 3am and mandatory 6 days a week and sick all the time because of it, you look left and right and realize you don't know any of your co-workers anymore.

    I love Disney and I love Disneyland... I hope that things begin to look up!

    Disney-lover, Dick Van Dyke Fan, Cast Member, Belle Wannabee,

  4. #4

    • Lost in Wonderland
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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    IAWTP.

    Well written and great ideas. I think Disney's best interest was in this post.

  5. #5

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Well-written post, Lighthope. Clear, concise, logical ideas.





    Too bad the folks who implement this stuff aren't smart enough to figure that out.

    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

  6. #6

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Quote Originally Posted by Chelle-Belle View Post
    Honestly though, I really believe it's the point system that has to go if they want anyone to stay. Trust me, when you're working in stores till 3am and mandatory 6 days a week and sick all the time because of it, you look left and right and realize you don't know any of your co-workers
    That reminded me of something else I thought of years ago but forgot.

    First off, let me add a little disclaimer that I have no problem with the point system. Normally, it is beyond belief to me that anyone can die an attendance death on the point system currently in use.

    However, when you start throwing in tons of mandatory OT, then it's small surprise that more people call in sick from simple burn-out.

    Hence, my other idea:

    For every <x> number of hours worked in mandatory overtime (voluntary doesn't count), <y> points will be deducted from your attendance violations.

    If you're going to force someone to work OT, you have to understand that such will lead to additional sickness. That's why OT is paid at time-and-a-half. It is considered to be a penalty on the employer for making the poor worker work beyond an allowed shift. The extra pay is intended to be a disincentive for overtime. Employees need their off-time. Take away their off-time and it is natural that additional sickness will occur. Hence the reason for discounting points for so many hours of mandatory OT to compensate for additional sickness.

    The thought behind this is the same behind giving B's and A's more allowed points. They work more than C's and CT's, so more points are allowed. Since OT requires more work, more points should be allowed as well.

    Anyway, that was more long-winded than originally intended. But I would like to see that implemented as well.

    Lighthope

    Pearls of Wisdom - Teach your children how to think, not what to think.

    --== TIGERS' QUEST - http://www.tigersquest.com
    --== THE DOCTOR WHO AUDIO DRAMAS - http://www.dwad.net

  7. #7

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Quote Originally Posted by Chelle-Belle View Post
    Even just a couch and free soda would help moral sooo much. And oh, having a couch to rest on instead of the little metal chairs...I'd love it!
    You poor thing. You don't know what you've missed.

    Down in the basement of the old Administration building was a little-known break area. Since it was so unknown, very few people came into it.

    What was best was that there was a little couch in there. I used to sneak down there and take these wonderful after lunch naps on it and come back to work so refreshed!

    Those were the days! Hahahaha

    Lighthope

    Pearls of Wisdom - "This is nature's way, the Creator's plan. This is Nature's Song" - Nature's Song (The Tigers' Second Quest)

    --== TIGERS' QUEST - http://www.tigersquest.com
    --== THE DOCTOR WHO AUDIO DRAMAS - http://www.dwad.net

  8. #8

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    I hope management actually gets off it's corporate butt and actually takes your advice. Thank you for posting these ideas. They seem like they would be easy to implement, and ANYTHING at this point to stem the tide of CMs leaving for greener pastures would be a GOOD thing in my book.

    Of course, a RAISE wouldn't hurt either.

  9. #9

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    personally i think all cms need to be retrained from management on down and I also think that anyone that is considered"managment" level ( and that includes park executives.) should be required to work one weekend a year at the park. not just supervise, but actaully work in a line or at foods or clean bathrooms actually get down to the nitty gritty. IF they all had to do that I can assure you things would change. and again I think everyone that works at DL and WDW should have to go through a course of traditions and retraining so they don't forget that the guest comes first and that is why they get paid.

  10. #10

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Being a DL CM should not be just another job. As a guest I should feel free to relax and KNOW that I can expect a first rate experience with any cast member I come across. So many CM's seem to have that "it's just a job" attitude. I actually kind of avoid much interaction now because I'd just rather not have any interaction than a negative one or one that just makes me feel like I could as easily be at Wal-Mart.

    I actually feel guilty sometimes expecting that "Disney Magic" from CM's when I know they are not getting the respect, money, and training they deserve when they are hired to represent Disneyland to guests everyday in the park.

    That said, I really appreciate it when I come across a CM who goes above and beyond their pay and training and really "gets it". That really adds to the experience for me, and it happens at least once every time I go to the Park.

    The original post makes a lot of sense, it all comes down to showing respect for the work that is done. That can be shown through perks, flexibility, first rate training, first rate bosses, or of course pay, but without those Disney will never have a work force that lives up to the experience Disney execs plans for us.

  11. #11

    • Tom Chaney R.I. P.
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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthope View Post
    Dear Disney,

    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,

    Lighthope

    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
    simple steps some times are the best to take, but don't hold your breath. Managment of many companys do not like simple.
    THIS SPACE FOR SALE OR LEASE





    PRESIDENT OF THE DISNEYLAND LOOP LOVERS ASSOCIATION

  12. #12

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    I can't remember when I've given it to you before, but I 'm not allowed to give it to you agiain.

    One of the best posts I've read here EVER.

    Thanks.

    And sorry I couldn't give you some more you-know-what.

  13. #13

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Sadly, not many companies in Corporate America see their employees as assets nowadays...it isn't just Disney.

  14. #14

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Quote Originally Posted by Lighthope View Post
    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.
    Agreed 100%. It should be cost, or free, but NEVER close to the price the Guest pays.

  15. #15

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    Re: How to fix CM morale WITHOUT pay raises

    Quote Originally Posted by Cmash95 View Post
    I also think that anyone that is considered"managment" level ( and that includes park executives.) should be required to work one weekend a year at the park. not just supervise, but actaully work in a line or at foods or clean bathrooms actually get down to the nitty gritty.
    Believe it or not, that used to happen. One weekend a year a supervisor would have to put on the peon's costume and do work. At least, in theory. In practice, every time I saw it the supervisor would crash in the lead's office with the suck-up leads and gab the day away.

    In theory, though, that is a good idea.

    Lighthope

    Pearls of Wisdom - Second place is First Loser.

    --== TIGERS' QUEST - http://www.tigersquest.com
    --== THE DOCTOR WHO AUDIO DRAMAS - http://www.dwad.net

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