Disneyland is a place of magic, but more than anything it’s a place of staff motivation secrets. Behind the impressive facades are warehouses, costume rooms, and no doubt the stationary cupboards and canteens you’d find in any place of work. But employees – or cast members, as they are called – are part of the greatest show on earth, one that’s meticulously directed to achieve the best staff motivation I’ve ever seen.
But I have a secret to share. I’ve seen a cast member break the rules, and I didn’t care one bit!
Staff motivation starts with the little things
Did you know that Disneyland employees are taught how to point on their very first day? It’s a terrifying prospect for staff motivation, with management teams and training facilitators teaching a skill that is somewhat self-explanatory. But cast members don’t feel insulted, or talked down to – they are too busy being surprised by the sheer genius of the notion that pointing with two fingers and the front of your hand makes visitors feel more relaxed.
Every company has its own rules and guidelines that keep things running smoothly across every department. Maybe you have specific channels of communication, or ways of working with external customers. But are the things you teach your employees insightful, intelligent and inspirational?
For staff motivation to build, great team communication is essential. Your employees need clear and direct guidelines on how to do their jobs, but – more importantly – these need to be the right rules, respected and understood by every member of your team. And you need to understand when a team member decides to ignore them.
Staff motivation is about your organisational culture
At Disneyland, I saw a cast member point with one finger. He had broken the rules, ignored the micromanagement. But nobody was insulted, nobody was outraged – because at the end of the day, it’s not really about pointing. The important thing is that the team understands the friendly, welcoming organisational culture that the Disney brand represents.
Team leaders often talk of the balance between micromanagement and employee freedom, but in practice these things are not opposing ends of a scale. You see, training and instructing your team on every small detail is fine, as long as you don’t expect perfection all the time.
It doesn’t matter if your team aren’t pointing properly, because the fact that you taught them to point plays a vital role in conveying the values of your organisation. Every small message that you send to an employee helps the team to remember the bigger picture, the way that you should deal with people and how best to remain productive.
How will you Jolt now?!