Without a great team you cannot build a great business. Learn how to hire just like Disney World from the man who once managed its 40,000 plus cast members.Sign Up to Watch
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-Did you ever feel, I'm not saying I do. I'm just asking this on behalf of some people watching this, maybe need to hear this. Did you ever feel judgmental for having this type of attitude towards what someone should or shouldn't look like to stay on Disney brand?
-I think about that a lot, that I'm sure people would accuse us of being judgmental. But it's the same old story. We're putting on a show, it's rolling the show. We decide what we want our brand to stand for. And the Walt Disney sign, the brand, has to happen when you go inside the park. It's like when I look at a Marriott brand on the wall outside a hotel, says Marriott. I know what's going to happen when I go inside. Inside it's going to be Marriott. There's other brands where I see the sign, but I know it's inconsistent. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.
Strength of brand. We've got to decide what you're going to be, then that's what you got to be. And you talk about some of the best companies today. They're focusing on Apples, whatever they're doing. That's what they do. And Chick-fil-A focuses on chicken. So some kid comes in to work for you and wants to serve burgers. It ain't going to happen.
-Right. It's just their brand.
-Well, let me ask you this here. The SBA says that 99.7% of all jobs created in the United States over the past decade, so 99.7% of these jobs created in the past decade have all been created from small businesses. These small-business owners. So what should a small-business owner, if I'm a small-business owner watching this today, what should I do to begin attracting top talent?
-Yeah. You know, and it's difficult when you're just starting out and you don't really have all the perks and you don't have the pension plan and all the stuff. I think there's a lot of opportunity today because a lot of young people want to work in a small company, small organization. I think you have to be more open minded to treating people as individuals and working with them on their schedule and time off, giving them a life. A lot of kids today are not going to work day and night. They want a life. They want time off. They want to do things. Some of them want to work from home once a week.
I think there's a lot of just making sure that you can accommodate somebody so they wake up in the morning and feel good about where they work. And small business is even harder because when you only got two or three people, you can't make a mistake. You can't have two of them, a mistake. And then I think you got probably a good way to keep them is make sure you're giving them the right training, the right education. You might have to figure out some new ways to sit down with them once a month and teach them the business you're in and make sure they can understand it. One day they can leave you and go out and open their own business. Show a real interest in them.
-Now I have this philosophy. In small business, to be a good manager, you have to be a mentor. You have to mentor people in order to manage. Because no one is going to want to work for a small business and not have those perks unless they have can have the perk of mentorship.
-They've got to be getting something. There's got to be a payoff.
-There's got to be some sort. And I look back at myself and I almost kind of laugh to avoid crying. But when I think about how I used to be when I was 20 years old and running the business, I was not the kind of person that I would want to work for. What kind of person do you have to become to attract top talent, in your mind?
-Well, I think you certainly need to be a teacher. I think you really need to understand that's a big part of your responsibility is to teach people. Because that can be better than pay. In the long term, that can pay off for them three years down the road, that you took the time to teach them the business.
And I look back at my own career, early on, a guy who took care of me and taught me the business as a waiter. I didn't even know how to fold a napkin. I'd never even seen a linen napkin. I said, we had paper napkins at home, we used them on holidays. During the week we didn't have napkins. And we had one fork. And which glass you pour the wine in.
And I think about this guy. He took an interest in me and got me started in the right direction. Because I didn't know anything. I mean nothing. And so, yeah. I think that's one way, is taking an interest in somebody and letting them know that you're going to give them something of value.
-Being a teacher is big.
-Being a teacher to me is huge. And I think finding ways to let them know that they matter and you really do care about them. And I mean, really, when you think about your kids, that's what you do all the time to build their self-esteem, their self-confidence, to make them more loyal to the organization. And understand they're going to leave maybe in two or three years. That's fine. But if you can have a great person for two or three years or one or two years, yeah.
-Now walk me through the step-by-step process that happens at Disney, from the time the person applies for the job, all the way until the candidate gets hired. What does that look like?
-Today if you want to apply at Disney, you go online. First when you apply, they'll offer you an opportunity to take an online review of you. It's 132 questions.
-You go through and answer, are you ever late to work?
-Are you serious?
-Tut, tut, tut. 90 of them are graded. 40 of them are duplicates to cross check your answers, to see if you're being honest with them. And if you get through that, you get to go over to Casting Center and fill out an application.
Even today they've changed a bit. They put you online to let you watch YouTubes about what the job is. See if you really want to clean bathrooms-- this is what it looks like. This is what the guy's doing, actually. And then you come over and you fill out the application. And they have a personal interview with you, and you get hired.
And you get a date that you start. And that first day you go to Traditions, which is an all-day class with people from all kinds of jobs around the room, 100 people. You learn about Mickey and Walt, how he started the company, and Cinderella, Seven Dwarves, and all this stuff.
-You're talking about the Seven Dwarves, the history of Walt, the day someone gets hired?
Oh, right, first day, everybody-- translated in Spanish, to whatever language.
-Because we want people to understand where the company started, how it started, what it means to America, what it means to young children. And the big-- don't disappoint these kids, stay in role. It's the biggest trip of their life for many of them. A four-year-old wanting to see Cinderella-- there's nothing more important.
-Let's say I'm in Owl's Muffler Shop. So it's Owl's Muffler Shop, we've been in business for 50 years. We make mufflers. We're in Orlando. We make mufflers. Would you incorporate a similar process in Owl's Muffler Shop, showing--
-I would think about that. Probably wouldn't be all day, but I would probably sit down. Let me tell you about how we started here. Let me tell you the things that are important here.
We always come dressed properly. We don't have grease all over everything. We greet our customers when they walk in. We communicate with them all day long. If we don't meet the time-- we told them 3 o'clock, we're going to call them at 2:00 and tell them we need another hour. And if we go past 5 o'clock, we deliver the car to them. And if we do-- whatever you do. And this is not Joe's Muffler, this is the most important muffler shop you'll ever know.
-You would do this process whether it's big business or small business?
-I would create that process for anybody to give them that kind of, wow, this is a special place. Because if people feel like they're in a special place, and they matter, and the boss really is-- they're gonna do a better job.
-Now let me ask you this here. Do you believe in test-driving employees, before you make your final hiring decision?
-No, not so much, I don't think today. I mean I might, if I was a small business owner. I might give somebody a six month contract.
-You'd just try them out.
-And I'd put them on contract so I wouldn't have any legal issues. I might put them on a one month contract, if it's the receptionist. And then--
-Small business you would--
- --not renew the contract. Disney probably wouldn't do that. We don't do that. But on a small business, yeah, I would.
I would consider, I'll give you-- you want to try this out? I'll put you on a three month contract, and if you're doing a great job I'm going to renew it. And one more six month, and then after that I'll put you on permanent. Because you get into all those legal problems if you try to get rid of them after 90 days, or a certain period of time.
-Final three questions I have here for you is, when you ultimately hire somebody, how long do you want them to stick around? What's in your mind a good amount of time in today's economy with today's young people, today is workforce, all those different variables, how long do you think? If I'm a small business owner, what in your mind, you speak to groups all over the country, what is a realistic amount of time you think I should be able to track somebody and keep them building, keep them working for me.
-Well, it depends what job it is. At Disney, we have two work forces. We have college kids, 10,000, twice a year. They work for six months. They're high energy, they're quick learners, they are just perfect Disney little cast members out there taking care of the guests.
And then we have people that are going to be making up rooms, clean bathrooms, cooks. We wanted them to stay a long time. That's a skill.
CLAY CLARK: Years.
-Yeah, years and years and years. And we're happy they stay. If we can get them qualified, they can move up to be the management or sous chef or chef or supervisor. That's fine, but our goal basically with the half that are not part time, we have part timers, which work two or three days a week, because they want to. Then we have the college kids who turn over after six months. And then we have the core staff, which is the other 40%. And, actually, we need them to stay, because of this other group turning.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah.
-We need the people there being good role models for them and teaching them and showing them. So our goal, I mean, when I hire an executive, I'm there for them to be 20, 30 years if I can get them there.
CLAY CLARK: What if someones not a good fit? What if someone is just, somehow they made it through the system, they filled 132 questions--
LEE COCKERELL: Happens all the time.
-How quickly do you want to let them go?
-Well, we have 90 days. if they're not performing, we just dismiss them.
-Do you feel bad about that?
-No. I talk about people. If people don't perform, that's not my problem. It's not my fault. Actually, we even talk about they're nice people. We talk about those people that have to leave business, good people who just don't fit. And people don't fit.
-I just want to hammer home that, because I've talked to so many business owners who are like, this guy's--
LEE COCKERELL: Got a wife and two kids.
---got a wife, got a kid.
LEE COCKERELL: When you start worrying about all that's instead of performance, you're going to slowly get off track.
CLAY CLARK: And this one business in particular I was thinking about from years ago. They had people that were not performing. Customers are starting to not come back, because the service was so bad. They keep saying, this person's got a wife and kids. And I eventually said, what about your wife and kids?
-You know what I tell them? OK, keep them, but let them stay home and pay them, but don't let them come in. If you feel sorry for them, pay them. Just don't let them come in.
-It'll be cheaper.
-Take it out of your retirement fund, pay them.
-Out of your ministry foundation.
-Or put them in a place where they can't do the job. Move them into a job and if they don't do it there. No.
-Well, now as far as at Disney, when you did on board people and they did come on board, did you have a check list extended 90 days? Is that how long you said, 90 days? Or how long was that?
-Each job has a different checklists from the learning part, on the job. Our problem is after 90 days, we can't easily get rid of you. We have union contracts. So you've got a 90 day probationary period at least where I can let you go for any reason. And that's why we tell the managers, watch performance in the first 90 days. If they start coming to work late in the first 90 days and not showing up, having a bad attitude, dismiss them. Don't get over the 90 days.
-But you'd recommend that practice even if you didn't have the union issue.
LEE COCKERELL: Oh, absolutely.
-90 days, first 90 days, let's figure it out.
-Hey, if you're not good in the first 90 days, it's gonna only get worse, I can tell you. It's not going to get better.
-Your best day will be the first day. And if you're late already the first day, this is--
-But you have it documented per position.
-OK. Awesome. So it wasn't just a deal of where you just shadow someone and you figure it out. It was very detailed. You've got to learn how to run this cash register, how to flip this burger.
LEE COCKERELL: You gotta show us you can do it. Even the managers have to be, they go test it before they get the keys to the restaurant. Before they can become the manager, they got three hours one on one with two other managers shooting questions at him, make sure they know the temperatures, what time we open, how you do this, if somebody has a heart attack, what do you do, where's the respirator.
-A lot of stuff there.
-Yeah, it's kind of like we can't turn you loose on 1,000 dinners unless we know you got your act together.
-Now I'm only obsessing on this question, because I see it all the time in small business where there's like the person who's the receptionist doesn't know how to check the voice mails, doesn't know where the passwords are saved, doesn't know what to say, and there's no system. It's just over time she'll figure it out.
LEE COCKERELL: Because they never train them. They just came in, through them on the desk.
CLAY CLARK: Yeah. It's brutal.
-Sad, and they might quit.
-Now, for a lot of the things we just talked about as far as hiring people, which one of your two books deals with that more so as far as how to bring on the right people and manage people?
LEE COCKERELL: Well, they both have a section in there about how to keep people. This one has one in there. One of he rules is hire best cast, and talks about how to hire the best cast with setting up questions with obstacles, listening to the answers, hiring people who have overcome obstacles, listening to how they solve issues. When you ask them a question, they can explain how they went all the way. It took them two weeks to turn a customer around while the other four people answered the question, it took them on hour and they gave up.
We can all be better interviewers, because the young people today, they go on the internet. They learn, they want to work at Target, they go on and say, target interviewing, and all the people are going to tell you exactly, here's what they're going to ask you, here's what you need to say. Disney. So when you put the obstacles in, those are not standard questions.
-Yeah, and a nurse you might say, tell me about a time you had to deal with a really sick patient and she wasn't doing well and her husband was coming in every night giving you a hard time. Listen to what she did. What was the outcome? And she went through this, did that, got the chief nurse involved, and she sat down with the husband, talked to him, did this. And then you go, wow. That's the person that goes over it. That's the one I want, not the one that says, oh, these people, they come in, they're a pain in the butt.
So it's amazing what people will, because people can only tell you what they know, what they do. They can't even make it up, because they can't even visualize that greatness. They cannot visualize greatness.
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