YELLOW DOG's Managing Partner, Scott Rosenburg, shares some thoughts...
I recently returned from a Florida vacation with my family. We took my 6 year old daughter to Walt Disney World and she had a blast. I have been to Disney more times than I can count, as I grew up in Florida.
On this visit, however, I noticed something I haven’t seen at Disney before. I noticed the cast members (Disney terminology for any employee) were not the same, “younger generation” that I remember from the past.
Disney is known around the world for its premier Hospitality Internship Program, a clear recruiting strategy designed to attract college students, early on, into a long tenure with the company. Disney has also provided a fantastic “seasonal job” experience for college students all over the United States.
But, this visit was different.
I saw dozens of cast members in their 50’s, 60’s and even as few in their 70’s (I have never been good at guessing ages), but they clearly were not in their 20’s, 30’s, or 40’s.
I got to talking to one of these mature employees and he, unsolicited, starting telling me that he and his wife moved to Florida to retire. His name was Bernie, and, unfortunately, he lost most of his life savings in the Madoff Ponzi scheme. As a result, he was then forced out of retirement and landed at Disney. He told me that many of the newest cast members also lost their retirement money and had begun working at Disney. The amazing thing was…he wasn’t complaining. He truly seemed content and was smiling from ear to ear.
It makes perfect sense for Disney. They are getting older workers with guest service skills, business skills, and overall people skills but they don’t have to pay for the years of experience (not to mention the wealth of knowledge) these workers are bringing to the table. The older workers also benefit as they get to work in warm weather which is a major reason most people move to Florida in the first place” and because they are treated with class and gratitude. There is a value to feeling valued by the company your work for.
As the day progressed, I noticed more and more cast members who where close to retirement age and I wondered about their stories. It is ironic that many of these people, who lost their life savings, are now working at the happiest place on earth.
For more on Disney and Hospitality Opportunities for Older Workers, please read http://twurl.nl/yt0u8d
by Roberta Chinsky Matuson, Monster Contributing Writer.