If you are a current or former Walt Disney World cast member, then you know what is meant by the term "Eyes and Ears." It's a reference to probably one of the most successful internal corporate communications vehicles ever created.
So often in my visits with different companies, the No. 1 issue that comes up among employees is the lack of communications internally. Walt Disney World understands this. With more than 60,000 cast members, the largest single-site employer has the herculean challenge of keeping their employees informed and up-to-date with what is going on. The answer to doing so is to provide as many forms of communication. That includes the following:
But the crown jewel of all their internal communication attempts is Disney's Eyes and Ears.
There are several other corporate communications, including:
But the biggest publication is Walt Disney World's Eyes & Ears. Of course, it hasn't always been that way. What began many years ago as a very modest newsletter…
Has grown into a small full-color magazine.
For many years, Walt Disney World Cast Members recognized it in its weekly black and white newspaper size edition.
Then along came occasional color versions celebrating special goings-on within the Walt Disney Company.
In time, a web portal was created at Disney that really supported the more immediate delivery of up-to-date info. The weekly newspaper gave way to an every other week edition that was in color.
The newest version of the Eyes & Ears is more of a professional magazine layout.
There have been some very special Eyes and Ears along the way:
For those of you out there working elsewhere who wishes they had such a nice looking corporate newsletter, here's the secret—you'll find it on the last few pages—it's called advertising.
Every assortment of advertising can be found on the back pages. Advertisers offer plenty of discounts to Disney cast members, making it also a great reason to work for the company.
Local retailers, home builders, and even physicians are attracted to the fact that they can access a very targeted market with a stable income through only one communication vehicle. Advertisements make the Eyes and Ears possible and accessible to its cast members.
But the really important message about Eyes and Ears is what it says about the brand and culture of the organization. Beyond just familiarizing Walt Disney World cast members about the many goings-on that occur on property, it serves to educate and inspire you about this thing called Disney.
For instance, you might find any of the following:
Articles focusing on
Eyes and Ears is a very special part of being a Walt Disney World cast member. Many cast members keep their old Eyes and Ears for years before finally relinquishing them to a garage sale. To them, it's almost a yearbook of their time at Disney. It's a very special memory.
What about you? Are you a current or former Walt Disney World cast member who has enjoyed the Eyes and Ears? Tell us why?
Do you do something similar in your own organization in terms of a company newsletter? How does it compare? What do you do that's unique? Let us know.
And in the mean time, keep making the magic come alive wherever you work.
P.S. Before you write asking me, you probably want to know how to get a copy of this newspaper. There are four ways:
(Send an email to Jeff Kober)
J. Jeff Kober, (@MousePlanetJeff) president of Performance Journeys and CEO of World Class Benchmarking, is also a thought leader on best-in-business practices at the Walt Disney Company. He brings those ideas to organizations via keynotes, seminars, and workshops to organizations around the world. He has authored "The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney" as well as a "Disney at Work" series of apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, available via DisneyatWork.com. You can find out more about his newest book, "Lead With Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand into World-Class Excellence" at LeadWithYourCustomer.com.