New HR strategy | Disney okays tattoos, flexibility and staff freedom in CULTURE OVERHAUL

Disney okays tattoos, flexibility and staff freedom in CULTURE OVERHAUL

Disney has overhauled working rules after staff asked for more inclusion and autonomy at the famous brand.

As a result of a 16-month focus group, employees can now show tattoos, wear hair as they like, and take back control over how they dress - the Guardian reported.

This is a massive step change from how rules used to be at the firm. Various reports state that even in 2012 employees weren’t allowed facial hair.

Giving staff a say

The theme park state that they have become more inclusive for colleagues and customers.

The Disney Parks Chairman, Josh D’Amaro, explained that a 16-month focus group of workers suggested adding inclusion to the organisation's set of core values. He said that the new addition will be “essential to our culture and leads us forwards”.

The company’s updated values will now be referred to as ‘The Five Keys’ which include: safety, show, courtesy, efficiency, and now inclusion.

‘Greater flexibility’

It is hoped that this new approach will enable Disney to remain relevant in the jobs market and attract top talent, as well as enabling staff to better express themselves in the workplace.

D’Amaro said in a statement: “Our new approach provides greater flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos.

“We’re updating them to not only remain relevant in today’s workplace, but also enable our cast members to better express their cultures and individuality at work,” D’Amaro said in a statement.

‘A step in the right direction’

D’Amaro took to LinkedIn posting a link to the organisation’s announcement.

His post was commended by many on the professional networking site.

One LinkedIn user wrote: “This is amazing and such a great step in the right direction for the WDW Company [sic]”.

Another wrote: “I can’t wait to see all the cast members have the ability to express themselves. This is great!”

A third wrote: “These are delightful changes. Proud of the company and its leaders”.

The importance of workplace inclusion

Disney’s new inclusion initiative will likely be welcome news to staff who will now have greater freedom to freely express themselves at work.

Data has pointed towards the benefits of carving out and maintaining an inclusive work environment.

For example, research has found that companies who actively spearhead D&I strategies are more 35% more likely to achieve above-average returns, with business performance increasing by 31%.

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In addition to this, as was reported by Qlearsite, firms who foreground D&I are also more likely to be able to recruit Millennials into the business.

The importance of D&I in the workplace is something that HR leaders will be acutely aware of – for the multiple benefits it can bring to both staff and the business.

In fact, Josh Bersin, a well-known HR industry analyst and thought leader, previously wrote in a blog post: “Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.”

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