The word Disney conjures up everything from the famous mouse, movies and fun filled childhood experiences. The last thing the word would bring into your mind would be a big-brother-is-watching you, competition viewed on a large scoreboard to measure the staff performance. But, believe it or not, the home of so many endearing shows and forest animals does just that. They put their employees on a time counter, view and film them and display the results on a scoreboard.
We all may work in an environment where productivity is paramount to success, but being scrutinized for our performance in front of hundreds of fellow staffers as well as management seems a bit cruel, even for some of the harshest companies that you might know. Disney however, has installed a system that the staffers call the ‘electronic whip’. When the employee arrives, they need to code in their personal staff code and the timing begins. It doesn’t matter if the hotel room that needs to be cleaned is a total disaster (or not), the performance percentage is posted along side other Disney employee performances. The numbers in the color green reflects that the staff is performing at expected or above expected rates, the color red denotes below average performance.
According to some of the employees interviewed, the electronic system has created a ration of problems that were probably not anticipated. If a single member tries to outshine other employees through a better than anyone performance, it can create an air of dissention amidst the ranks and even led to staff members skipping their required breaks or rest room visits to try to keep up. The worst case was the slow progress of an employee that happened to be pregnant.
This type of electronic surveillance falls under the guise of performance evaluation, but is, in reality the same type of monitoring that has happened in the past in other companies. A company that I once worked at began installing cameras in the higher tech security areas. We already had high clearance, but now they wanted to watch us. Little did they know that I had friends in the security area that showed what ‘the guys’ were really viewing and, needless to say, after I lodged an objection based on evidence, the cameras were not installed.
We might be a bit surprised that management working in a place that denotes happiness and fun would have such a masochistic streak. It is never good karma to try to pit one staff member against another, even if upper management thinks it creates healthy competition. In reality, it doesn’t. Posting the good and bad performance of our fellow workers can have a devastating effect on morale and actually harm performance.
Electronic scoreboards are associated with fun events, sports and concerts. We view them in today’s society in a positive way and as a source and resource of information, data and enjoyment. Disney has taken the very excellence out of the tool and indeed, created a whip.