Career Services Becomes a Mickey Mouse Operation
By Zane Ewton
Walt Disney’s philosophy about customer service was quite simple: “Keep it clean … Keep it friendly … Make it a real fun place to be.”
Director of Career Services Jacqueline Smith wants everyone to know GCU has more in common with Disney than just charming mascots. If it’s up to her, every GCU student will leave school with the same purpose, passion and work ethic as Disney’s best.
“We want the GCU campus to have that Disney feel,” she says. “We want all of our student workers to take that experience and incorporate it into their lives.”With more than 800 student workers (and counting) on campus, Smith’s office will have much to say on the matter. This past semester, Student Worker Training Manager Connie Sugarman and Career Specialist Brittany Mony trained more than half of the University’s student workers.
Student worker training includes a day of dedicated training about GCU, student worker policies, compliance and anti-harassment issues, telephone etiquette, and customer service. There is even training on proper handshakes and preparing an “elevator” pitch. Not only are student workers trained for their job, they are trained for every job they will ever have again.
“It’s about teaching the students to have good work ethics and practices for when they enter the real world,” Mony says. “We’re not just preparing them academically. We are preparing them for life.”
Sugarman and Mony tailor each training session to the specific needs of the students and the roles they will fill.
Expect the Disney influence to ramp up in the new year. Sugarman and Mony spent a few days in December at the Disney Institute, learning about that company’s unique approach to customer service, employee experience and quality business practices.
They were part of a training class of 100 people. They toured California Adventure and Disneyland and were shown the dedication to detail that Disney employs every day — right down to the $2,000 trash cans that are replaced every few months.
“They say one percent of people will notice some detail in the park,” Sugarman says. “They want to cater to those people who are paying such close attention.”
Career Services will begin to incorporate much of the Disney experience into its training for GCU student workers, with the message that no job is too small.
Sugarman shared the story of a Disney employee who was tasked with sweeping the streets. When guests asked him for directions to a specific attraction, he twirled his broom and marched the kids across Disneyland in his own little parade.
“It’s in the culture to go the extra mile,” Sugarman says. “It starts with the top executives and goes all the way down to the guy who cleans the mouse ears. It is purpose versus tasks.”
The goal is to give students a sense of purpose and help them develop their passions, providing every tool possible to get them there.
Career Services just launched an online job board featuring full-time, off-campus jobs for current students and alumni.
The office has developed relationships with many companies in Arizona and across the U.S. The job board pulls listings from numerous sources, but all are filtered through Career Services, so students receive only the most reputable opportunities. GCU-approved job listings will feature a purple flag for emphasis.
More than 500 students logged on in the first day.
Contact Zane Ewton at 639.7086 or [email protected].