News Bob Iger outlines the need to transform the Walt Disney Company resulting in 7000 job losses and $5.5 billion in cost savings

Tha Realest

Well-Known Member
It had several different names, or variations of it. Out West, it was often called Jafco. It was a catalog showroom store that sold hard goods, household items, and small appliances. It looked like a normal "big box" store, but it was very different.

You went in and there was a giant, snazzy showroom with displays of one example of each product; toasters, Kodak cameras, blenders, radios, etc., etc. Nothing was in its original packaging. You could pick up the item and inspect it and try it out, and there was a little sign that explained its features. Employees hovered about answering questions and demonstrating the unboxed products for you. When you had decided on which thing you wanted, you tore off a little slip from the display and you took the slip to the back of the showroom to give to a clerk where you paid for your item. Behind the showroom there was a giant warehouse where all the boxed merchandise was kept.

They'd send the order slip back to the warehouse and you'd go wait in a little seating lounge nearby, smoking cigarettes and flipping through the latest store catalog and listening to lovely Muzak.

Then your order number would go "ding!' on the light up sign in the lounge and out from the warehouse was a long conveyor belt. Your item would come sliding out from the mysterious warehouse behind the lounge, and off you went home with your new blender or camera or radio!

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Isn’t this the IKEA model?
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
As do most companies. It makes them feel all warm and fuzzy that they are listening to the employees. Even though they have no intentions of actually doing anything about the results.
We had surveys and you said we listened talks with execs. Even if it was just several items that were incorporated out of over 50 suggestions that the staff presented management, we felt that was a step in the right direction.
 

celluloid

Well-Known Member
Isn’t this the IKEA model?

Yes, and many furtniture stores for things you cannot fit into a cart. Furniture stores like Ikea still have many things you can pick up and put in the cart to buy at the registers.
The issue with Service Merchandise for a long time is that it was for everything. So there was no impulse buying or gratification of holding your object, debating and then ultimately deciding to buy it.

It was kind of like the Ebay store joke in the movie 40 year old Virgin.
 

Dranth

Well-Known Member
See ya! Not letting you go you for asking but firing you for failure to report back to office, slight difference.
Did any of them say they aren't going to report? If the final decision is for them to come back and they don't then yes, they will likely get fired. I don't think anyone denies that. My issue is with the premise that even asking or in this case signing a petition is somehow the worst thing on the planet.
 

CaptainAmerica

Well-Known Member
Doesn't sound like you worked from home or maybe you did and ran into some issues? Legit asking because that has not been my experience. Most of the people I currently work with have kids and they didn't have that problem.
I worked from home during COVID and my team came back into the office when it reopened, before we had to, because we all like each other. It wasn't a chore for us, it was like coming back to spend your days with your friends again.

People are hired to do a job, if someone can get that job done remotely while maintaining quality and not falling behind who cares what they spend their time doing? If they can't, they need to come into the office.

Anecdotal I know, but most of the people I have talked with who have a problem with remote work have a job that just can't be done remotely. They think it is unfair that some people get to work from home while others must come in. I look at remote work as a benefit for jobs that can be done that way. No different than some people get more vacation or higher pay.
I just think there are very few jobs that can be done "just as well" remotely. I work with accountants, HR people, finance people, engineers, lawyers, all sorts of functions. We all work on teams, regardless of our department. Nobody is sitting their cubicle or office with headphones in all day, clicking away independently. Our roles are relationship-based, not task-based, and relationships are stronger when you're face-to-face.
 

lightningtap347

Well-Known Member
Isn’t that the point of employee satisfaction surveys? I’ll bet you Disney does those regularly.

I can understand your points, but I also think you consistently conflate the employee wants with what is best for the company. The two don’t necessarily align, no matter how much you wish it to be.

I honestly don’t have a clue what the answer is for this one. I will say this though… I’ve been quite disappointed with the product over the last few years. In-person work does promote creativity through on-demand and in-the-moment collaboration.

Ohh I don't personally think 100% remote is the overall solution either. My comment was regarding the overall tone of this thread, and everyone wanting these people fired as if they dare question dear leader (hyperbole mine).
I'm simply stating that I find that weird and would rather work in a company with difference of opinion as opposed to a bunch of drones.
 

Dranth

Well-Known Member
I worked from home during COVID and my team came back into the office when it reopened, before we had to, because we all like each other. It wasn't a chore for us, it was like coming back to spend your days with your friends again.
I just get together with the people I like outside the office but fair enough, if that works for you and your coworkers then that's great. I don't think that applies across the board though.

I just think there are very few jobs that can be done "just as well" remotely. I work with accountants, HR people, finance people, engineers, lawyers, all sorts of functions. We all work on teams, regardless of our department. Nobody is sitting their cubicle or office with headphones in all day, clicking away independently. Our roles are relationship-based, not task-based, and relationships are stronger when you're face-to-face.
I agree that face-to-face it better when working in a team but that doesn't translate to every day or even most days where I have worked. Team projects are almost always broken down into discreet segments that require a single person. It is not like two people are invoicing the same order at the same time or two programmers are working on the same subset of code at the same time.

You meet when needed and work separately when needed. I just think it is viable for many jobs for that separate work to be done remotely. All this assumes that people are coming in when needed or there is a reason to do so. I am not advocating someone work from home and never be seen again. I agree that the jobs that could go to that extreme are few.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
First rule of mass layoffs is to take inventory, see who complies and toss the others then start evaluating the compliant for value to the company goals. A coarse screen to speed the decision making.
One scare tactic our division was told was pre March 2009 layoffs was that the poor performers on the work teams would get laid off. That was farther from the truth. Each dept in the division had to cut 10% headcount and no rhyme or reason staff were laid off, senior and junior staff were affected. Anyone who has gone through a layoff is on pins and needles for the next several weeks waiting to see if one had an "appt time with HR ".
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm missing something, but these posts don't sound like you care about the health and future of the company. It sounds like y'all are just quick to thump on people who want to work remotely.

There are jobs and careers where one could work entirely from home in their PJ's and never interact with another human employee. A creative company like Disney (or any collaborative company really) is not one of those companies for most of its work and divisions.

Bob Iger insightfully stated that with his announcement last month that he expects his employees to return to the office...

“As I’ve been meeting with teams throughout the company over the past few months, I’ve been reminded of the tremendous value in being together with the people you work with. In a creative business like ours, nothing can replace the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together, nor the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from leaders and mentors.”

Lot of gen x / boomers in anti-wfh camp would be my guess.

There does indeed seem to be a generational element to this conversation. The end of the conversation, much less any petitions demanding the decision be reversed, is summed up by the fact that Bob Iger is a Boomer. He is 72 years old, and his current employment contract to be the CEO runs until he is 74.

Bob Iger is expertly Botoxed and Juvadermed and laser resurfaced, his expensive youthful yet age appropriate wardrobe is well tailored, and his personal chef and household servants help keep him in excellent physical shape, but he's still a 72 year old man born in 1951.

So when your Boomer boss tells you he's made a decision, if you want to keep your paycheck coming you don't get to roll your eyes and say "Okay, Boomer!" :rolleyes: before you start a petition to protest his decision.

Which is understandable, younger people grew up fully embracing the internet and really don't know a world where their office job wouldn't be plugged in to the net.

I fully understand that it would be fun to be able to work from home on Fridays to get the weekend started early. I think Bob Iger gets that too, which is why he explicitly said that he wants his employees back in the office Monday thru Thursday. Technology has changed, and companies need to leverage that technology to give their employees a perk or two.

But the thought that all companies could continue to improve and mentor the next generation of leaders and success stories in a disconnected and sterile work environment of permanent work from home is troubling. This is not how good companies become great companies, this is how good companies become mediocre companies, and how mediocre companies go out of business...

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TP2000

Well-Known Member
Isn’t this the IKEA model?

I hadn't thought of it, but you're right, it's rather close! Although, at IKEA you still enter the non-showroom part and grab a cart or basket and get your own boxes of candles or cheap wine glasses or what have you and pay for them at the checkout lanes. And even if you want to buy a bookcase or something, you have to go to the warehouse yourself and wrestle it down onto a pallet cart.

Catalog Showrooms (Service Merchandise, Jafco, BEST, etc.) were different. The entire floorspace that customers could inhabit was a glitzy showroom, with a small area at the back with the waiting lounge and the conveyor belt that came out from the attached warehouse.

It's a concept that is hard to explain to those who didn't experience it. Somehow, I remember the waiting lounge by the conveyor belt the best, with the stainless bullet ashtrays and the long sofas and the Muzak playing a bad rendition of Winchester Cathedral or something. 🤣

@Lilofan made a great point with them though, in that it's a concept that aged itself out of existence and doesn't exist any longer. It could have been the first iteration of an Amazon Storage Locker type thing, where you ordered online and went there to pick up your new toaster oven or something that day instead of paying/waiting for shipping. But they didn't evolve, and didn't really make it past the 1980's.

Same with Sears Roebuck, Kodak, etc. Companies that failed and disappeared, when they should have morphed into Amazon or Apple.
 
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Alanzo

Well-Known Member
So when your Boomer boss tells you he's made a decision, if you want to keep your paycheck coming you don't get to roll your eyes and say "Okay, Boomer!" :rolleyes: before you start a petition to protest his decision

Hey man, I never for a second said I supported this online petition nor did I say the employees shouldn't go back to work when their boss said so. I was just offering some personal anecdotes and context in my own career and those of my peers.

These strawmans you build up in your replies are just unnecessary and they make me think you're more interested in talking in circles than having a conversation.
 

JMcMahonEsq

Well-Known Member
Why not outsource those jobs for cheaper pay since the argument is you don’t need to come in?
That’s what we have started to do, in one form or another. We had numerous people moved during Covid closures. When we returned to office settings certain individuals salaries were adjusted based on where they had moved to and where their new “office” location was. You don’t get to make NYC rates working out of Vermont.

in areas where jobs can be performed remotely, we have drastically increased our hiring geographic range. There is no reason to hire and pay people major large market salaries when you can bring in people from right to work states, fly over states, ect.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
The tone of this thread is strange to me. I wouldn't want to work at a company that wouldn't allow for employee input in company initiatives. What would be the point of acquiring high level talent if you distill the entire operation down to "do what the CEO says, no questions."

How would the company better itself or change and adapt if it operated like the Titanic?

Case in point; y'all spend all day on here complaining and questioning everything that's currently happening at Disney, yet some employees are questioning an initiative they don't like and those same posters are cheer-leading the loss of good talent for voicing their opinion?

Maybe I'm missing something, but these posts don't sound like you care about the health and future of the company. It sounds like y'all are just quick to thump on people who want to work remotely.
Obvious you are just making excuses for cast that cry and complain to follow an executive decision to report back to work 4 days a week and reasons for it. Like another poster said if they don’t report back to work they should be fired.
 

GimpYancIent

Well-Known Member
Either you can do the job or not in our capitalist society... an employee's investment in the company is secondary.

I mean most employees have zero financial ownership of the company to begin with, they are only valuable insomuch as they are able to bring value to that company's bottom line in exchange for their paid labor . Everything else you're talking about is just emotional frills the company tries to sell to its employees to make them feel like they are part of something bigger (instead of paying them more I guess). And I totally get it, I'd rather take a pay cut and find meaning in my job than have more money but find my job soulless and depressing.

I guess what I'm saying is I'm advocating for the employee as much as you are advocating for the employer/firm.
If an employee (regardless of who the employer is) find their job "soulless and depressing" that is a clue to seek employment somewhere else. A pay cut will only make the job more "soulless and depressing". An employee either wants to be part of the organization / team and contribute (earn their compensation) or want to distance themselves and be all about themselves.
 

Alanzo

Well-Known Member
Employee motivations are complex and cannot be simply classified as "all about Disney" or "all about themselves". Hard disagree there.

There's a give and take relationship between employer and employee just like most any other relationship in life. Of course, the employer can absolutely choose to say "I don't care" about an employee's concern about their well-being (like feeling concerns about having to go back into the office).

...But choosing to neglect employee well-being can lead to unhappy, unproductive, and disloyal employees, increase costs, and negatively impact customer satisfaction, potentially harming Disney's competitiveness in the market. Either way, it's a gamble, not a given, to declare "I think we will get more productive employees when all is said and done and everyone is back 4 days a week".

Given that a CEO's (and especially Iger's, in this stint) top priority is to keep shareholders happy, he might see short-term stock price gains from his relatively uncompromising attitude towards employees here... but the shareholders might wish he had a better long-term strategy for prioritizing employee well-being if his little "get with the program or get lost" attitude costs them creative talent.

Iger may present the illusion that "everything will go back to the way it was," but that's not how it usually works, even in Disney movies. Usually our main characters learn to adapt to the changing environment, don't they?

Time will tell.
 

HauntedPirate

Park nostalgist
Premium Member
Given that a CEO's (and especially Iger's, in this stint) top priority is to keep shareholders happy, he might see short-term stock price gains from his relatively uncompromising attitude towards employees here... but the shareholders might wish he had a better long-term strategy for prioritizing employee well-being if his little "get with the program or get lost" attitude costs them creative talent.

I'd say Bob did a fine job driving away plenty of creative talent during his first tenure as CEO. $lappie in charge didn't change that any.
 

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