Building a diverse and inclusive culture has always been a cornerstone of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL), which strives to offer an immersive experience for all. Apart from providing barrier-free facilities and services to guests, HKDL is also an equal opportunities employer and has been committed to promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace since its opening in 2005. With the “Inclusion Key” introduced as one of its core values in 2021, HKDL has decided to push its efforts further and participated in the CareER Disability Inclusion Index (CareER DII) assessment this year.
. How did your organization begin its DEI journey in Hong Kong?
As Mr Walt Disney said, “to all who come to this happy place, WELCOME.” HKDL is devoted to being an iconic leisure and hospitality destination where families and friends of all ages, genders, abilities, cultures and backgrounds are welcome to have fun together. So we began our DEI journey in 2005 and conducted mass employment to welcome everyone to join us.
Later, we initiated an inclusive employment program in 2007 — which has evolved to become “Disney Side-by-Side Journey” — to align our new vision with our work. Over the years, HKDL has partnered with over 30 NGOs to support talent with physicalor mental disabilities to join the workforce in suitable roles with an appropriate support network from HKDL leaders, cast members and our NGO partners. We have also been providing a “Barrier-Free Ambassador Training Program” for cast members to more directly understand and deliver a hassle-free, barrier-free experience to guests.
Although we have advocated for DEI for quite some time, the transition occurs when DEI is not treated as a standalone initiative. So after implementing the new Inclusion Key last year, we formed an Inclusion Advisory Council (IAC), which acts as a conduit for communication in the form of engaging events, educational activities and effective policy-making. We are shifting from “program” to “culture,” leading us to a holistic approach that ensures that DEI perspectives are a part of every decision we make and everything we do.
What was/were the key takeaway(s) from the process?
DEI is a learning journey and must be more than just a Human Resources initiative. It is important to hold everyone accountable by translating something abstract into something tangible and actionable to ensure lasting culture change:
- We ensure that cast members of all backgrounds are represented and heard equally.
- We create a cadence to keep talking about it through different activities and events that reinforce the message and momentum.
- With the efforts of the IAC and senior management, different teams have started integrating DEI into their priorities and decision-making, with our team leaders acting as role models in daily practice.
This can only happen when DEI is truly embedded in company culture.
While the whole organization is very committed to listening and learning, HKDL still sees many opportunities to do more to create a magical place for everyone, which is why we decided to participate in the CareER Diversity Inclusion Index (DII) this year. It has already sparked much internal discussion at HKDL. We had many great learnings throughout the process. As a world-class theme park, we aim to exceed the statutory regulations and go above and beyond.
What is your feedback on the CareER corporate membership?
CareER is a very supportive partner and has played a crucial role in expanding HKDL’s strategic hiring roadmap since 2020. Even as a large organization, we still need a lot of support from CareER. They are very experienced with a lot of expertise. For example, when developing learning solutions on using the proper terminology when addressing people with disabilities, they responded quickly by providing appropriate resources.
The CONNECT session is a great platform to share insights and learn best practices from other organizations. It helps us create an inclusive culture to engage employees after they start their career journey with us at HKDL.
We will not only support CareER from a potential employer’s perspective. Through proactive engagement, including event sponsorship, workshops, internships and networking, we will continue to grow together with CareER and its members. We look forward to continued collaboration and working with CareER to enhance awareness among other employers about DEI in hiring.