I know, I know. I’ve said it in the majority of the blogs I’ve written. But I really do mean it—Dollywood is an awesome place to work. I’m also not the only person to say that. Just consider all of our employees who have been here for two, three and four decades; that’s proof enough this is a great place to work. But if you need me to prove it with another example, our good friends at Forbes can help you out.
A Forbes article just named The Dollywood Company as one of America’s Best Employers for 2021. As you can see from the screenshot from Forbes’ website below, Dollywood finished #138 of the 500 companies on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Midsize Employers, and it is a pretty impressive list of companies at that. The list includes companies across 25 industry sectors, with only 20 companies on the list in the “Travel & Leisure” category of which Dollywood was included. Among those companies, Dollywood ranked sixth and was the only theme park on the midsize list.
Among the companies in the Travel & Leisure sector on the list are Choice Hotels, Best Western International, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Companies across all industry sectors on the list include Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), Build-A-Bear Workshop, Carvana, Grubhub, ESPN, The Lego Group, Crocs, Lands’ End, Pinterest, Sirius XM, Nintendo, A&E, Briggs & Stratton, Energizer Holdings, Stihl and Frontier Airlines. View the entire list HERE.
Earlier, I said we have employees who have been here for multiple decades. Well, Tim Berry, our Vice President of Human Resources, is one of those employees. I don’t think he would be mad for me to reveal his age, but I’ll just say he started at the company when he was in high school. He enjoyed the job so much that he continued working at Dollywood while attending the University of Tennessee. After graduation, he started his full-time career here, serving in a variety of roles, before landing in his current position in Human Resources.
You know how I was talking about proving this is a good place to work? Tim is a prime example. He has worked from the front line up to become one of the top executives in the company, something that happens quite often here. For those who want to seize them, there are always opportunities for advancement within the company.
“We are pleased to see others recognize what our hosts have known for so long. It’s not just something we say; The Dollywood Company really is an amazing place to work,” Tim (who is a 36-year employee) said. “We have hosts who have been here for 10, 20 and 30-plus years, like myself, because we love our culture and the opportunity to help our guests make memories with their families.
“Our success starts with our hosts, so we work hard to find new and unique ways to provide benefits and opportunities for them. Great examples of this are our leadership development programs, our exclusive Family Healthcare Center, Park Perks program and the $2.50 lunch option we provide for hosts while they are working. We want them to feel cared for and appreciated every day. We know if they feel that way they will pass that same feeling on to our guests.”
Tim gets it and so do all of the folks who work for The Dollywood Company. It really is a great place to work because we are treated well. I can speak from experience to tell you I feel like I’m valued and appreciated for what I do.
So, you may be asking about that award. Well, an article on Forbes’ website about the award said, “In the wake of the global pandemic, midsize businesses have had to navigate countless challenges, from applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans to securing protective equipment, whether or not they employ healthcare workers. The companies on our list of America’s Best Midsize Employers have risen to the occasion, adapting in ways that benefit both their customers and employers.”
According to Forbes’ website, they partnered with Statista, a market research company, to send an independent survey to workers at businesses with more than 1,000 workers. The results are compiled into two lists, large companies (companies with more than 5,000 U.S. employees) and midsize companies (companies with 1,000 to 5,000 employees).
Pointing to Dollywood host job satisfaction, we consistently have been voted as the friendliest theme park in the world. The Golden Ticket Award for Friendliest Park was changed in 2019 (there were no awards in 2020) to Best Guest Experience, and guess what? We won that, too! Best Guest Experience factors friendliness of employees and cleanliness of the park, among other things, into its criteria. The prestigious Golden Ticket Awards are given annually by industry publication Amusement Today. This recognition is the gold standard for theme parks worldwide.
So, how do I end this? We’ll, I’m going to tell you this really is a great place to work. I’ve said it so many times I think you get the point. There are a number of intangible reasons why I enjoy coming to work. First, my co-workers are friends. Second, I enjoy knowing that I’m helping our guests make memories they’ll have forever, much like the ones I made as a kid here. Third, I just have fun.
There are also a number of tangible reasons this is an awesome place to work. From part-time positions for students to full-time careers with ample chances for advancement and all points in between, there are employment opportunities for a number of career aspirations.
Hosts at The Dollywood Company receive a variety of unique benefits including access to the Dollywood Family Healthcare Center, along with complimentary Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country admission for family and friends (How cool?). Employees also take part in Dollywood’s Park Perks program which provides free or reduced admission to a large number of regional attractions, theaters and experiences (This is great; especially if you have kids!). A comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental and vision, is available for qualified full-time employees (You have to have all of those!). Affordable lunch options are available at several locations across the properties and are just $2.50 (Can you believe it?). Numerous development opportunities also are available to help employees develop leadership skills, including a new apprenticeship program in conjunction with Walters State Community College (You can’t beat that!). Learn more about that program HERE.
So, if you want to join the team, I’ll tell you how to do it. We will continue to host a number of hiring events throughout the season to give potential employees the chance to attend at the time that best suits their individual needs. Additionally, new job opportunities are posted throughout the year at dollywoodjobs.com. Maybe I’ll see you around the park with your new nametag soon?