The Orlando Business Journal has once again given a top award to the design-and-build professionals, renowned for their work with Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.
“Work hard, play hard! That’s us!” says Denise Hatcher, Managing Director of AOA. She believes that an ‘anti-corporate’ culture of passion and kindness can lead to success – and happiness in the workplace. It also leads to success. The company is celebrating an unprecedented fourth year of winning the Best Places to Work award from The Orlando Business Journal.
We focus on building genuine and authentic relationships with our employees
“Everything for us is about genuineness and having a great culture,” says Hatcher. “We are very much recognition now, employee first, whereas many companies and corporations have taken a save the recognition for later, company first approach.”
Recognition can mean something as small as a conversation with leadership over lunch, in which the employee is appreciated and acknowledged. “It’s the little things that always make the difference,” says Hatcher. “We focus on building genuine and authentic relationships with our employees. I think this is what differentiates us from anyone else and makes people want to work here and keep on working here.”
AOA is made up of top design-and-build professionals in themed entertainment and hospitality. The team brings decades of talent and experience to theme parks, resorts and show venues globally. Their philosophy starts by putting themselves in the guests’ shoes and they consider every boundary a “bracing challenge”.
It’s no wonder people want to work at AOA. First up there’s the new studio in Winter Park. It’s a magical wonderland, littered with inspiring relics, characters, media and movie posters. It’s also a comfortable place to work with hideaway lounges at the office and cold brew coffee in the kitchen. Need to bring your pet or kids to work? Not a problem.
Culture, kindness, and hard work go a long way
Then there’s flexibility. “The most important perk to our employees is work schedule flexibility,” says Hatcher. “Everyone has different schedules, some might have school activities to attend with their kids, a doctor’s appointment… So, a big part of us allowing our employees to do their best work is allowing them the flexibility to conference in or put in their hours when it works best for them.”
“Culture, kindness, and hard work go a long way,” says AOA co-founder Tom Acomb. “We give our employees great reasons to want to do great work for us. We love them, we support them, and they’re family.”
AOA’s other co-founder Mike Ostendorf echoed Acomb’s statement, “We look to hire good people with reputations and resumes full of great work,” he says. “Once they’re here, it’s a matter of providing them with what they need to succeed and grow even further.”