Department Manager

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Job Description

Job Summary:

The Department Manager oversees talent management and workforce planning of artistic, technical and production talent. This role maintains a strong awareness of studio, departmental, and individual objectives, challenges and needs in order to develop strategies, plans and recommendations that balance the needs of the studio, productions, departments and talent, while creating a nurturing environment for excellence and growth. The Department Manager partners closely with the Head of CG (HCG) and Artistic Director (AD) to lead multiple production departments within Walt Disney Animation Studios.

This is a regular, full time, staff position that will be located at our Vancouver, BC studio. Please note that relocation eligibility may be determined based on role and individual circumstance.


Main Responsibilities
Workforce Planning

  • Responsible for staffing and workforce planning of a diverse talent population focusing on studio goals and a positive employee experience. This includes:
    • Strategic and timely casting of all projects within Disney Animation.
    • Strategize headcount plans (composition, promotion, extension and exit decisions).
    • Partner with talent acquisition team throughout the recruitment process which includes initiating hiring need, evolving interview experience, training new interviewers, attending interviews, and maintaining relationships with non-WDAS talent.
    • Provides creative solutions and resolves conflicts when resource or time constraints are identified.

Talent Development

  • Responsible for talent management which includes
    • Performance Assessment and Compensation
    • Responsible for compensation recommendations and decisions which includes managing end of year review process, merit and salary adjustments
    • Drives performance management process
    • Responsible for tracking, documenting and ensuring employee performance feedback is delivered across productions/projects
    • Partners with HCG, AD & Show leaders to assess and evaluate performance and contribution
    • Provides context to individuals on how talent is assessed and compensated.
  • Performance Development
    • Partners with HCG, AD & Show Leaders to identify developmental casting opportunities and training for the individual/department, with a focus on growth and retention.
    • Facilitates conversations with employees to identify career goals.
    • Partners with studio teams to create and provide development opportunities.
  • Upholds and fosters department identity and practices which include…
    • Ensures the presence of an inclusive department environment.
    • Partners with HCG & AD to create, adapt and communicate departmental goals that are in alignment with studio values and priorities.
    • Responsible for daily individual employee actions which include approval of time cards/pay, vacation/time off, travel, studio time initiatives, new hire onboarding, space planning etc

Cross Department Communication and Studio Connection

  • Connection point between studio leadership and department which includes…
    • Responsible to communicate and implement studio decisions, initiatives, and values to the department.
    • Provides department context and recommendations to address issues, provide resolutions and support implementation of studio priorities.
    • Demonstrates leadership behaviors, including cultivating the studio culture and actively participating in studio initiatives
  • Provides clear and timely communication between studio, productions, department and individual employees which includes…
    • Oversee staffing transitions, ensuring smooth and timely information flow between the production and employee.
    • Collects and shares individual and departmental ideas, issues, and inspirations with studio partners.
    • Consultant and conduit for employee individual issues to the appropriate support departments and/or resources.

Basic Qualifications:

Required Knowledge, skills and experience

  • The ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, provide feedback and partner with management, and creative talent.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, listening, and communication skills
  • Experience in project and/or resource management, mentoring, coaching and performance management
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced and dynamic/ever-changing environment
  • Strong skills in the area of decision making, time management and organization

Preferred Qualifications:

Preferred Knowledge, skills and experience

  • Prefer 5 years of leadership/management of a team or equivalent experience
  • Specialized knowledge of the animation production process, workflows, and familiarity with production environments
  • Experience with headcount planning and data analysis

Additional Information:

Our Company proudly provides equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants. We welcome and encourage applications from persons with disabilities. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in any aspect of the selection process.

About Walt Disney Animation Studios:

Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to 2019’s Frozen 2, the biggest animated film of all time, to our 60th animated feature, Encanto, releasing November 2021. Among the studio’s timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with The Walt Disney Company (Canada) Ltd., which is part of a business segment we call Walt Disney Animation Studios.