Cirque that can contribute and be part

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Cirque du Soleil first began in 1984 in Quebec
Canada. It was first known as Le Club des Talons Hauts, consisting of mainly
street performers. It had started out with only 73 employees and has expanded
to over 2,100 individuals, 17 years later.  The organization’s goal is to bring an
unforgettable and unique experience to each audience through creativity from
its one of a kind artists. Cirque du Soleil is always in constant search for
creative and talented artists around the world that can contribute and be part
of their unique organization. The artists consists of many different cultural
backgrounds and range from mimes to clowns. Cirque du Soleil provides training
to its employees and tries to maintain good communication with each of its
employees. However, Cirque du Soleil faces many problems in retaining talent to
the hiring and training and development process of its employees.

PROBLEM 1: Lack of Guidelines and

One of the problems I found with Cirque Du Soleil was
the lack of a company’s handbook and relying on a simple newsletter to
communicate with its employees. The newsletter is open to all employees who
wish to submit any comments or issues they might have with management. Due to
the lack of guidelines and expectations, employees that are touring find it
difficult to determine what is acceptable work behavior and when and where is such
behavior appropriate. Touring employees are not aware of boundaries between
work and home when on tour. In addition, the lack of handbook and knowledge of
acceptable behavior can lead to a continuous harassment problem as mentioned in
the case. While Cirque du Soleil’s employees consist of artists from around the
world, the definition of harassment can vary across the organization due to
different cultural backgrounds.

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Communication is key for a welcoming and motivating
environment as it lets employees understand where they stand in the company as
well as their rights and what is expected of them through a set goal or
mission. First, I think that an employee handbook is necessary and that it should
be provided to all employees in print or electronically so it is accessible to
them at any given time. The handbook should be created to cover any frequent
“codes of behavior” and expectations from all employees. Creating an employee’s
handbook would then be used to set an admissible line or behavior that would
separate work from home when on tour and cover what defines harassment.

However, I think that harassment would much more than a simple topic in a
handbook. As in any other organization, harassment should be fully covered
through proper training such as videos and quizzes in which employees should
complete on the job. Considering that the employees have different cultural
backgrounds, harassment trainings could be offered in different languages to
assure that each employee understands it. Employees should be aware and fully
understand what constitutes as harassment and how to handle each situation when
faced with the problem. Participating in a newsletter does not show an issue;
however, I think the newsletter should be more structured by focusing on job
related issues. I would suggest having employees answer a questionnaire monthly
or semi-monthly and be given extra room for suggestions or comments employees
might have for improvement.

PROBLEM 2: Compensation

Another problem to be adjusted is monetary and
nonmonetary compensation. As stated in the article, Cirque du Soleil’s pay
seems above market to some and below market for others. For example, a mime
native from Colombia named Gonzalo Munoz accepted the job at Cirque du Soleil
thinking highly of his pay. He had previously worked in Colombia and France and
mentioned that Cirque du Soleil pays 3 times as much than his previous
employment. On the other hand, Oberacker who had been part of Broadway in the past
has taken the position of conductor at Cirque du Soleil and thought of quitting
due to a lower pay than his previous job. He goes on to mention that artists
work extensive hours at times while enforcing a pay per show pay system. However,
Oberacker decision to stay with Cirque du Soleil was due to the nonmonetary satisfaction
he felt and saw in the audience after each show was over. Besides the low pay,
Oberacker mentions that are 1/4 out of the year times, artists are unemployed
and receive no pay.


Cirque du Soleil should create a new compensation
package for the artists. Considering that employees come from all around the
world, a universal pay structure/line should be highly considered or a pay that
is tied to past performance, experience along with knowledge, skills and abilities.

I think it is important to consider that some parts of the country pay lesser
in general than other countries, therefore a lack of inequality exists when you
hire employees from undeveloped countries with less expertise or past
experience than others and pay them in the same pay line as a more experienced
artist. I would suggest creating a pay structure for each job position that has
a minimum start pay and a cap pay. Cirque du Soleil should offer hourly pay
rates or salary options for employees whom roles are important in the show’s
act. Since the employees must work extensive days or hours, it would be
beneficial that these employees do not get paid for show, as training time for
a show can be undetermined. As for employees that do not have to complete an
extensive hours of training, I think that pay per show could apply to them.

Also within the compensation package, Cirque du
Soleil should include other employee benefits to its employees. One can be paid
time off, which employees can accrue over time. Hourly employees or employees
paid per show can use paid time off to make up for unemployment period. Also
considering that injuries are unavoidable and those injuries that accounted for
65% among the 57 artists at Cirque du Soleil, it should offer wellness or
health benefits that cover and prevent different kind of on the job injuries. Some
programs can include “injury prevention programs, exercise therapies and
physical capacity evaluation and consultation” ( Such
programs could evaluate new hires or current employees to determine which
positions and job functions they could physically do. Cirque du Soleil should
also offer life insurance, due to the high accidents percentage and since the
performance can be of high risks.

Problem 3: Talent retention

Cirque du Solei faces another problem in retaining
it’s current employees. As mentioned in the case, turnover is high; while a performance
cycle usually consists of three years employees usually last a year or less
with the organization. The reason for such high turnover rate is due to its
touring demands, being away from home for so long, and the lack of
opportunities for professional growth within the organization. Also, that
Cirque du Soleil had set headquarters across the continent; however, it had
brought difficulties for employees. Cirque du Soleil maintained their main headquarters
back in Montreal, Canada. Employees on tour though have found it difficult to
get their issues or concerns known due to their hours of operations conflicting
with the schedule of the employees that are on tour. Another possible cause of
turnover can be due to the lack of teamwork. Cirque du Soleil’s tour director,
Vincent Gagne, mentions that many times certain departments would not work in
teams rather would just focus on their own job duties and functions.

Solution 3

            Cirque du Soleil should focus on retention of its
talented employees. Retention can be prevented through many different ways
since turnover rates are many times in control of the organization’s reach (Mathis, Jackson,
Valentine, 2017, 186).

Organizations can tackle turnover by providing career training and developing programs
and even through the enforcement of equal policies and practices (Mathis,186-190). One way Cirque du Soleil can lower the turnover rate is
looking for talent within its own organization to train and promote. As
mentioned, many employees leave because of job dissatisfaction while Cirque du
Soleil continues to seek for outside talent to replace the employees. Hiring
new employees consists of an extensive talent acquisition, training time and
costs that Cirque du Soleil invests for new hires. Rather Cirque du Soleil can
provide training for existing employees whom they seem as capable of taking on
new tasks based on past performance appraisals. 

            Aside for providing training for
current employees, Cirque du Soleil can offer job-site development to its
current employees whom seek to grow within the company. One of the job-site
development approaches it could use is coaching from the top performers/artists
to its promoted artists. New upcoming artist be able to take on a something new
and receive advice from top artists while building a sense trust among their
peer; an important factor that Cirque du Soleil strives to bring among its
diverse employees. Cirque du Soleil has a very dynamic environment, bringing
different acts and shows to its audience. Job rotation can be a great way to
maintain many employees happy, as they are able to take on different roles and
responsibilities and employees are able to participate in different acts.

Lastly, Cirque du Soleil can offer a career development center that allows
employees to move up to positions such as employee management. As Cirque du
Soleil continues to expand and grow in staff, it is their current employees who
know the ropes of the organization as well as any problems. They could take from
their past experience to provide feedback and training and development ideas to
new hires.

            Maintaining good communication with
management and co-workers plays a role in employee retention (Mathis,
187). As employees want to know that their concerns are heard and will be
fixed. Taking into consideration that employees that are on tour find it hard
to reach headquarters due to conflicted schedule, a new hour of operations
should be considered for headquarters. Headquarters can either be open 6 days a
week or adjust their hours of operations to meet with the employees’ schedule.

For example, headquarters can operate Tuesday through Saturday, allowing for
employees that are on the road to contact them on Sundays. Having at least one
operating day that meets both, the employees and employers schedule, would ease
the miscommunication and would let touring feel as if their problems matter and
are important despite the distance. As for co-worker, Cirque du Soleil can have
new employees from each department, IT to management, see a performance. In the
case, it is mentioned that employees are encouraged to see the show before that
employee decides to quit. However, having the employees see a show when they
start and continuously throughout their career, they can be reminded of their
objectives and goals.

One of the problems noted is that a performance cycle
should last 3 years, but Cirque du Soleil struggles to retain the artist for a
year. One way to retain its employees can be through incentives provided
yearly. Cirque du Soleil can implement a contract each year or for three years,
stating that each year the artists stays with Cirque du Soleil and meets high
performance criteria is awarded an incentive. The incentive can be monetary
such as a bonus or can be a paid vacation time.


Overall, Cirque du Soleil has done a great job in
attracting great talent from around the world. However, the challenge is
retaining great talent in the organization. Employee job satisfaction is key in
retention of employees. Employees must be given some guidelines and expectation
from its employers. However, without proper communication this may be difficult
to achieve. Employers should acknowledge that employees seek far more than just
monetary compensation and that nonmonetary factors play a key role in talent
retention. Many times, job retention is within the employer’s reach. Employers
can look in different ways to provide career growth within its organization
through opportunity for growth or the sense of equity among others to satisfy employees’
job expectations. In order to retain great talent and attract great new talent,
Cirque du Soleil should implement new compensation perks that meet the standard
of the best.

Categories: Artists


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