Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

How Disney Hires Veterans: A Recap of Disney’s Veterans Institute

November 17, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

"When veterans look to the future, they deserve to find open doors and opportunities." – Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company

This past Thursday, November 14, Disney Institute, in partnership with Heroes Work Here and The Walt Disney Company, delivered a one-day workshop to attendees from over 400 organizations. Representatives from small businesses and Fortune 100 companies gathered to gain insight into Disney’s methodology for selecting, training, and engaging military veterans.

The day’s speakers included First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, ABC News Correspondent and Anchor, Bob Woodruff, and began with opening remarks from Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations in US and France.

Surrounded by veterans who proudly wear a Disney nametag, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, inspired the audience with Disney’s commitment to employ veterans.

Bob Iger introduced the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, who took the stage to reinforce the importance of veteran hiring. She shared the story of Glenn, a Disney Cast member and veteran, showcasing how military skills are very transferable to private sector work:

Glenn was a manpower expert…and for every mission he was assigned, he was responsible for figuring out the exact numbers and types of troops needed for the mission to succeed – from the pilots, to the engineers, to the medical personnel. Then he’d locate those troops and help get them where they needed to go. So when Disney was looking for someone to manage the menus in Disney properties around the world…and then figure out the exact quantities and types of ingredients needed for every recipe at every meal…and then get that information where it needs to go…they knew that Glenn was their guy.

At the close of the Veterans Institute, ABC News’ Bob Woodruff captivated the audience with an emotional story of being struck by an IED while overseas, his recovery, and foundation he’s since established to support injured veterans. Attendees also participated in custom-developed Disney Institute courses designed to showcase best practices for organizations making a commitment to hiring veterans.

Emanating from the Disney Institute-led courses were several takeaways:

  1. Everyone is a leader. Thriving organizations train their employees at all levels to exemplify leadership qualities. Since leadership is at the heart of the United States Armed Forces, Veterans are already trained to exhibit these behaviors. Innate leaders embedded throughout the organization are beneficial for all involved.
  2. Military skills are transferable to the private sector. Loyalty translates to commitment to your team. Communication skills ensure messages are delivered clearly to other coworkers. Take the time to evaluate the core qualities of the military. You may be surprised at how essential these skills are to the workplace.
  3. Care for your employees beyond the workplace. Caring for your all employees must extend beyond the workday. For Veterans, this holds especially true as they may have unique needs. The best way to identify these desires: listen.

What steps do you believe organizations or veterans can take to create mutually beneficial employment?

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Posted in Employee Engagement | Tagged Veterans Institute, Selection Training & Engagement, Heroes Work Here, Disney Institute, Veterans

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