USAA: Training for Better Understanding

By: Sabrina Mills

The purpose of this case study is looking at USAA and how its organizational culture. This is looking at how it better understands the needs of military families, and how its customer satisfaction ratings have been ranked one of the highest in the nation between insurance companies. In this study, we look at how USAA helps its employees to better understand military families. It also takes a look at the fundamentals of USAA as a company in whole and its mission to understand its customers.

The qualities of the USAA Standard are best matched to fill the full potential of the needs of its customers. USAA is focused more on their customers needs than the bottom line, and this has led to greater customer satisfaction. An example is “Keep our membership and mission first” (USAA, 2015). This says that USAA wants to ‘protect enterprise performance, brand and reputation above my personal, unit or CoSA goals.’ Basically this means that employees are expected to uphold the goals and priorities of the company and the customers above their personal goals. So that they can help move the company forward and adapt better to their consumers changing needs. Another objective of this is to ‘be a relentless and versatile learner so that we can proactively detect and respond to membership’s changing needs’ (USAA, 2015). This goes with learning how service members needs change a lot. And sometimes unexpectedly. USAA serves to a majority of mostly service members and their families, so keeping up with this and learning how these changes, like deployment, affect their needs is crucial in keeping up with putting the customers first. Another Quality of USAA is “Create conditions for people to succeed” (USAA, 2015). With this, and ideal is ‘communicate transparently, proactively share knowledge across the team, empowering others to solve problems’. This is important in the work environment because sharing ideas can not only get more things done, but can also bring new ideas to the table which could help adapt to the needs of the people better.  ‘Contribute to a supportive team environment where new ideas and initiative are encouraged without immediate scrutiny’ is another important part of this ideal (USAA, 2015). By doing this, people are more motivated to bring up new ideas because they feel like they have voice, and they aren’t going to be shot down. A third part of this is ‘look for opportunities to push decision making to others who are closest to the work.’ An example of this is the call center workers. The call center workers make up a good 60 percent of the company, and so they are the ones who deal closest with the customers. They are encouraged to suggest changes that they believe would benefit the customers the most (McGregor, 2010). This would also be an example of an open system of communication.


The USAA standard aligns with the Situational Perspective of ethical decision making. The Situational Perspective says that ethical decisions should be made by the unique qualities of the situation. This is an important part of USAA and its beliefs. USAA wants to help better understand the needs of military families and its customers so that they can provide the best service possible. They also want to be able to adapt to its changes, so making decisions based on the situations is a good way to help them do it.

The training of USAA employees helps them to better understand their customer base. Employees go through an intense 10-week program of “training” like their military customers would. They eat MRE’s and do intense workouts and training programs in stimulated environments (Feurke, 2009). Before they go through this training though, they prepare themselves for it. They do this by going to various seminars and doing extensive workout in preparation (Shevory, 2014). By training and being in environments that simulate what their customers go through, employees can better see their point of view. And this can help them to better serve their needs.

I am in a mentoring program through the ACN, and there are some ethics that go without saying. Building a code of ethics for this program largely benefit everyone. One is treat kids with respect. This entails treating them like they matter. And that they have a voice, rather than telling them that they are small and don’t have much of a say. Another is to treat everyone equally. In this program you may have one or two kids, but you should treat all of the kids equally, whether you are their mentor or not. A third is report anything suspicious. This could mean if you see kids being mean to each other. But it could also mean if you hear a student say something that doesn’t sound right, or bothers you. A final one is don’t let them down. The kids in this program may be kids that don’t have the best home situation. So they can be used to being let down. The mentors are there to be a guide to the kids, so letting them down breaks their trust and hurts your relationship.

I would get fellow mentors accustomed to these by telling stories about kids similar to these and explain why these ethics were important to not only the program but the children as well. I would also help them with this by simulating possible environments that these kids could come from. From a volunteer standpoint, they would be put in situations and then asked how they would feel afterward. So that they were able to understand why they are so important to the kids.


Fleurke, B. X. (2009, January). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


USAA Standards. (2015). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


McGregor, J. (2010, May 01). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from


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