USAA

The purpose of this case study is to study and research of a company. This case study will allow us to discover the company’s culture, reputation, how the employees handle ethical and unethical decisions. Ultimately these are vital things to research in a company. Also while doing research on this company we will dissect how USAA employees handle ethical, and unethical decision making. Decision making within the employees are essential because sometimes it can destroy a company’s reputation, and the amount of money lost after. While doing research on USAA it was clear that they provide an unique employee training session to help their decision making within the company.

USAA is a fortune five hundred company that has established an firm reputation since the company was founded. USAA is abbreviated for United services Automobile Association. Originally when the company was founded it was called the United States Army Automobile Association. It wasn’t until 1924 when the name was changed to United Service Automobile Association when commissioned officers from other military became eligible for membership.  At this time this was a quality innovation change for the company. This allowed the USAA to expand vastly. Quickly shortly USAA opened up offices in Germany, London, and England.  The company was formed off a meeting of twenty five Army officers to discuss a strong and reliable economical and auto insurance.

As stated you can see why USAA is highly recommended, and why it is arguably one the best all-around company’s. There are many reasons we can justify to state why USAA is so great. One of the main components that were appropriate to take into consideration is their organizational culture.  The culture requires some specific qualities that are abide by the USAA standard. It’s an equal opportunity and affirmative, it allows an employer to give consideration on applicants, no matter the race, color, nationality, religion, or sex. This brings a dynamic piece to the company because their staff is diversified. USAA align with the standard with the perspective of an ethical decision because the bond and relationship the employees of USAA have is remarkable. They enter training together, and they change people’s lives as well. An employee of USAA making an ethical decision would take a lot of time of pondering because the reputation of the company is very vital relationship as whole company.  Majority of USAA employees have some sort of army personnel previous. The employees face an intense unique training process. During this process the employees learn the perspective of the customers they serve. The training is essentially a boot camp in other words. While undergoing the training they are given strict orders, and heavy gear to wear. This training is vital because it allows the employees to get a sense of how important their job is. With this type of training it will be very difficult to make an ethical decision.

The training of the employees are serious, and the four ethical decision making plays a significant role in the process. One of the standard reasoning for this process is the boot camp. The training allow the future employees to understand the importance of what their job requires. I would require a training method similar because it prepares the employees in the best way possible. These training methods will allow the employees to make a better decision if the run into a situation where they have to make an ethical decision.  

Company’s need to take USAA employee training into consideration. USAA displayed why their employees have a great relationship and why they stick together. It is a good preparation because it prepares the employees in the best way possible to act accordingly when they face an ethical or unethical situation. USAA have displayed tremendous relationship between the employees and the company.

 Image result for usaa google

USAA: More Than Just Insurance

By: Tyler Starr

 

Introduction

There are a lot of insurance companies throughout the country, and for the most parts they are all ran very similarly. USAA does not choose to conform to the rest of those insurance companies. In this case study we will look at the way that USAA trains their employees to handle and deal with the unique wants and needs of their clients. At more than 13,000 employees they have quite a large workforce (McGregor, 2005). They have a different clientele than most, since they work with former and current members of the US military.

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Photo Credit http://www.volvoofcorvallis.com 

Organizational Culture

The USSA Standard is the main set of goals that they want their employees to operate under (USAA, 2015). The first of these six goals is to keep their membership and their mission first. This means that the biggest factor when making a decision should always be what is best for the member and the mission of the company, not themselves. The second and third goals go hand in hand with their four values of service, loyalty, honesty and integrity, followed by their will to build trust with the members. If the members can fully trust the employees investing their money then they will have a much stronger relationship with the employees. The fourth, fifth, and sixth goals can be summed up by saying that they want their employees to always be looking for improvements (USAA, 2015). Whether that is adapting to a change in their customer’s needs and modifying their tactics or just being innovative for the company. Just like any large corporation, USAA is always looking for the next best thing.

The USAA standard follows the relationship-based perspective of ethical decision making. This is because the choices that the employees make are to help develop a stronger bond and relationship with the members. Having strong employee to member relationships within the company is something that USAA holds very highly and it has helped them to be as successful as they are. Each one of their members has very different needs than the next so knowing the member well is an important aspect of their policy. If the policy needs to change in a short amount of time the employee will be ready to make the adjustment.

The training that goes into becoming a USAA employee is vastly different than the training of almost any other company. The employees are put through a boot camp for 10 weeks to give them a little bit of a look into what some of their customers go through being in the military (Fleurke, 2009). They do everything from wearing ten pounds of gear to eating MRE’s for lunch. They are also put through a normal PT workout that includes pushups, sit-ups, and running (Shevory, 2014). This is to give the employees an idea of where their members are coming from. This helps the employees to make the right decisions for the members because they gain an added understanding of where the members are coming from and what their specific needs are.

Critical Analysis

Working at a golf course on the grounds crew is a job that I have worked at previously that, like USAA, has a very specific group of people to work for. The people that you are trying to satisfy are the members of the golf course and your mission is to make their experience on the course as nice as possible. The four ethical standards that I would put in place at the golf course would be to always put the members’ wants before your own, always treat any member like they are your superior, always conduct your job in the most respectful way possible, and to build relationships with the members of the course that will last a lifetime.

I would instill these 4 ethical standards in training by making sure that the employees knew who a lot of the members of the course were before they were sent out on solo jobs around the course. I would also make sure everyone has proper training on any job that a member of the course could ask them to do and not just the job that they are sent out on. Finally, I would train every employee the absolute best way to do each job on the course so they would make the smallest mess that they could. With those standards put in place, the relationship between the members and the grounds crew would greatly improve. The course would be run a lot smoother than it is today.

References

Fleurke, X. (2009, January). Walking a Mile in the Shoes of Your Customer. Retrieved from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

McGregor, J. (2005, October 1). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Shevory, K. (2014, September 1). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/

USAA. (2015). The USAA Standard. Retrieved from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

 

 

USAA : Redefining Customer Service

By : Tony Snider

INTRODUCTION

No matter the type of business, understanding the needs unique to its customers is crucial.  USAA is an insurance and financial company that serves members of the United States Military and families.  USAA is unique because of how highly they value their customer’s opinions.  This case study will deal with how USAA as a company trains its employees to be able to deal with certain situations and to be able to make their customers the happiest.  Not only does USAA emphasize to its employees the importance of a happy customer, their customer service representatives also make up over 60% of the company’s employees (McGregor, 2005).

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

At USAA they hold themselves to highest of standards when it comes to customer care.  At the company they have what is called the “USAA Standard”.  This standard is used to make sure that all employees are aligned similarly and are working toward the same goals when it comes to customer satisfaction.  At USAA the standard is comprised of keeping their membership and mission first, living through their core values, being authentic and building trust, creating condition for people to succeed, purposefully including diverse perspectives for the best results, and being innovative in building toward the future (USAA, 2015).  All USAA employees, most of whom are former military personnel, undergo much training designed to help them understand the perspective of customer care (Fleurke, 2009).  This training  also integrates their “USAA Standard”, making sure each and every employee is able to give the most productive care to their customers while still following the Standard itself.

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Photo Credit : bizjournals.com

The USAA Standard closely aligns with two of the Perspectives of Ethical Decision Making.  The foundational perspective, which states that the organization has an explicit code of ethics, is the first to come to mind.  The Standard is exactly that, an explicit code of ethics that needs to be followed by all.  Also, the relationship-based perspective seems to fit as well.  This perspective states that ethical behavior is achieved through open and honest communication with the public.  I feel that the relationship-based perspective is present much in part after learning that around 300 USAA employees had been doing push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and much more, after signing up for a taste of military basic training.  This was done because at USAA they stated how “you serve the military best when you understand the military” (Shevory, 2014).  This shows to me how USAA is going public with its relations and with how willing they are to do anything to give the best customer service to its clients, in a part of business that typically gets bashed for its poor customer service.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Although I have never specifically worked for a company ran much like an insurance company such as USAA, I have been a part of teams that have held similar standards and ethics.  In high school, our football team needed to conduct ourselves in an honorable manner, as we were constantly in the spotlight, both on the field and in the community.  We also had a specific person to run our social media pages and ran fundraisers.  This taught me a lot about what standards are important for a team, or even business to be successful and respected.  If I were to design a code of ethics for a business, I would use much of what I learned from my time in high school football.  But, with all of this, our high school football team did not incorporate a structured code of ethics.  If I were to create four ethical standards they would be :

  • Conduct yourself with class and respect, both on and off the field
  • Be selfless in helping around the school and community
  • Support Riverdale in every way possible
  • Build lasting friendships and brotherhoods with those teammates around you

These would be my four ethical standards because of how well they sum up the importance of playing football at Riverdale.   First off, with conducting yourself with class and respect, it is as simple as that.  As an athlete, especially a football player, the spotlight is on your at all times, not just on the field.  This would help players to be more respectful in all aspects of life.  Next, being selfless in helping around the school and community may be the most important in my eyes.  As an athlete in high school I was constantly signing up to volunteer my time to help for events, a trait that I have carried with myself to this day.  Then, supporting the school itself in every way possible is important because of the amount of support that football gets.  Yes, football is the big money-maker at every high school, but supporting other sports teams and clubs and returning the favor is imperative.  Lastly, building lasting friendships and brotherhoods will always stick with me.  To this day most of my closest friends have come from playing football alongside them.  Working out every day for football is not necessarily easy, so having friends, that are more like brothers, around you makes it that much more enjoyable and unforgettable.  These ethical standards typically do not need to necessarily be taught to new members, but they would need to be reminded of them from time to time.  Having these standards posted and displayed would drill them into the players’ minds.  In my experience, playing the game of football indirectly taught me these ethical standards, of being respectful, selfless, supportive of those around me, and creating lifelong brotherhoods.

 

References

The USAA Standard. (2015). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

Fleurke, B. X. (n.d.). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/?_r=0

McGregor, J. (2012). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

The USAA: An Example to Follow

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Photo cred: thefinancialbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/usaa_hero.jpg

By Reagan Wheeler

The purpose of this case study is to talk about USAA’s organizational culture and describe how the USAA trains their employees to understand its costumer base of unique needs. USAA is an insurance and financial services company. They attend to men and women in the military and their families (Insurance, n.d.).

The USAA has six qualities that it stands by called the USAA Standard. The first of the six is “keep our membership and mission first.” This means that they will protect the enterprise performance, reputation and brand above their own personal, unit or CoSA goals. This states that they also make it priority to support the membership and mission while making smart trade-offs and accomplishing goals with a lot of personal accountability. Being a consistent learner in multiple areas is a huge part of this quality so that each of their members’ changing needs is clearly noticed.

The next quality is “live out core values: service, loyalty, honesty, integrity.” The organization strives to follow the core values and use them as a bond with their members, community, and coworkers. Following these values gives a positive view of the USAA inside the organization as well as on the outside. They hold themselves to the USAA Code of Conduct and try to always act in an ethical way. Thirdly, is the “be authentic and build trust” quality. The employees at USAA make sure that their words and actions in every situation are honest and compassionate. Keeping their word is something they hold themselves to with every commitment they make. Each person respectfully shares theirs ideas for solving a certain problem or learning (The USAA…, n.d.).

“Create conditions for people to succeed” is the fourth quality of the USAA Standard. In this quality the organization works to be transparent in communication and to actively share information to their team to give others the encouragement to solve problems. They all contribute new ideas to a team environment that is supportive. Looking to give employees who are closest to the current work decision-making opportunities. The next is “purposefully include diverse perspectives for superior results.” The organization wants their employees to take many different perspectives into consideration so that they can get the best results possible. They are then told to test all the new solutions and pick which one they think would work best and move on together. There is a model to follow while doing this. They need to look at the opportunities and risks and then apply the business side and then decide what the best choice is for the member (McGregor, 2012).

The last quality in the USAA Standard is “innovate and build for the future.” With this one the organization wants their employees to freely and openly talk about things that can make the company better. This makes it easier and simpler to work with other coworkers and members. Bringing forward big ideas and supporting change shows that the company is confident in their ability to perform and produce. They are always trying to take smart risks and constantly watch for opportunities that would allow them to make things better (Shevory, 2014).

These qualities align with the Foundational Perspective of decision-making. The USAA has their own explicit code of ethics and follows them to make sure they have acceptable behaviors. It also takes on the situational perspective because they empower their employees to make in-the-moment decisions. The utilitarian perspective states that ethical behavior is determined by one’s actions not intentions. I think that the USAA follows this kind of perspective. They definitely use the relationship-based type of perspective where open and honest communication with the public is how ethical behavior is accomplished. This unique type of training helps the employees of the USAA to act and work ethically by encouraging them, allowing them and teaching them to work together in an ethical way. When they practice working with their coworkers in this way they are preparing themselves and training themselves to work that same way with their members (Fleurke, n.d.).

The four ethical standards I would have for the organization in which I work are Honesty, Loyalty, Respect, and Understanding. I choose honesty for obvious reasons. I don’t want to work in a place that isn’t honest with its costumers or me. I would also want the company I work for to have a standard of loyalty; loyalty to the values they hold their employees to and to what they believe. This is important to me personally in my own life and I think it would important to have that in an organization. I think respect is important in a business environment. If there is no respect between employer and employee then there would be nothing accomplished and no one would be productive. Lastly, I chose understanding to be one of the ethical standards in the company where I work. I chose this because everyone needs to try and be understanding of one another. If no one tries to understand each other’s point of view or ideas then there would be constant conflict within the culture of the company. That’s why I would choose these four standards to follow.

References

Fleurke, B. X. (n.d.). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

INSURANCE | BANKING | INVESTMENTS | RETIREMENT. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_logon/Logon?adid=sem|g|ent|brn| usaa|bd|search|awareness|mbm|46370285|VQ16-c|VQ6-71054858292

McGregor, J. (2012). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Shevory, K. (2014). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/?_r=0

The USAA Standard. (n.d). Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf.

USAA: Insurance for the Military

By: Torin Wetzel

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https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.usaa.mobile.android.usaa

 

USAA is an insurance company made for military members and their families. This case study will explore the different ways USAA trains its employees to deal with the situations and unique needs of the customers while keeping the employees happy. USAA uses unique strategies in order to get their employees acclimated to the type of customers they have. Working with military members and their families is much different than the norm, so it is extremely important to USAA that their employees be fully trained to deal with every situation that may occur. “In a recent study by Forrester Research, USAA received the top rating from customers, a full 81% of whom said they believed the company does what’s best for them rather than for the bottom line” (McGregor 05). This number proves how hard USAA works in order to achieve what is best for its customers by training employees to be able to work for their best needs. USAA also finds way to gain employee trust and give them a sense of importance and recognition.

The USAA standard contains the following cores values which outline the full standard of the company; service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity. These four core values are the base for the entire standard. A big part of USAA is building trust and keeping the company first. Building trust with the company as well as the clients is very important with insurance, the employees have to be able to live up to their word. Keeping the company first aligns with this as well because an employee must be able to do what is best for the company and its clients at all times, adapting to the various needs. The other standards that are involved with USAA include, creating conditions for people to succeed, creating diverse perspectives, and innovation. Being able to help people to succeed is important with pushing ideas that will benefit the customer as well as sharing knowledge with transparency. Diverse perspectives are extremely important to have in USAA as well, because these military members come from very different backroads and it important to be able to relate to them in some ways. The last standard is innovation and that is the ability to bring new ideas forward and take smart risks for the better and possible evolution of the company.

The USAA standard aligns with the utilitarian perspective of ethical decision making. The reason being is because they USAA standard prides itself on transparency and relationships with customers. Honesty and integrity are two of the core values and they base the ethical behavior by action. The unique training of USAA definitely provides employees with ways to interact with customers ethically. The training provides the employees with experiences that show how difficult military life is every day. These eye opening experiences help the employees to relate to the customers more, and understand where they are coming from. This makes for a much better relationship between employees and customers, which in turn creates more satisfaction on both ends. It’s not hard to understand why USAA employees enjoy their work so much, while still keeping customers happy.

 

An organization in which I am a part of is the men’s basketball team at Ashland University. Ethical standards that I would include for a code of ethical would include; responsibility to the team, unity with team members and coaches, respect to the organization, and trust in the process. Responsibility to the team comes from being accountable for you actions that involve yourself, or team members. Team members have the responsibility to be to practices, games and training on time, and have the right attitude. They also have the responsibility to be the best member of the team that they can be, while representing the team in the right way. Unity with team members and coaches is extremely important for the team’s success. A team with strong chemistry and unity can often beat a more talented team. Getting along with teammates and spending time with one another is part of being in the organization. You have to have a vested interest in the coaches and the players. They are your family away from your real family, and team chemistry will help to make everyone succeed. With unity comes trusting each member has your back, a team that is fearless as a whole can accomplish great things. Respect in the organization comes with trying the best you can to represent your team and in this case school in the best way that you can. You have to respect the team members and the coaches in order to learn anything and to get better. You have to respect the whole organization in order to truly do your best to represent it in a god light. Lastly. To trust the process is very important. A member must trust that the coaches and other players have their best interest at hand and will work together to achieve the goal. The ,members have to understand that while it may not be fun to run and do conditioning at practice, it will pay off when they play games. To understand the end goal and what it takes to get there is very important.

New members of the team are trained by showing them how to abide by the ethical standards. Having leaders to take them under their wings and show them the way things are supposed to be done. Show them the respect the other players have for the organization and teach them the unity that the team has. New members often just need to wait back and watch for a little while to understand the culture of the team and the dynamics at which the team works. Once they understand the values that the team as a whole has, that is when it is easier for them to join.

 

Fleurke, B. X. (2009, January). Walking a Mile in the Shoes of your Customer. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

Long, N. (n.d.). What Are Ethical Standards in the Workplace? Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/ethical-standards-workplace-11576.html

McGregor, J. (2005, October 1). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Shevory, K. (2014, September 01). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 16, 2016, from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/?_r=0

PDF: https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

 

A TRUE KIND OF SERVICE

by Sarah Van Wagnen
Within any company, understanding it’s customers and client base is a major factor to building a successful business. USAA is a unique company for how much they value the thoughts and opinions of their customers. Their employees are trained extensively regarding customer care and satisfaction. Not only does this increase business, but it creates very high customer loyalty. USAA’s service reps make up 60% of the company alone, much greater than other competitors (McGregor, 2005).

USAA holds itself to an incredible standard when it comes to their customers. They keep their membership and mission first, live their core values, are authentic/trustworthy, create conditions for people to succeed, include diverse perspectives for superior results, and innovate while building for the future (“USAA”). Their core values include: service, loyalty, honesty, and integrity. These values stem from the fact that the company was started by Army officers to insure each others cars when no other company would (Rohde, 2012). The tradition of former service members working for current service members has not changed. USAA still requires 30 percent of their employees to be veterans or military spousaa-pictureuses (Shevory, 2014).

These standards align closely with both the foundational and relationship-based ethical perspectives within organizations. Within the foundational perspective USAA has a strong tradition of morals and how they treat their customers. They show their customers a great deal of respect and mutual trust; 98% of their customers USAA says they keep. Their company also uses the relationship-based ethical perspective when making decisions. They value open and honest communication with the public and their customers. Their goal is to build life-long relationships, they genuinely want to help people as a company and are less concerned about the “bottom-line”. Relationships with their customers always come first.

Every USAA employee goes through a very different type of training. They are actually emerged into a simulated 3 day boot camp, which is designed after the first few days of Army basic training. This allows employees to actually experience what their customers have on a day-to-day basis. When people go through even a small amount of training similar to what those in the military have, their eyes are opened to a completely different lifestyle. This lifestyle requires a different type of service and unique benefits for those in the military or service families. When employees are faced with a decision, their first ethical instinct based of their training is to do what is best for the customer and to help as much as possible. Employees attend seminars and base visits each year. Even executive officials have actually served in the military, all employees are trained to empathize with their military customers.

When designing a code of ethics, it is extremely important to consider the members of an organization. When asked if USAA puts customers first, 81% agreed that they do, which is extremely high for an insurance company (Fleurke, 2009). Customer and member satisfaction is essential to any group. An organization that plays a big part in my life is my sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. We have a creed that guides us ethically, but when creating a code of ethics I would include the following standards that I believe to be the most important to our sorority.

  1. Continue to strengthen personal character.
  2. Remain loyal, honest, kind and true.
  3. Always represent Alpha Delta Pi in the finest light.
  4. Build friendships through true sisterhood.

The most important part of our sisterhood is the bond we share. When a woman joins Alpha Delta Pi, she knows she is going to experience an amazing support system. Our chapter is full of role-models the younger members can look up to. Strengthening personal character and developing into the finest version of yourself is one of the main reasons our chapter is so successful; we grow together. We highly value loyalty within our  sisters, we are a selective group and search for women of substance to help our society flourish. Being kind, honest, and true, to fellow human beings is something every woman should strive for in order to better become the best version of herself. When a woman joins Alpha Delta Pi, she is not only representing herself but the entire chapter and greek life as a whole. Every action could impact the society we have built since 1851, and that’s why it is so important to value our society when making decisions. Finally, without true bonds of sisterhood and friendship ADPi would cease to exist, we call this sorority our home because of the relationships we have created through our membership.

In order to learn these values members must be educated on them. We hold ourselves to high standards within education and our personal lives. Older members of the chapter must communicate with and guide new members around these values. Membership education sessions should always be held to help lead each member throughout her college experience. There would be standards consequences when our values are not upheld, however there is always a sister to help another through whatever she may be experiencing or struggling with. Alpha Delta Pi should always put our sisterhood and relationships first, without these bonds the society would fall apart at the seams.

 

References

Fleurke, X. (2009, January). Walking a mile in the shoes of your customer. Retrieved from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

McGregor, J. (2005, October 1). Employee innovator: USAA. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Rohde, D. (2012, January 27). In the era of greed, meet America’s good bank: USAA. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/01/in-the-era-of-greed-meet-americas-good-bank-usaa/252161/

Shevory, K. (2014, September 1). Boot camp for bankers. Retrieved from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/

USAA. (2015). The USAA standard. Retrieved from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

 

USAA, For Military Personnel, Provided By Retired Military Personnel

By Seth D. Ansell

United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is an insurance and financial services company that serves U.S. military members and their families. Because of the unique niche of customers, USAA must train its employees to understand the specific wants and needs of its unique customer base. This case study intends to review what methods USAA utilizes to train their employees for their specific market and how it differs from other insurance companies.

USAA is an insurance company that provides its services to U.S. military members and their families. USAA has standards it uses for its employees to follow and for employees going through training. These standards include: Keeping USAA’s mission first, live the four core values (service, loyalty, honesty, integrity), be authentic and build trust with customers, create conditions for people to succeed, include diverse perspectives for superior results, and innovate and build for the future. USAA wants employees to put their personal goals behind the company’s goals and reputation, always act as a USAA representative, use consistent communication with honesty and empathy, create diverse work teams to get the most diverse opinions and perspectives, and more. USAA hopes that employees will do act in these ways if they follow all of the standards (USAA).

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USAA Financial Center. Photo Credit: CNN Money

A poll in the U.S. found that people consider health and life insurance companies to be one of the most untrustworthy and least honest. USAA has gotten opposite results, were 81% of USAA customers felt that the company “works for them rather than for ‘the bottom line’” (Shoes). USAA has a unique approach were the employees try to understand the situation and needs of its customers. A large majority of USAA clients are military personnel and their families, and many of the employees are also former military personnel. This already creates a common tie between the customers and employees. To further connect their employees with their customers, USAA runs a 10-week training program for new employees that simulates the challenges of military personnel experience. The training includes wearing heavy military gear, given stern commands, and eating standard military meals. The training aims to give empathy to the customer’s from the employees, so that the employees will think before responding to a customer. In addition to the training new employees experience, the insurance firm also sponsors a nonprofit organization, titled Strikeouts for Troops. The organization provides military services members with comforts in military hospitals around the world (Fleurke, 2009).

The president of USAA, Josue Robles Jr., stated that “You serve the military best when you understand the military” (Shevory, 2014). But why does USAA want to target U.S. military service members and veterans for their financial services and insurance company? USAA is battling other companies for customers that are well-off financially. USAA want to keep its edge over other banks and insurance firms who are looking to get military members and veterans as well. Other banks such as Citigroup, U.S Bank, Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America all have their own benefits programs to attract veterans. Service members are attractive because they have secure jobs and do not need to worry about layoffs, which are the kinds of customers banks would like. They are generally loyal and financially stable. Banks believe if they are able to get service members while they are young with attractive benefit programs, that they can build a customer for life by offering them more services, such as mortgages and credit, as they age (Shevory, 2014).

Another tool that USAA is using to attract military services personnel is to have specific services for them, like redeployment and retirement financial planning from other former military personnel. USAA also utilizes technology to be attractive for military personnel, by having mobile check deposit, video-chat support, and low-bandwidth sites that make it easier for busy military personnel and for military personnel who don’t know the next time they will have access to a physical bank. Because of USAA’s large understanding and empathy towards military personnel’s struggles and needs, they retain 98% of their customers (Shevory, 2014).

USAA not only treats their customers with respect, but they also treat their employees well. As seen in the past case studies about Netflix, Google, and Zappos, companies who treat their employees well, generally have better results. USAA offers employees full tuition reimbursement, free financial advice, generous 401k matches, company funded pension, and on-site child care and free messages on the job. The company also allows the employees to work as professionals; similar to how Google lets it employees work on an independent project, USAA allows employees to make and suggest changes to benefit their customers. (McGregor, 2005).

USAA also ranked third highest in overall auto-owner’s insurance satisfaction rating, according to JDPower’s satisfaction survey. The rating factors were: Overall satisfaction, first notice of loss, service interaction, appraisal, repair process, rental car experience, and settlement. USAA had scored a perfect 5 in all but one category; service interaction (J.D. Power, 2015).

USAA acts within all of the ethical decisions requirement, specifically within requiring employees to act within their code of conduct. All work to make ethical decisions is wasted if those in the organization do not follow the code of conduct, and USAA tries to keep all employees within the clearly outline code of conduct through an intensive 10-week training program.

USAA’s code of ethics and ethical treatment of customers and employees is similar to the way my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, attempts to treat others outside and within our own organization. Our fraternity commits to many volunteer and philanthropy fundraising. Our national philanthropy is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Because of our dedication and ties to volunteer work, we would want a code of ethics to reflect that. Here is an example of a possible code of ethics for the Ashland University local chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, which shows our deep devotion to philanthropy.

  1. Always conduct yourself in a manner in which you would if a St. Jude’s representative or St. Jude’s patient was there watching.
  2. Give everything you can while volunteering. You do not need to volunteer 24/7, but it should be a major time commitment for you.
  3. Treat everyone with respect, specifically within the fraternity.
  4. Be understanding and empathetic of others, and always try to make the world a better place.

These would be a good set of code of ethics to follow because they would require members to act and treat others with high regard as if they were always volunteering. Volunteering and service to others are key values or our organization.

 

 

References

Fleurke, B. X. (2009, January). Walking A Mile In The Shoes of Your Customer. Retrieved             October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-                 shoes-of-your-customer/

J.D. Power. (2015). U.S. Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Study. Retrieved October 17,               2016, from http://www.jdpower.com/ratings/study/U.S.-Auto-Insurance-Claims-                 Satisfaction-Study/679ENG

McGregor, J. (2005, October 01). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016,               from https://www.fastcompany.com/3064642/the-future-of-work/gm-to-top-tech-           talent-ditch-silicon-valley-for-detroit

Shevory, K. (2014, September 1). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016.                    USAA. (n.d.). The USAA Standard. Retrieved October 17, 2016.

USAA Defines Unique Style of Employee Training

Photo Credit www.infowars.com
Photo Credit http://www.infowars.com

by Nathaniel E. Urban 

Introduction

The purpose of this case study is to analyze the ethical perspectives found within the organizational culture of the United Services Automobile Association (USAA). USAA is an insurance and financial services company whose customer base primarily consists of United States military and their families. The case study will look at the qualities of The USAA Standard and will later describe how USAA trains its employees to act ethically when handling the particular needs of their customers. A critical analysis will include a discussion of the ethical standards of an organization that I am currently a part of.

Organizational Culture

The qualities of The USAA Standard that employees are expected to demonstrate include loyalty, service, and trust. Employees are expected to remain loyal to the needs of their customers first and to offer the best support possible. Service is one of USAA’s core values that reminds employees that their service to the customer is of greatest importance. Employees are to be communicating with honesty and to, “Keep my commitments to promised actions”, in order to build trusting relationships with co-workers (USAA, 2015). Other similar qualities include encouragement, curiosity, innovation, and honesty.

The USAA Standard aligns with the relationship-based ethical perspective, which assumes that ethical behavior is built and cultivated through high quality and honest communication. Four of the six sections of the standard make at least one reference to how an employee’s communication should be with a co-worker or a customer. Their communication should contain empathy, transparency, the ability to test new ideas, and open enough to discuss questions that may improve the company’s work. Communication also leads to better relationship development with a customer due to how information and emotions like empathy are exchanged.

The training of USAA employees is unique because it provides particular capabilities of how they should act ethically with their customers who are mostly military members. USAA is dedicated to their customers and they want their employees to understand the perspectives of the customers they serve. The training process for USAA employees is, “Essentially a ‘boot camp’ for employees, a 10-week experience, simulating the challenges that military personnel experience every day. Trainees are given stern commands, heavy gear to wear, and military standard meals ready to eat (MREs) for lunch” (Fleurke, 2009). The training allows employees to acquire a sense of support and compassion with the majority of USSA’s customers before they begin to respond to the respected needs of a customer.

The 10-week experience also includes running several miles in formation and marching together daily which is, “One of many things USAA does to better educate its employees about the armed services” (Shevory, 2014). A better understanding of a company’s customer makes for a better service that an employee can provide to that customer. A USAA employee is exposed to a minor glimpse of what the life of military member is like. “The company takes every opportunity to remind employees what USAA’s customers’ lives are like” (McGregor, 2005). The 10-week experience does not only include physical challenges. USAA employees include hundreds of military veterans who share their experiences during training.

Critical Analysis

My fraternity, the Phi Kappa Psi Ohio Theta chapter, is an organization that is run similar to a business; the chapter has funds, a public relations image, parliamentary procedures, fundraising events, and so forth. In order to guide the decision making process in all of these areas there is a set of ethical standards in place so the chapter is able to grow and secure its future. Four ethical standards of the chapter are to give aid and sympathy, deepen one’s integrity, represent the spirit of all fraternities, and bring honor to oneself and the fraternity.

These ethical standards are essential to the chapter because they are what every member can personally devote time to and what can guide important chapter-related decisions. A member giving aid and sympathy draws back to Phi Kappa Psi’s founding principle of the great joy of serving others. Deepening one’s integrity means that a member has the maturity to do what is morally right and sometimes difficult. For a member to represent the spirit of all fraternities means that he carries himself in such a respectable manner that he is a representation of what every fraternity member should appear as. Bringing honor to oneself and the fraternity means that a member restrains himself from doing anything that could potentially harm his character or the reputation of the fraternity.

I would train my fraternity’s new members to adopt these ethical standards by leading them in an in depth study of what these standards may already mean to them and what they mean to other members of our chapter. It would basically be a several weeks-long study of discussion, reflection, and practicality on these standards. A new member, like a new employee, “May understand the culture of your organization, but may be unsure of how to embrace it” (Carabelli, 2016). The importance is for the new members to learn what we have learned and the only method to do so is for us to teach them. The crucial part is that our new members are educated on the standards that have guided our chapter for years before us and that they teach the same methods to the new members after them.

References

Carabelli, C. (2016). How is Organizational Culture Passed to New Employees? Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/organizational-culture-passed-new-employees-14078.html

Fleurke, X. (2009, January). Walking a Mile in the Shoes of Your Customer. Retrieved from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

McGregor, J. (2005, October 1). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Shevory, K. (2014, September 1). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved from http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/

USAA. (2015). The USAA Standard. Retrieved from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf

By: Natalie M. Antonio

An insurance company called USAA, insures and provides members of the United States military with various financial services. USAA makes it their mission to offer men, women as well as their families with reliable medical and financial care. This company offers different seminars for their employees to attend just so they can get a glimpse into what the brave men and women do to protect our country.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/77/USAA.PNG
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/77/USAA.PNG

USAA deals with a high number of claims each year, because of this they need to hold themselves to a higher standard. This is to ensure that their clients receive the best care possible. On the USAA website they list six standards that they hold themselves accountable for. The first standard on the list was to keep their membership and mission first. This is to ensure that every employee never stops learning, to prioritize, and to protect the enterprise performance. The second standard was to live within their core values, which include, service, loyalty, honesty and integrity. USAA, wants their employees to hold themselves accountable, embrace their own core values, and maintain status as a positive representative for USAA. The third standard on the list was to be authentic and build trust. USAA expects the employees to keep commitments, while being honest and consistent in their actions. The fourth standard included setting the standard to create conditions for people to succeed. Team members are encouraged to be a part of the supportive team environment. The team members are encouraged to contribute knowledge to others on the team, while empowering others to do the same things. The fifth standard included diverse perspectives for superior results, relevant perspectives, and discipline. The company wanted to test new ideas for the betterment of knowledge as well as progress. The final standard was to innovate and work toward building a future. USAA makes it as easy as possible for co-workers and members to do business. Change is a good thing within companies like USAA because they encourage it within themselves.

When it comes to taking a more relationship based perspective, USAA takes more of an ethical decision making approach. USAA achieves this with open and honest communion with the public. USAA members can go through a boot camp for ten weeks, this stimulates the challenges that our U.S soldiers go through everyday. The employees are given commands, made to wear heavy gear, and given meals that they expect soldiers to eat. USAA makes it a priority for their team members to understand how and where their clients are coming from and how they act in the military.

If I had to design a code of ethics for USAA, I would ensure that new employees had the proper training. It is heartwarming to know that USAA has programs such as their boot camps to make their employees sympathize with their very specific clientele. I would possibly go a little further in their company ethics code. It is important for employees to relate to their clients on a very personal level. By going through the boot camp, as well as being held accountable to certain standards is the duty of every employee. The employees are able to determine what is expectable behavior By creating a code of ethics this allows every employee to have a handle on their own behavior in the workplace. The ethical perspectives mentioned above are very critical for a successful company, it allows a relationship between the representative and the family members. The families appreciate it when a company goes the extra yard for them, and USAA has done a fantastic job at revealing that.

When an employee is comfortable in the workplace the productivity goes up. I would want my employees to feel the same way in a business. When holding each other to a certain higher standard while being accountable, I believe that the employees have a level of respect for each other. This is because they are being held to the same standards, which means they are more likely to take risks because of the accountability. If the employees want to succeed they need to have the dedication to complete the task they were given, this is to create a good team atmosphere. I believe that USAA does a very good job at supporting their standards. USAA does support the military and their family members. In the future I believe that USAA will continue supporting the military and their families, with the brand that they have created. The brand of USAA has allowed the company to maintain a good business and a good rapport with their clients.

References:

Fleurke, B. X. (n.d.). Menu. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from http://www.corporate-ethics.org/walking-a-mile-in-the-shoes-of-your-customer/

Innovation, N. R. (n.d.). Culture at USAA | USAA Career Centers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from https://www.usaajobs.com/life-at-usaa/culture/

McGregor, J. (2012). Employee innovator: USAA. Retrieved October 17, 2016, fromhttps://www.fastcompany.com/53782/employee-innovator-usaa

Shevory, K. (2014). Boot camp for bankers. Retrieved October 17, 2016, fromhttp://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/09/01/boot-camp-for-bankers/?_r=0

USAA The USAA STANDARDS. Retrieved from https://www.usaajobs.com/docs/USAA-Standard.pdf