“We know what it means to serve” is more than a slogan. USAA respects and honors the men and women in our nation’s military and their families who support them. That’s why we are committed to:
Maintaining a 30% military and military spouse hiring goal and achieving 25% military employee representation by 2020
Offering military and military spouses a first look from our recruiters
Providing a wide variety of programs to attract, support and develop military talent
USAA’s mission is to facilitate the financial security of its members, associates and their families by providing a full range of highly competitive financial products and services. In so doing, we seek to be the provider of choice for the military community. We do this by upholding the highest standards and ensuring that our corporate business activities and individual employee conduct reflect good judgment and common sense, and are consistent with our core values of: Service, Loyalty, Honesty and Integrity
Goal Setting and Measurement
Setting and announcing a goal for veteran/military spouse hiring and tracking metrics along the way allows employees to feel ownership while holding executives accountable for the program. Financial services company USAA says veteran and spouse hiring “is a top priority that permeates every level of the organization.” USAA’s top internal metric is the percentage of veteran and military spouse hires. They’ve increased this goal in recent years, up to a current level of 30% of new hires.
Initially, USAA assesses job notification/advertising effectiveness by gaining feedback from job seekers. They ask them to indicate upon application if they are a veteran or a military spouse and how they heard of a job announcement. The company tracks and reports the results on a regular basis. To improve this capability, USAA has dedicated funds to external job advertisement channels to receive analytics behind effective advertising channels. Based on the results, USAA can redistribute funds to the more effective channels to ensure veteran job seekers are able to find advertisements. Additional resources are dedicated to track hiring metrics for veterans and military spouses to measure effectiveness of these same channels.
When veteran and military spouse employees do leave, exit surveys are used to determine where to focus efforts to reduce any turbulence. Overall effectiveness is measured by the success of the employee through annual appraisals, as well as retention. USAA’s Talent Acquisition team also uses Voice of the Customer methodology to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of its Military Recruiting program by surveying the company’s business and hiring managers to glean input on the hiring process.
USAA is currently developing a dashboard that shows metrics related specifically to veterans and military spouses including percent of new hires, feedback on training and professional development, and retention numbers. For small businesses who may not have the technological resources to do something similar, tracking can be as simple as collecting and recording these numbers manually, then comparing them to previous time periods in a spreadsheet.
Internal Community / Retention
USAA specifically designed an internal employee community, VetNET, over five years ago to support veteran and spouse employees, with full support from the CEO and executive leadership team. Both a social and business support group, VetNET is used leveraged to share information, post military-related events, seek/offer advice on the job, mentoring, listing military-related websites, establish focus groups for specific business needs, etc.
The VetNET team also designs internal social and professional-development events to support the USAA military community. These include a speaker’s series, special events and support for Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day ceremony programs at USAA. The business uses VetNET for veteran and military spouse job referrals as well as to identify employees with veteran and spouse backgrounds to support business initiatives like surveys, inclusion in advertisements and advertorials, or to speak at special events both internally and externally.
The office environment is another way to build a community and display a military-friendly feel. At USAA, displays of military heritage service and history, such as memorabilia, artwork, and awards and decorations, are exhibited throughout workplaces. To share how their employees and their family members have served, USAA created digital Wall of Honor displays in their offices to bring firsthand accounts from people who have actually been there. Employees have an opportunity to submit pictures of their loved ones to proudly share their military heritage. Nearly 1,000 images have been submitted by more than 640 employees, with new ones being added every week.
Employees at USAA regularly commemorate military events, such as service branch birthdays, the 9/11 anniversary, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day and POW/MIA remembrances.
A special event, “Zero Day”, is a physical training event that provides employees a lesson in what it means to serve. It draws nearly 300 employees who put themselves in the place of military basic trainees. Actual military drill instructors put employees through the same experiences new recruits go through, including drill and physical training. The day concludes with a 1.5-mile run in formation.
Thanks to these efforts, USAA has seen increased participation in VETNET events.
Finding Veterans & Spouses to Hire
USAA pursues national awards for military friendly hiring practices and participates in multiple best practice surveys with leading military media outlets to increase awareness of their support to the military community and their commitment to hire veterans and spouses. These awards do not go unnoticed and can be earned by deserving companies of all sizes.
The company’s Military Talent Management team attends meetings at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, to brief transitioning injured service members and their families regarding job searches and preparing for civilian careers. That team also has continued to increase its outreach through military blogs and a presence on social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, which helps to reach millennial job seekers.
The company also advertises job openings in a wide range of military-related publications, to include job-related veteran publications, local military newspapers, websites, and job fair brochures.
Financial services company USAA strives to provide innovative programs aiding new hires’ transition from the military to the corporate world and to create a sense of belonging. Formal programs including “Combat to Claims” and “Veterans for IT” bring in new classes of recently separated veteran employees, who are trained and on boarded as a group, providing a built-in support unit.
One example of a more general program is the “Boots to Suits” class that provides perspectives on the differences and similarities between the military and corporate structures and cultures. Another is their Veteran/Military Spouse Wingman Program, which focuses on helping new employees make the transition by providing informal mentoring from a USAA employee sponsor who has “been there.” New employees discuss the challenges they are facing as they adjust, and mentors can connect them to appropriate resources. The program provides an invaluable supplement to more formal on-boarding.
The company has seen increased retention from those participating; due to this success, USAA has plans to expand these programs to other areas of the company.
Military Spouse Support
USAA provides a number of benefits for military spouse employees, with a couple of unique opportunities. Monthly Deployment Support Groups provide a chance to share, learn and gain insight from others experiencing deployment of loved ones. Their program My Helper is a subsidized concierge service that provides a variety of services, including finding childcare, taking a car to be serviced, and shopping for groceries.
While not all companies will have the resources or staffing needs to bring these opportunities on-site, providing a resource sheet, subsidy, or needed time off for a similar service could be options as well.
Deployment Cycle Support
To help ease the impact a deployment can have on a family, deploying Guard and Reserve employees and their families receive a USAA deployment-preparedness kit that includes information about leave procedures, estate planning and USAA contact information.
USAA provides a dedicated team of Human Resource Advisors to National Guard and Reserve employees and their families during their entire deployment cycle. These advisors assist employees and their family members with pre-deployment benefits questions and actions, and facilitate the reemployment process.
To help deployed employees and coworkers maintain contact during deployments, USAA established a Pen Pal program. Employee volunteers commit to writing deployed employees at least once per month during their deployment. The program provides encouragement to deployed employees and keeps them connected with USAA.
Upon their return to USAA, deployed employees receive a personal letter from the USAA Chief Executive Officer and a small gift at a recognition ceremony by their unit leadership and peers.
Structure of Military Program Leadership: USAA
In 2013, USAA established a functional Military Advocacy Group with a single executive point of contact to identify, integrate, elevate and promote veteran and military spouse hiring efforts through the establishment of a national veteran hiring platform. This individual:
Reports to the Enterprise Affairs executive vice president, who is a direct report to the CEO
Along with an integrated working team, is responsible for
Integrating, aligning and elevating enterprise initiatives designed to create and promote meaningful employment opportunities for veterans;
Showcasing veterans’ value and success stories
Being an industry role model
Driving awareness and adoption of USAA’s veteran hiring and training programs to help other businesses succeed in hiring more veterans and military spouses
Manages a budget to execute broad external national relationships and sponsorships that help USAA achieve its business objectives
On a day-to-day level, individual companies and staff agencies can fund and execute unique recruiting and retention programs and initiatives. Through USAA’s national platform, units act as interdependent teams focused on shared accountability, providing a unified approach. Internal USAA companies and staff agencies have a better understanding of the enterprise’s platform objectives and strategies that maximize the value and increase USAA’s opportunities to serve the military community, but their own dedicated recruiting and retention budgets and ability to act autonomously in their design and execution.
To assess the effectiveness of these leaders and their programs, USAA’s CEO has established executive leadership imperatives. Incorporated into annual performance appraisals, the imperatives establish a common language and understanding for what is expected of USAA's leaders. All USAA executives and managers have an annual training and development requirement to complete 30 hours of leadership development, which includes a minimum of five hours of military acumen in the form of military event participation or attendance at one of USAA’s regular military guest speaker series or military specific professional development classes. USAA’s military affairs unit engages with military communities and on installations around the country, and provides a monthly list of opportunities for executives to participate in.