Non-Customer Service USAA Employees

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Webdesigner in Los Angeles, California

86 months ago

I'd like to get some feedback from some USAA employees not involved in any customer service area (like the branch bank or the call centers). For people who are in IT or Marketing, etc., what do you like the best about working for USAA, and what do you like least? I'm not looking for people who want to vent and rant about USAA, just some honest opinions for current or former employees.

FYI, I am considering accepting a job in their IT area - it would include relocating my family. And no need to influence my feelings on San Antonio - I went to high school there and loved it and visit frequently.

Thanks!

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fdgasiuyg in San Antonio, Texas

73 months ago

USAA is a great company and franchise. We pretty much have the cheapest insurance (that will unquestionably remain solvent) and excellent banking products. The membership and the service our reps provide is what makes the association strong. That's the real core of the business. Despite the contradictory challenges, the business competes on both cost and service and remains pretty successful at both. The best part is the people. Everyone is really nice and it is very pleasant to come to work.

In terms of the professional ranks, it's weak. We are about 5 years behind what other companies are doing. HR is trying to improve this (HR recruits outsiders really well), but integrating those of us from different backgrounds is still a challenge. USAA is most definitely a local, "South Texas" company. Middle management is typically local "talent" and, most of the time, USAA is the only company they have ever worked for.

The old CEO, Davis, gets a bad rap. He did restore the association to solvency. USAA, before Davis, had real financial problems due to the exclusive customer focus (they pretty much ignored profitability entirely). The new CEO seems to get the issues. He's definitely a better leader and fit than the old guy.

The legacy remains since the old CEO ruled through intimidation and fear. The middle management he left behind were "yes" men. This weakens the impact that we can have as professionals since our bosses "do the brownnose" to whoever their manager is. That means, we waste a significant amount of time coming up with powerpoints for our bosses to present for them to look good rather than truly work for the benefit of our members. That's the part I hate, not being able to do what I was hired for.

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IT-worker in Desmoine, Iowa

70 months ago

I’d like to add another dimension to fdgasiuyg’s insightful comment: the culture at USAA is likely to be a shock to anyone who has not served in the military. While most professionals are accustomed to working in a collegiate-collaborative environment that encourages cross-functional collaboration and informal peer reviews, USAA is structured more along the lines of rigid military command and control. As fdgasiuyg observes, many of the mangers have no other frame of reference.

The problems with the culture manifest themselves in many different ways. If it’s your job to resolve problems with past implementations, you will inevitably find yourself challenging someone’s authority and you will encounter elaborate circular rationalizations for why no change is needed. Some of those rationalizations take on absurd proportions. A metaphorical example: You observe that there are inadequate controls to prevent tellers from stealing customer deposits. When you recommend that better transaction records be maintained, your suggestion is countered by management with the argument that you can’t prove there is a problem – because no records at all are being kept of the transactions. These kinds of circular logical fallacies abound.

Although they have an Ethics Department, it would be more appropriate to call them the “Complaints Deflection” Department. Don’t expect any help there from people who have probably never cracked a book on engineering ethics. Approaching them is an act of professional suicide. HR is so overwhelmed buy organizational dysfunction that they are baffled about where to begin the task of untying the tangled knot.

I was continually criticized by management for “going outside my unit” when seeking solutions, guidance, or expressing a professional opinion. By the time I figured out the military mentality, it was too late. Not to say that I would have wanted to continue to work in that environment anyway.

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WWN in San Antonio, Texas

70 months ago

Webdesigner in Los Angeles, California said: I'd like to get some feedback from some USAA employees not involved in any customer service area (like the branch bank or the call centers). For people who are in IT or Marketing, etc., what do you like the best about working for USAA, and what do you like least? I'm not looking for people who want to vent and rant about USAA, just some honest opinions for current or former employees.

FYI, I am considering accepting a job in their IT area - it would include relocating my family. And no need to influence my feelings on San Antonio - I went to high school there and loved it and visit frequently.

Thanks!


I am a former employee of 5 years and would have to agree with the other employee postings. While USAA's mission is solid and the members are important, the bureacracy is heavy. Most talented and experienced individuals are spending time mining data for their executive instead of true process improvement. Much of the data analysis and presentations are used to make someone look good, not necessarily to tell the truth about the organization's true state. I would definitely say the political climate is similar to that of the military's.

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