December 19, 2016 BestCompaniesAZ

8 Ways to Spot a Great Workplace Culture

By Lee Vikre | @LeeVikre

USAA is a destination workplace and was just named one of Arizona’s Most Admired Companies for 2016 and the Spotlight Award Winner for Workplace Culture. Everyone wants to work in a company with such high ratings. How can you identify a destination employer, or turn your company into a talent magnet? By studying how USAA does it right, we found eight ways to spot a great workplace culture.

Turnover is low, opportunity is high. Employees, like customers, vote with their feet; and a destination employer generally has low turnover. USAA’s voluntary turnover is very low – below the industry average. Often, companies with great cultures are growing. USAA plans to hire hundreds of new employees in Arizona in the coming year, so even with low turnover, there is opportunity.

Shared values. All USAA employees are not military veterans, but all support military values. The USAA company values mirror those of the military community and the USAA membership; Service, Loyalty, Honesty, and Integrity. Every employee is looked to as a leader who embodies and upholds the values, which guide how people perform and interact. Destination employers all have strong shared values, mission, vision, or manifesto to guide the team.

Strong onboarding. Companies that start their new hires off with a strong orientation build solid cultures. At USAA, new employees not only learn about their new benefits (which are world class) – they also learn about their customers. Beginning with a “deployment letter” that mirrors those received by soldiers, new employees learn about the military lifestyle. They eat MREs (meals ready-to-eat), try on heavy backpacks, and read actual letters from soldiers in the field. By the time they complete orientation, new hires understand the struggles and needs of their customers. New hires are also introduced to USAA’s strategic priorities and core values.

Training and career development. Companies with great company cultures emphasize training and career development. Believing that everyone should have the opportunity to learn and achieve more, USAA offers programs for service, functional and leadership skills training. Leaders typically complete 55 hours of training per year. Managers work with employees to create career goals and an ongoing development plan. This may include additional learning within the department, outside coursework and rotations across different areas.

Diversity is built into the business. USAA believes that just as diversifying a financial portfolio makes it stronger, promoting a corporate culture of diversity and inclusion makes a company stronger. Diversity isn’t about hiring people of different backgrounds to do exactly the same work, nor is it just about race and gender. At USAA, diversity is defined as the collective strength of unique characteristics, experiences, skills, backgrounds, perspectives and cultures.
Diversity, to USAA, is a competitive advantage, leading to innovation, business growth and improved performance.

The culture is connected to business strategy. A great culture is not just about perks and benefits. At USAA, the combination of mission, diversity, and customer focus adds up to innovation and business success. The perks are there, too, but they’re icing on the cake. Employee amenities like a café and bistro, a wellness hub, and a relaxation zone enhance the employee experience.

Consistent employer and corporate brand. From the moment employees become part of the USAA family, they are immersed in a culture that profoundly embraces the service and sacrifices made by those whom the organization serves – the men and women of the U.S. military and their families. USAA’s legendary brand is consistent throughout the employee and the member experience.

So what are you waiting for? Who wouldn’t want to work at a company like this? Take a look at USAA’s open career opportunities and apply today!

About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.