Best Places to Work: USAA (United Services Automobile Association)

by CoVaBizMag

By Barrett Baker

520 Independence Pkwy., Chesapeake | 800-531-USAA (8722) |
Founded: 1922
Number of Employees: 600 locally; 33,000 worldwide

Founded in 1922, the USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and expert advice to more than 12 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee wellbeing and financial strength.

“USAA was created to fulfill the financial needs of military members and their families,” says Ray LaSalle, assistant vice president, claims service. “We’re coming up on our 100th birthday in 2022. We started in 1922 as a group of Army officers that wanted to insure each other because they weren’t able to do that back then. So, they pulled their money together, and they took care of each other.”

Even though USAA’s mission is to take care of military members and their families, you do not need to have a military background to work there. “About 30 percent of our employees here are military affiliated—either from prior service or military spouses, which is a critical job,” says LaSalle. “That means 70 percent of our team members have no affiliation with the military at all. But what we do is, through our focus and our mission, we’ll get our employees that don’t have prior service into the culture so they’ll understand what it means to serve, even though they may have not worn the uniform themselves.”

In order to keep employees focused and happy, LaSalle is adamant about making sure they feel important to their roles within the company. “I don’t think there is any substitution for really getting to know your employees. We don’t just sit behind our desks. The way we connect with our employees goes much deeper than that. We get to know them. And by getting to know them we learn what is important to them, when they are having a good day, when they are having a bad day. We get to learn about their families. I think when you do that, it builds a vibrant and strong relationship, and it helps instill our company culture so we’re all striving to reach a common goal.”

This is the third year in a row USAA has been included in our Best Places to Work feature. “And we’ll go after it next year and the year after,” says LaSalle. “We’re really proud of the honor because we really want to be the employer of choice in Hampton Roads.”

USAA employees

USAA employee giving blood

USAA employees volunteering

USAA placing wreaths

Work Perks:

Comprehensive Benefits:

  • Medical, dental, vision, life insurance
  • 401(k) with 8 percent employee match
  • Short- and long-term disability benefits
  • 12 weeks paid parental leave for new parents (birth or adoption)
  • Generous paid time off
  • Flex hours
  • Company holidays
  • Paid volunteer hours
  • Tuition assistance
  • Healthy Points program
  • Online Employee Mall

Onsite Services:

  • Relax and Energize Zones
  • Nursing mothers’ rooms
  • Onsite market with 50 percent discount on healthy food items
  • Free fitness center with offsite gym membership reimbursement
  • Onsite ATM for employees
  • Health risk assessment

Why I Love My Job:

“We have an ‘Energy Zone’ on campus where employees can go to have fun! USAA provides ping pong tables, shuffleboard, foosball, elliptical machines and a variety of computer-based games for our workforce to enjoy. We also offer the option of the ‘Relaxation Zone’ where employees can go for quiet time to study, reflect, take a nap or just relax. Our free fitness center is open 24/7 for our staff. Our campus also offers onsite blood drives, free flu shots, free CPR classes for employees and we bring in specialty food trucks every other Friday to enhance the employee experience.” —Aubrey Thomas, Site Director

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