San Antonio, TX
Number of Employees
Finance and Insurance
Providing Tools for Personal Balance at USAA
“As the nation’s largest provider of financial, banking and insurance services to military families, USAA has always been recognized as an organization that provides exemplary customer service,” explains Jim Moon, senior analyst, Work Life at USAA. “The Personal Balance Tool was developed to provide our diverse and dispersed employees with that same level of service internally. The Personal Balance Tool provides them with information about the myriad life-changing events that we all face – from the birth of a child to the care of a parent - but also connects them to educational and professional resources, as well as company benefits that can help them manage that change."
The goal of the Personal Balance Tool program was to increase the awareness of benefits available to all employees and to increase the awareness of financial tools available to employees as USAA members. In addition, the team endeavored to empower employees to problem solve on their own and to promote improvements in employee/manager communications.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
EAP services are provided by Value Options. Employees can access 5 EAP counseling sessions for mental health issues at no cost (this includes all employees and family members, not just health plan members). Assistance is offered telephonically and/or face-to-face. To reinforce this program, the use of the Personal Balance Tool and Work Life Referral resources help employees address immediate needs and when needed, to easily transition to the use of the EAP program when they have difficulty coping with day-to-day challenges.
Assessment and treatment for mental health issues can be accessed through free EAP counseling sessions (available for all employees and family members). Additional behavioral health treatment is also provided as part of the health plan. Each health plan member also has access to USAA’s preventable care programs each year to encourage early identification and treatment of conditions. Participation in the free annual health risk assessments and on-site screenings also encourage employees to understand what their part is in considering health behaviors.
In 2005, Jim Moon, Senior Analyst in charge of USAA’s WorkLife program, worked with third party vendor, Harris Rothenberg International, to develop an assessment tool and communication process to help employees identify upcoming life events that might require some planning or adjustment at home or at work and trends in difficulties in managing life stressors. Examples include such events as retirement, adding a family member, or attending college. Information and support is available on USAA’s internal website and through such resources as wellness programs, health benefits, child development, elder care, or psychological assistance available through USAA’s employee assistance program (EAP). The tool, called “Personal Balance” is highlighted during benefit enrollment fairs and at other times during the year to help employees become familiar with the resources and benefits available to help them cope with life changes and to plan proactively for those events.
The company offers a financial wellness program through Price Waterhouse Cooper, including seminars on debt management. Employees can also take part in USAA’s own investment tools for banking, investing, financial planning, life insurance, and property/casualty insurance. Having representatives from WorkLife and these other resources available at benefits enrollment helps reassure employees of confidentiality of personal information and reduces barriers to future use of services.
The self-assessment is brief, with just 10 questions, and takes only about 5 minutes to complete. Depending on individual responses, a set of suggestions and resources are generated for a holistic and integrated approach to the problem areas identified by the participant. The employee is then given guidance for developing a personal action plan. Harris Rothenberg International provides an aggregated summary compiling information about the timing of typical stressors and trends in major life events. The information helps the WorkLife manager identify teachable moments and develop educational programs around themes of common need, such as storm protection, tax advice, and starting school in the fall. Through repeated employee use of this assessment tool, data is also generated on the strategies and resources that employees report they are using to help them address particular problems or challenges and whether or not the strategies are helpful.
Major personal life events tend to affect workplace processes as well. The “Personal Balance” tool has increasingly been used as a tool for facilitating manager-employee interaction around sensitive topics. The tool helps managers to bridge tendencies to avoid important discussions, keeps employees solution-focused, and gives both parties resources for addressing WorkLife problem areas.
Since implementation in 2006, 15,000 of USAA’s 22,000 employees have used the Personal Balance Tool. Over a three-year period, use of their employee assistance program (EAP) and of USAA financial tools (banking, investing, financial planning, life and property/casualty insurance) have doubled.
Business Week Ranked #1 in list of "Customer Service Champs" (2007-2008)
Forrester Research USAA received the highest score for customer satisfaction on the Internet and scored 15% above the industry average (the highest industry spread in the study) for phone interactions. (2008)
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve 2005 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award
GI Jobs Top 50 Military-Friendly Employers (2003-2007)
Latina Style 50 Best Employers for Hispanic Women (2001-2007)
To assess the success of the program, USAA has been able to determine the level of use of the EAP program, number of hits and use of the Personal Balance Tool, access and requests for assistance through Work Life Referral, and use of USAA financial tools.
USAA, a diversified financial services company, is the leading provider of competitively priced financial planning, insurance, investments and banking products to members of the U.S. military and their families. Members also get free financial advice.
USAA is a member-owned association with 6.4 million members, including military officers, enlisted personnel, former military, and their families. Approximately 93% of active duty military officers and 45% of active duty non-commissioned officers are USAA members. USAA employees are paid on salary, so they can focus on providing the products and services that members need.
Last Updated: March 2009