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Above and Beyond
There's alot of talk about hiring veterans these days. These companies are actually doing it.
By Dan Fazio

There has been a lot of chatter lately about hiring America’s returning veterans.above-and-beyond-mf13-292x219

From the White House to Congress to corporate America, there’s a groundswell of support for putting the nation’s post-9/11 warriors to work. The federal government offered tax credits to employers who hired recent veterans in 2012. The White House challenged corporate America to hire 100,000 veterans by the end of 2013.

JPMorgan Chase and a coalition of U.S. companies launched the 100,000 Jobs Mission to collectively hire 100,000 transitioning service members and veterans by 2020. Dozens of companies have joined the mission.

There are a few companies, however, that were hiring veterans long before it became popular. These pioneers realized that veterans make outstanding employees because of their military training and experience. USAA is one of them. A financial services company founded in 1922 by a group of Army officers who couldn’t get their automobiles insured, USAA was one of the original 10 companies honored by

G.I. Jobs in 2003, the year we first published the Military Friendly Employers list. The company has been named to the list every year since then, and has ranked in the top 10 all 10 years – even as the list grew from 10 to 100 employers. This year, USAA reached No. 1.

“It’s a great honor, not just for me as a CEO – because I just work here – but what it means to me is that all of our employees have pulled together to make this a good place for veterans to come and work,” said Joe Robles, a retired Army general who took over as president and CEO in 2007. “And we do as much as we possibly can to encourage veterans to come here, to try our workforce and become part of our workforce and then to stay here for the long-term. And I think it shows our long-term sustained commitment to our veterans.”

‘We Know What It Means to Serve’

Robles set an aggressive goal for hiring veterans and military spouses when he took over in 2007. Since member-owned USAA serves the military community almost exclusively, it makes sense to employ veterans and military spouses.

“If we in fact have a signature that says, ‘We know what it means to serve,’ I wanted to make sure we truly did know what it means to serve, with enough density in the workforce to be able to carry that out,” Robles said. 

Military Friendly Sweep

Over the years USAA has built an impressive menu of military programs, services and policies, which also earned it the No. 1 spot on Military Spouse magazine’s 2013 Top 25 Military Friendly Spouse Employers list. (See page 160.)

“USAA has long recognized the business value of recruiting veterans and military spouse employees,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “USAA pioneered best practices for on-boarding and retaining both veterans and spouses, which is why it’s the first company to earn the top spot on both lists in the same year. Congratulations to USAA for two very well-deserved honors!” 

Combat to Claims

USAA is not content to rest on its proverbial laurels. The company recently launched several new military programs, including an all-veteran class of new employees that already is earning rave reviews from USAA’s leaders, Robles said. USAA also started an initiative called Combat to Claims, which trains young, post-9/11 veterans to be claims adjustors. “And the reason that is working so well is because military folks have such a sense of discipline and order, and they deal with many of the things and many of the skills that claims people do every day. They did it when they were in uniform, and it has proven to be successful beyond our dreams,” Robles said.

Team Effort

The company also offers mentoring programs for new military hires, a wounded warrior recruiting program and an internal social media community for military employees.

“I’m not bragging, but it’s just natural that this organization gets recognized for all it does for its veterans and military families,” Robles said. “We do so much more than the average company, and we do it willingly and we do it with love in every step, because we truly care about the military and the sacrifices they make while they serve this nation.”

Top 2%

USAA’s success is emblematic of the 2013 class of Military Friendly Employers. Besides USAA, three other companies have been named to the list all 10 years since G.I. Jobs began measuring corporate America’s effort to hire veterans: Brink’s USA, General Electric and The Home Depot. Other employers are new to the list this year. Regardless of how many times a company has appeared on the list, being named a Top 100 Military Friendly Employer® puts an organization in the top 2 percent of the nearly 5,000 eligible companies – those that earn at least $500 million in annual revenues. 

How Employers Make the List

Each year our survey generates tremendous response from employers competing for the Military Friendly designation. Each employer survey is screened through methodology set by our advisory board of experts. In addition to the numerical weightings assigned for each survey question, the quantitative (numerical) survey data for each company is banded by industry. The industry bands ensure that companies are competing with their peer group. The companies are then ranked on their overall numerical survey score, with the top 100 for each year being awarded the prestigious Top 100 Military Friendly Employers® designation. 

Happy Holidays!

The companies that appear on the following pages are the best of the best. These elite employers have proven they are doing the most to embrace America’s returning veterans. We did the research for you. It’s our annual holiday gift to you. Use this list to map your civilian career path and GET HIRED. 

USAA at a Glance

USAA’s military programs include:

  • Wounded Warrior Outreach
  • Military Talent Management Team
  • Combat to Claims (recruiting program for post-9/11 veterans)
  • Junior Military Officer Career Development Program
  • Military Affinity Partnerships
  • Service Academy Career Conference Support
  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve awards
  • VETNET (internal network for military employees)

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