At San Antonio-based financial services company USAA, several departments that had operated independently were merged to create a Chief Risk Office (CRO), centralizing Risk Management across the company. The successful transformation that unified these independent areas was so impressive that it led to USAA taking first place in the “Employee Engagement” category of Ragan’s 2016 Employee Communications Awards.
The new organization needed to find the right balance between meeting regulatory expectations and creating a compelling vision for the future. USAA uses the Gallup survey to measure employee engagement levels and this was a key tool in the success story. Management invited employees to contribute their time and ideas to bring the vision to life, with nearly 65 percent of CRO employees stepping up to participate. These employees took assignments on teams that overhauled many of the employee related pieces of the department, including training, development program and recognition as well as putting new technologies in place to open communication, and involving employees in the process of formulating the vision for their future.
Information sharing was elevated through a new intranet platform and more face-to-face interactions between teams. Employees also staffed a CRO booth at internal expos to educate their colleagues about the vision and how CRO operate within the company. With the vision always top-of-mind, employees remained focused. United behind a common purpose, employees became the best advocates for the CRO Vision and with employees driving solutions to create the “CRO of the future,” they literally engaged themselves.
USAA’s formal engagement feedback channels have recorded steadily increasing engagement among employees, with the Gallup survey showing a 45 percent increase in actively engaged employees. Congratulations to the leadership and employees of USAA’s Chief Risk Office for this accomplishment.