USAA nabs No. 17 spot on Fortune list

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USAA has grabbed the No. 17 spot in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” edition.

That’s quite a jump from the No. 45 spot it held last year.

San-Antonio based USAA, which is a financial products and services company, also has offices in Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Tampa, Fla., and Norfolk, Va.

Fortune’s ranking is based on a detailed culture audit of company policies, practices and programs.

“There is a direct correlation between great customer service and a great working environment; if you care about your employees, your employees will take good care of your customers,” said USAA CEO Joe Robles.

FORTUNE partnered with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct extensive employee surveys. Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the results of this survey,  which includes questions regarding employees’ attitudes about management’s credibility, their own job satisfaction, and camaraderie in the work place. And one-third of a company’s score is based on its responses to the institute’s Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions hiring, communication, culture and benefits programs.

USAA has recently ranked No. 1 on Computerworld magazine’s 2010 “Best Places to Work in IT”; No. 1 on Military Spouse magazine’s list of military spouse-friendly employers, and for the past four years, No. 2 on BusinessWeek magazine’s “Customer Service Champs.”

USAA has nearly 7 million members nationwide, and has about 1,200 employees in the Springs, where it opened an office in 1974.