ASRS honored with Performance Excellence Awards

The Arizona State Retirement System recently received two awards from the Southwest Alliance for Excellence for two online projects designed to assist members.

The ASRS was one of five organizations honored through the Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE) 2014 Performance Excellence Program. The Southwest Alliance for Excellence, formerly the Arizona Quality Alliance, recognizes organizations for excellence in quality, performance and outcomes through a program modeled after the Malcom Baldridge Award. The SWAE multi-tiered process “assists organizations in Arizona, Nevada and Utah along their path to achieving performance excellence, which means being role models in customer and employee satisfaction, sound management, innovation and results,” the organization noted in its announcement of the awards.

The ASRS received Showcase in Excellence Awards for two major projects:

Online Member Statements. This project involved discontinuing the mailing of more than 400,000 individual member statements in favor of greatly enhanced online statements. Now, members have real-time data related to their ASRS account and retirement benefits. Moving to online statements and annual birthday email cards to members encouraging them to check their statement online has produced more than $200,000 in annual savings while maintaining overall member satisfaction.

Online Refund Process. This project involved creating an online application for members to use to apply for a refund of their contributions. The user-friendly application takes members step-by-step through the refund application, replacing a previous paper version that was sometimes difficult to navigate and prone to errors. The online application is faster, more accurate and requires substantially less staff processing and has proven popular with members.

“We are honored to have received two Showcase in Excellence Awards from the Southwest Alliance for Excellence,” ASRS Director Paul Matson said. “The criteria outlined in the SWAE application process confirmed that the Arizona State Retirement System’s commitment to continuous improvement is aligned with best practices as demonstrated through the implementation of our new processes. Such recognition is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of our staff and empowered by support from our Board of Trustees.

“We continually look for cost-effective ways to better serve our members and these two projects are a testament to that.”

The awards will be presented on January 27, 2015.


The Arizona State Retirement System is a state agency that administers a pension plan, long term disability plan, retiree health insurance plans and other benefits to qualified government workers. Members of the ASRS include state and county employees, the three state universities, community college districts, school districts and charter schools. Visit AzASRS.gov.

Southwest Alliance for Excellence (SWAE), formerly Arizona Quality Alliance, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that advances improvement and excellence in organizations, communities and individuals throughout Arizona, Nevada and Utah. SWAE is administered by a professional staff under the leadership and guidance of its members and elected Board of Directors. We are also a member of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, a national network of state programs that advance improvement in organizations by using the Baldrige Criteria. Visit SWAE.org.

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