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Why American Express is obsessed with understanding the colleague experience at a deeper level
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Why American Express is obsessed with understanding the colleague experience at a deeper level


This article is brought to you by American Express

Believing in “the best way to back our customers is to back our people”, the payment service provider wants to co-create simple and great ways of working.

As a globally integrated payments company, American Express’ mission is to provide customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Providing the best backing to customers, the company believes, is all about backing its employees, who it calls “colleagues”.

American Express’ HR strategy is based on three pillars – “deliver a great colleague experience, grow the best talent, and develop new ways of working to unlock enterprise value”. Tying these together is American Express’ commitment to deliver a great colleague experience every day which has enabled it to execute successful Colleague Wellness and Rewards & Recognition programme.

Recognising that colleagues were less visible to leaders and stakeholders whilst working at home during the pandemic, American Express developed a holistic reward and recognition strategy to ensure colleagues’ contributions and achievements are recognised and valued.

Through its ‘Reward Blue’ tool, colleagues can celebrate each other’s great work and success in a dedicated ‘Colleague Appreciation Month’ with ‘Blue Awards’, which is a monetary award, and e-cards. When colleagues achieve a milestone anniversary every five years of service they receive a ‘Fan Mail’ to acknowledge their contributions.

The pandemic has proved how work can be done effectively in a virtual manner. But American Express believes that colleagues spending a portion of their time together in the office is important to preserving its special in-person culture. To build on efficiency and agility gained from working virtually, the company introduces a new way of working named ‘Amex Flex’ to provide greater flexibility for its colleagues to enjoy the best of both worlds. The majority of colleagues now work on a hybrid model which allows them to recapture the creativity, connections, collaboration, and relationship building of working together in person, while having the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives.

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Beyond flexibility, ensuring colleagues’ wellbeing was also key to supporting them to deliver their best work under the new hybrid working model. American Express expands its extensive health benefits to provide holistic wellbeing programmes to support colleagues. This includes thoughtful additions such as, family care leave, vaccination leave, and COVID leave. New resources are also put in place such as onsite medical facilities, 24/7 mental health counseling and a telemedicine service ‘CareClix’, virtual yoga and meditation classes, and engagement activities like steps challenge.

For a diverse community like American Express which has over 60,000 colleagues worldwide, promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) is strategically imperative. This is fully reflected in the formation of an “office of enterprise inclusion, diversity and business engagement”, which focuses on ensuring that the company backs its customers as well as its colleagues. The company embraces and celebrates D&I, ensuring that colleagues can be their authentic selves and develop a true sense of belonging at work. Initiatives include diverse customer offerings, inclusive leadership and unconscious bias trainings for colleagues and achieving 100% pay parity for gender globally.

The effectiveness of all these initiatives has been proven through outstanding year on year engagement and wellbeing scores.

Looking forward, American Express will continue to innovate and evolve its colleagues offerings to remain a great place to work and an employer of choice. Its promise to colleagues: “You lead the way, we’ve got your back.”

Photos / American Express

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