Total Rewards Asia Summit 2024 Singapore
Winning Secrets: AMEX’s longstanding commitment to building an inclusive culture that values every voice

Winning Secrets: AMEX’s longstanding commitment to building an inclusive culture that values every voice

American Express International Inc took home the bronze award for 'Excellence in Women Empowerment Strategy' at the HR Excellence Awards 2021, Singapore.

American Express Women’s Interest Network's staff writer, tells us about the three strategic pillars that help to provide a great colleague experience every day at American Express.

Q What is your organisation’s winning HR strategy, and what are some milestones you’ve accomplished along this journey?

At American Express (AMEX), we have a longstanding commitment to building an inclusive culture that values every voice, rewards teamwork, celebrates different points of view, and reflects the diversity of the communities in which we live and work. Our vision is to provide a great colleague experience every day, and we have three strategic pillars to guide us:

  • Deliver a great colleague experience,
  • Grow the best talent, and
  • Develop new ways of working to unlock enterprise value.

Additionally, AMEX’s 14 'Colleague Networks' work closely with our 'Colleague Experience Group (CEG)' (previously known as HR) to provide opportunities to support personal and professional development, skill building, and career growth for all colleagues. Our Singapore Women’s Interest Network (WIN) brings together colleagues from different business units to seek career development & education, support, and mentoring. We actively work to ensure our women colleagues have the tools, resources and sponsorship needed to succeed.

We have achieved 100% pay equity globally, provide best-in-class programmes and benefits that support flexibility and wellbeing at every stage of their career and life including physical, mental, and financial wellbeing, and provide customised learning opportunities to support women’s skills development and progression into leadership roles.

Q How has this strategy helped you achieve your HR priorities, and what role has the leadership played in helping make this initiative a reality?

We make it a point to actively listen to our colleagues – to hear their questions and feedback during town halls and events, and through our annual Colleague Experience Survey. This enables us to have open dialogues around various issues that affect our colleagues’ lives, and to keep our finger on the pulse of what matters most to our people.

Q Unexpected roadblocks are part and parcel of executing any initiative. What were some of the barriers that you and your team experienced while rolling this out, and how did you successfully get past them?

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we pivoted quickly to provide the flexibility, resources, and support colleagues needed to stay safe, healthy, and productive. We introduced a range of offerings delivered virtually, including personal counselling, wellness coaching, meditation classes, and exercise programs to help colleagues cope with the unprecedented challenges and stress brought about by the pandemic.

Some of our key highlights have been our International Women’s Day celebrations. In 2021, 8,000+ colleagues united virtually across the globe to actively engage in a dialogue on ambition on International Women’s Day. Locally, WIN hosted a regional webinar on “Allyship”. We also ran internal workshops and we continued to run our WIN Mentoring Programme, supporting colleagues to develop both professionally and personally.

Q As evidenced by the win, this initiative clearly delivered some amazing results. What was your gameplan for measuring ROI? What are some proud achievements you can share with us on this front?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is an ongoing business priority and is reinforced in the 'American Express Blue Box Values' and 'Leadership Behaviours'.

Our company scorecard, which is used to measure our performance and progress on our business priorities, also lays out a comprehensive set of overall talent metrics, which includes progress on our DE&I initiatives. We set our scorecard metrics annually and review our progress against them regularly to hold ourselves accountable.

As mentioned earlier, we remain committed to maintaining 100% global pay equity. Our goal is to enable women to build stronger and more meaningful relationships across the company, in turn driving sponsorship, retention, and progression into leadership roles.

Presently, 52% of our global workforce and 37% of our Executive Committee are women.

Photo / Provided by American Express International Inc

Read more interviews on why organisations have won trophies for their HR practices - head over to our Winning Secrets' section

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