American Express, Commended 2013, The Best for Engagement Award

Sector: Finance
Location: UK
Employees: 6,200

American Express drives employee engagement through its stated desire to develop a flexible, diverse and inclusive working culture. To ensure that this goal is reflected throughout the whole organisation the financial services company embeds flexibility, diversity and inclusivity in its strategies and policies.

Employee engagement is measured annually through America Express’ Pulse survey. In 2012 results showed engagement at 73%, loyalty at 78% and 79% said they would recommend their leader (up by 3% from 2011 for both Engagement and Recommend your Leader, Loyalty remaining at the same level). In addition, every manager who directly manages 10 or more employees receives a report which encourages them to identify strengths and opportunities to improve engagement and loyalty.

There are four working styles that American Express has called Hub, Club, Roam and Home. Hub employees work at a designated desk, whilst Club employees have no designated work space and tend to hot desk and work from home at least once a week. Roam employees typically work over a variety of locations and from different offices, and Home employees work mostly from home. American Express is able to measure engagement scores by working style –  in 2012 Club and Home employees had the best engagement scores – and this helps them understand what contributes to drive engagement, and plan accordingly.

Parents and carers are well supported by the company, which also encourages employee engagement. There is an active and growing parents and carers network which helps to promote and raise awareness amongst employees about the numerous flexible working opportunities and family benefits that are available. These include: health cover, childcare vouchers and the opportunity to buy more annual leave to name just a few.

To support working parents and carers in a more formal way, American Express launched a Back-up Care Advantage Programme in partnership with Bright Horizons in December 2012. This represents a  significant investment and  enhancement to its Work-life programme; it is subsidised by the company and helps employees manage the unexpected challenges that life can present by offering 24/7 access to a care consultant who can co-ordinate up to 15 days alternative care arrangement per employee per year.

Three months after the launch, 266 employees had registered for the programme and 41 work days were saved as a direct result of back-up care being organised for child and adult care. Initial findings show the highest usage is amongst executives (47%) with an even split for the remainder of usage between middle managers and operational employees. 80% of the requests to date have been for childcare.

Commenting on American Express’ approach to employee engagement Julie Pope, VP Human Resources said, “We take great pride in fostering a working environment that encourages different backgrounds, talents and perspectives to thrive.  Our range of family-friendly, Flexible Benefits, Parent and Carers Employee Network and our flexible working styles are just some of the ways we support our working parents and drive employee engagement.  At American Express we believe that engaged and motivated employees will deliver superior service to our customers, which supports our vision to be the world’s most respected service brand.”