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American Express, Finalist 2012, The Lexington Gray Best for Flexible Working Award

American Express employs over 6000 employees in the UK. They have committed, at a strategic level, to create a diverse and flexible culture.  This strategy is driven by the UK Diversity Council, which is chaired by the UK Country Manager and made up of senior leaders from all American Express businesses throughout the UK.  American Express seeks to leverage this focus to build employee satisfaction, engagement and wellbeing through a flexible culture.

Included in the ‘Flexibility’ priorities driven by this group, American Express has launched  “BlueWork” – a brand-led campaign within the company, where the brand is the way that working at American Express can be done. BlueWork is a global programme led by Global Real Estate and Workplace Enablement in partnership with Technology and Human Resources to maximize American Express’ agility and productivity, while minimizing our expense base. It is aimed at creating a vibrant and energizing workspace that will provide flexibility and greater choice over how and where work gets done, as well as having a number of cost saving and productivity benefits for the business.

Working in a company with a global presence, employees often work across time zones and locations so flexibility is paramount: the how and where of work is less important that the performance and results. American Express is well aware that flexibility often leads to enhanced productivity through the loyalty that employees feel as a result of being aided in managing their work and life priorities.

Identifying the leader as a key enabler of flexibility, American Express has secured senior buy-in and high profile input into the development of their flexible work brand. They have developed training for managers and leaders to maintain support and encouragement through their leadership.

The company has measured the success of its program across a number of indicators, through its staff survey and other methods. The results are showing an increased productivity and engagement, lower staff turnover and absenteeism. Moreover savings have been made through real estate optimization and wellbeing has increased as the flexibility to find a good balance has been developed.