American Express Malaysia on building a culture of transparency and trust through colleague experience

January 13, 2021 - 08:07
American Express Malaysia on building a culture of transparency and trust through colleague experience

KUALA LUMPUR,MALAYSIA - Media OutReach - 13 January 2021 - In a new normal that is constantlychanging and transforming, people are at the heart of an organization'scontinuity and success more than ever before. Events of the past year haveshown how critical engaging employee experiences are in driving performance asorganizations dug deep to draw strength, inspiration and ideas. 


Helping organizations toput their people at the center of performance is Kincentric, a Spencer Stuartcompany with a unique approach to human capital. With decades of expertise inculture and engagement, leadership assessment and development, and HR and talentadvisory services, Kincentric helps organizations to be the best in thebusiness through the Kincentric BestEmployers program.


Kincentric Best Employersis a leading employer benchmarking program which measures and recognizesextraordinary employers who demonstrate workplace excellence. For 20 years, theKincentric Best Employers program has recognized leading employers across theworld who are committed to realizing great workplace experiences with theKincentric Best Employers certification, backed by over 50 years of employeeresearch and a global database of over 15 million employees. Selected by anindependent panel of judges, these organizations are leading the way in aspectsthat are crucial for success -- employee engagement, agility, engagingleadership and talent focus.  


This year, fiveorganizations were awarded the Kincentric Best Employers in Malaysia, selectedby a 3-person judging panel composed of industry-leading HR professionals.


Reflecting on KincentricBest Employers in Malaysia 2020, judge Dato' Tharuma Rajah who is also founderand CEO of Garage Analytics commented how "the recent pandemic has proven withempirical evidence that employee engagement is critical during tough times. The'X' factor is senior leadership and people managers who create the motivationalenergy that compels employees to action even when they are working remotely. Wehave seen how various companies have done engagement practices in a veryinnovative and creative manner which had a positive impact on their businessresults."  


Standing 'head andshoulders' above the rest in this year's program is Kincentric Best of the BestEmployer in Malaysia 2020, American Express Malaysia. The global services companywas also inducted into Kincentric Best Employers in Malaysia Hall of Fame, afterwinning the Best Employer in Malaysia for the 10th consecutive year.


"We first joinedKincentric Best Employers program in 2005 as we were interested in the programstructure and learnings it could offer. Through the years, this program has notonly helped us gain valuable insight into how colleagues feel about our peoplepractices, it has also helped us acquire external perspective through knowledgesharing and best practices. Being included in Kincentric Best Employers inMalaysia Hall of Fame is an incredible validation of our relationship with ourcolleagues," said Ryan Lai, Vice President and General Manager of AmericanExpress Malaysia.


American Express wonKincentric Best of the Best Employer in Malaysia 2020 by delivering anexceptional people-centric experience through three key areas -- trust, opencommunication and top team alignment.


Lai says, "Our first focusand priority was ensuring our colleagues felt safe and had the flexibility andresources they needed at home to continue delivering world class services toour customers."


"When we moved to work from homearrangements, we introduced an initiative called business leave, to allowcolleagues to take paid time off without having to use their annual leave when theyhad valid reasons at home that prevented time from being able to work, such asneeding to care for their children or parents' needs until end of 2020. Forcolleagues who had their work or job scope impacted by the pandemic, wereallocated them to other business areas to keep them motivated, engaged and investedin delivering their best," said Anjum Ghaffar, Director Human Resources, MarketHead Malaysia.


Recognizing theimportance of a health and wellness culture from the start of the pandemic,American Express Malaysia embarked on three key initiatives beginning with thelaunch of a telehealth service called CareClixfor colleagues and their immediate family members. Available 24 hours a day, 7days a week for free, colleagues and their loved ones could consult doctors andaccess expert medical care via phone, video chat or a mobile app from thecomfort of their homes.


The company also provideda one-year complimentary subscription for Calm,a mental fitness app that provides motivational podcasts, stories and soothingmusic designed to help manage stress, experience better sleep and reduceanxiety. The app completed other dedicated wellbeing activities such as mentalwellbeing sessions, virtual meditation and virtual yoga. Helping to alleviatemedical concerns, colleagues and their enrolled dependents were also providedwith enhanced Covid-19 medical coverage covering testing, hospitalization anddeath benefits at no additional cost to them.  


With a young workforcecomposed of mostly millennials, American Express also found many of them faceddifficulties especially during the lockdown and with transition to working fromhome. Having never experienced a crisis in their professional life, inherentstresses and anxiety from being isolated had a greater impact on youngercolleagues.


"We recognized that weneeded to support each other, so we quickly mobilized ourselves into action.Communication was a key part of our support and wellbeing strategy, and we knewwe had to do so not only frequently but meaningfully," explained Lai.


Despite having achievedso much the past 10 years, American Express is not resting on its laurels. Thecompany expects a hybrid working model will be the next big change for employeeengagement and is already looking at how to better connect colleagues withcorporate culture in a virtual world.


Lai concludes, "We arebeyond honored to be recognized as the 'Best of the Best' by Kincentric BestEmployers 2020, particularly in a year of unpredicted changes that tested ourability to adapt and brave new ways of working together. As a company thatbelieves in the powerful backing of our people for progress, we believe thatthis success is a true testament of the positive work culture and a holisticemployee experience that we continuously strive to build upon. We dedicate thiswin to all Amex colleagues in Malaysia -- which motivates us to continuebuilding a great, diverse place to work and thrive in with opportunities tolearn and grow both professionally and personally. I truly believe that when westrive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."