American Express’ employees take pride in the globally respected service brand
Named the Best Employer in Hong Kong by Aon Hewitt for the sixth consecutive time, American Express embraces its core values of holistic employee development, work-life balance and workplace diversity.
For more than 160 years, American Express has placed its customers at the heart of its business. “Whatever we do, we keep our customers at the top of our minds, whether in communications, management or operations,” says Grace Chan, Director, Head of Marketing, Proprietary Card Services, Hong Kong.
At the heart of American Express’ mission is premium customer experience and the brand aims to achieve this through comprehensive employee development and workplace diversity programmes. It instills a ‘growth mindset’ among its employees by diversifying their experience and encouraging them to take on projects outside their comfort zones, Chan adds.
American Express’ career development support for staff motivates them effectively. Senior Lifestyle Executive, Trevor Chung, believes he owes his career advancement to the optimised workplace and opportunities offered by the company. “Working for American Express is challenging and never boring. Every day I learn something new,” he notes, adding that his colleagues enjoy a friendly, mutually supportive atmosphere. “My team works as a collective whole. Whenever one of us needs help, we just shout out and get responses right away.”
Joined American Express in 2011 as Lifestyle Executive upon his return from Canada, Chung was promoted to Senior Lifestyle Executive and took on a team leader role in 2014. “I make executive decisions now. This motivates me to learn more.”
Throughout his career at the company, Chung has received holistic knowledge and skill enhancement trainings through different activities, including overseas trips for experience enrichment. “I received an award which won me a trip to Dublin, Ireland earlier this year. During the trip I was able to meet and mingle with my fellow teammates from around the world, build connections and get engaged with senior leaders,” he recalls. “I built network with overseas teammates whom I can contact directly when I need something from overseas.”
From a broader corporate perspective, Chan shares the company puts enormous resources in driving workplace diversity, work-life balance and promoting employees’ career opportunities for growth. Women employees are a focus of the brand’s work-life balance and diversity drive. In Hong Kong, 66 per cent of American Express employees are female, as well as about 60 per cent of managers. The company also celebrates the 10th anniversary of its “Women’s Interest Network” (WIN) this year. “Many WIN events are organised for employees to learn about growth opportunities. They get career tips from the most senior leaders within and outside the company,” says Chan, who is the co-chair of WIN.
American Express runs many initiatives designed to incorporate work-life balance at every stage of an employee’s career, Chan says. For instance, the extended maternity leave programme and breastfeeding facilities are two caring initiatives for new moms. Parents can work flexibly to accumulate time-off to help with the kids’ exams, or to spend time with them during summer holiday. With an employee-centric management focus, American Express has also been named the Best Employer for Commitment to Engagement by Aon Hewitt this year.
The company also promotes cross-function development opportunities for all employees, Chan. “In my 12 years with the company, I have had six roles in New York City and Hong Kong, from consulting in New York, to procurement and now in marketing. We aim to diversify employees’ experiences based on business needs and their own career aspirations and development needs. This motivates employees as they constantly stay afresh and learn new things.”
Holistic career development, optimized workplace diversity and work-life balance are among the reasons why American Express has been recognized as “Best Employer” year after year. “Our employees are proud of the American Express’ brand,” Chan says.