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American Express -

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Lauren Case

on 9 May 2014

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Transcript of American Express -

AmEx New Vision
1990s - 2000s
Roots as Freight
Delivery Company
Financial Services Industry
World War I
The Blue Work Program
American Express has found that when employees have the support to create a
work style that best meets their needs,
they are:
More engaged while working
Committed to the company
Able to drive results

The BlueWork Program
Employee Motivation
American Express uses flexible work arrangements that allows employees to create their own schedule to increase job efficiency.
Measuring Job Satisfaction
Employee Motivation
American Express -
2014 Best Place to Work

By Lauren Case, Nicole Dunn, Evan Porter and Richard Olson
Reliable deliveries of goods, especially for several banks
Watchdog to symbolize values of Trust, Security, Vigilance, Service
Noted for quick and reliable deliveries, became preferred shipper

Started as money order business
Created first traveler's cheque in 1891
Within ten years had annual cheque sales of $6 million
Established relationships with European banks for customer convenience in accepting cheques
Cashed cheques and money orders to 150,000 stranded American tourists
Appointed official agent for British government to deliver relief parcels, letters, etc. to British prisoners throughout Europe
Eventually delivering 150 tons of packages a day

Financial Services Industry (cont.)
Opened first European branch, Paris, in 1895
First overseas banking began in Rotterdam in 1904
Awarded money exchange contract by U.S. immigration on Ellis Island
Already providing most services except tickets and hotel accommodations
Synonymous with luxury travel
1922 chartered first around the world cruise
Travel remained focus for several decades

Travel Industry
Nearly purchased by Chase National Bank
Depression and passage of Glass-Steagall Act in 1933 forced Chase to divest
Became de facto bank during depression in many foreign countries, even paid against competitor’s products that were worthless
World War II Survival
Many employees that had worked through WWI helped the company prepare for and survive WWII
Offices in invaded countries provided financial services even after embassies had closed
Over one million cards issued by 1963
First gold card issued in 1966
Realized large profits and attempted to consolidate all aspects of credit card business by purchasing supporting companies
Large growth through the mid 1980s

Introduction of Credit Cards
One Subsidiary, Shearson Lehman Bros, made many financial blunders
1987 stock market crash for American Express to repurchase all outstanding Shearson shares to save company

American Express Collapse
1980s -1990s
Loss of credit card market share through 80s and 90s
Public and business revolt against high rates charged by American Express

Partnered with financial and travel companies to enhance brand image
Worked with merchants to improve customer relationship
Lost eleven lives in 9/11 attack and damage was inflicted on building
Never stopped providing financial services
Focused on customer first relationship (and still does)

#26 most valuable brand in the world
Hiring practices and training enhance culture
Connections program reduces attrition
Blended leadership training
BlueWork Program
Always monitors employee to avoid potential issues
Blue Box Values
Healthy Living/ Smart Saving enhance employee satisfaction and security
The History of American Express
Why American Express is Considered a
Best Place to Work
Why American Express Will Continue to
Make the Best Place List
The BlueWork Program has:
Improved worker productivity and innovation
Saved between $10-15 million annually in real estate costs
The Blue
Work Program
A survey that assigns employees to 1 of 4 categories:
employee's work requires a fixed desk and presence in the office everyday
employees have flexible roles that involve in-person and virtual meetings. Have opportunity to share time between the office and other locations.
based from home offices (with assistance from company), work 3 or more days per week.
employees are almost always on the road or at customer sites. Seldom work in company offices.
Conducts a workplace survey every 4-5 months following a BlueWork transformation
Surveys allow American Express to see what worked well and/or where there are challenges for employees & leaders
Questions cover:
Workspace, technology, change, communications, assignments of roles, and support of leadership and satisfaction
Feedback is vital to ensure flexible work policies remain productive and effective
“The ability to work in a flexible workspace is based on the role you have, not the personal preferences. There are hurdles early in the process, but over time you can see changes in behavior.”
- Jose Morabito, VP of Finance
American Express uses a thorough recruitment process to gauge employee personalities and inform them of the company’s values.

Blue Box Program
The recruitment process:
Search and apply online
Resumé review and direct contact
Telephone or face-to-face interview (depending on location and the type of role applying for)
Behavioral or competency based interview guides

Consists of a number of recruitment activities:
Role-play testing
Psychometric testing
These tests are purpose-designed to help fit one’s personality, work expectations, and abilities to a job.

Assessment Centers
The Recruitment Process
Allows one to demonstrate a wide range of skills relevant for the role in which one has applied

The Blue Box Values
These values are listed on American Express's career site and reflects who they are and what they stand for.
Recently American Express implemented
Healthy Living
Smart Saving
for their employee benefits package to increase engagement, awareness, utilization, and results.
Healthy employees are happier, more engaged and profitable
Control long-term healthcare cost trends
Lower overall employee health risk factors
Healthy Living
Talk to people in their homes
Simplified information
Engage employees
Engage employee family members who receive the info.
Share success stories
Use posters, flyers, and TV screens in the workplace
Leverage intranet with webinars and blogs
Guiding Principle
Reaching Employees
Better financial health leads to better physical health and productivity
Increase usage and perceived value of benefits offering
Increase employee engagement and retention
“We are upping the game on the communications side and using a multimedia blitz like Healthy Living. We are embedding a culture of health and the health of your pocketbook.”
- Robert Holdom, VP of HR Global Retirement and Wellness Manager
Using posters, flyers, and tv screens in the workplace
Emphasizing the discounts that employees can get through American express through webinars and blogs
Guiding Principles
Reaching Employees
Smart Saving
American Express “lessons learned” through communications with Healthy Living and Smart Saving:
Targeted messaging works
New look and feel engages employees
Employees want to do the right thing
Use multiple touch points (on-site, email, messaging home, and leadership messages)

Lessons Learned
Provides leadership training
Used surveys and evaluations to enhance/change leadership training
Focuses on developing front line supervisors skills
Review employee's performance
Discuss aspirations
Coach employees to excel
7% increase in customer satisfaction since this has been implemented

Coaching to Extraordinary Customer Care
Train-the-trainer sessions develop these skills
Role-playing exercises
Learn how to create a learning plan
How to give/receive feedback

“Since the training I have been able to develop a tool that helps my team set and track goals and accomplishments. We utilize this tracking tool during team meetings and share best practices. This allows for the team and myself to understand our shared progress.”
"We saw increases by applying new leadership competencies in our daily efforts and having increased 1:1 discussions. Following up on training to point out specific behaviors that reflect high performance and opportunities to improve really made a difference.”
American Express used surveys and evaluations to enhance/change leadership training
Provided training in three formats:
Online Learning
Instructor Led Training
Blended Learning
Evaluation Process

Surveys & Evaluations
Levels 1-2 showed little difference
Levels 3-6 showed that the blended offering was more effective
Return on Investment of the different training options
Instructor Led – 972%
Online – 923%
Blended – 1,599%
Because of this, they changed their course to the blended only

Survey &
Evaluation Results
American Express recruits and retains individuals who fit the company goals/values
Created a hiring profile for the kind of employees that will help company reach goals

First day orientation
Avoid the standard stacks of paperwork
Establishes goals for customer care in a clear but energizing way
Connections program

Program to educate new employees on company values and visions
Specially created a customized training program based on pre-hire screenings
Attrition rates in groups that went through Connections are 34% lower than those who did not participate
American Express Learning Network overcame resistance to change through participation
Program was designed by training, human resources, and call center professionals
Connections Program
(Meister, 2013)
(Meister, 2013)
(Meister, 2013)
(Meister, 2013)
(Meister, 2013)
(AmEx Values, 2014)
(AmEx Values, 2014)
(AmEx Values, 2014)
(Fickess, 2011)
(Fickess, 2011)
(Fickess, 2011)
(Fickess, 2011)
("Will you", 2014)
(The Real ROI)
(The Real ROI)
(AmEx Company, 2007)
(AmEx Company, 2007)
(Marquez, 2008)
(Our Company)
(Our Company)
(Our Company)
(Our Company)
(The History)
(The History)
(The History)
American Express Company. (2007, October). T+D, 61, 80-81.

American Express Values and Culture. 11 Apr 2014 <http://www.americanexpress.com/au/content/careers/culture.html>.

Becoming American Express: 150+ Years of Reinvention and Customer Service: secure.cmax.americanexpress.com/.../our_story_3.pd
Fickess, Jim. Revamped Communications Strategy Boosts Employee and Financial Health. Sep 2011. 12 Apr 2014 <http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/adimlink?id=55486>.

Marquez, J. (2008, October 20). American Express. Workforce Management.

Meister, Jeanne. Flexible Workspaces: Employee Perk Or Business Tool To Recruit Top Talent?. 1 Apr 2013. 13 Apr 2014 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2013/04/01/flexible-workspaces-another-workplace-perk-or-a-must-have-to-attract-top-talent/>.
Our Company – About American Express: about.americanexpress.com/oc/whoweare/

Recognizing Responsibility: To Our Employees. (n.d.). American Express. Retrieved from http://about.americanexpress.com/csr/docs/cresp_employees.pdf

The History of American Express Cards - CreditCardForum: http://creditcardforum.com/american-express/25-history-american-express-cards.html

The Real ROI of Leadership Development: Comparing Classroom vs. Online vs. Blended Delivery. (n.d.). American Express. Retrieved from http://www.personneldecisions.com/uploadedfiles/Case_Studies/PDFs/AmericanExpress.pdf

“Will you serve and inspire?” American Express Careers. (2011, September 14). Youtube. Retrieved from
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