The restriction on human workforce mobility, the pandemic’s human toll, and the need to support a large remote workforce highlighted human fragility. It also showed why employers need to rethink how they manage their workforce, support their mental and health needs, and create the right workplace that is portable.
One company that did was American Express Malaysia.
The challenges were clear from the onset. “Our first focus and priority were ensuring our colleagues felt safe and had the flexibility and resources they needed at home to continue delivering world-class services to our customers,” said Ryan Lai, vice president, and general manager at American Express Malaysia.
The company embarked on three key initiatives. The first was ensuring employees had access to health advice. So, the company launched a telehealth service called CareClix for employees and their immediate family members.
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for free, employees and their loved ones could consult doctors and access expert medical care via phone, video chat, or a mobile app from the comfort of their homes.
Next, the company tackled rising anxiety. It provided a one-year complimentary subscription to Calm, a mental fitness app that offers motivational podcasts, stories, and soothing music. It helped to manage stress, experience better sleep, and reduce anxiety.
American Express Malaysia knew part of the anxiety was related to whether they had the right medical plan. So, it provided employees and their enrolled dependents enhanced COVID-19 medical coverage covering testing, hospitalization, and death benefits — at no additional cost.
Special attention was then given to the young workforce composed of millennials, who have never experienced a crisis in their professional lives. American Express Malaysia found many of them faced difficulties, especially during the lockdown and transition to working from home. They found that being isolated had a more significant impact on these employees.
“We recognized that we needed to support each other, so we quickly mobilized ourselves into action. Communication was a key part of our support and wellbeing strategy, and we knew we had to do so not only frequently but meaningfully,” said Lai.
American Express Malaysia’s efforts to build trust, create open communication and top team alignment did not go unnoticed. It won the Kincentric Best of the Best Employer in Malaysia 2020. It was inducted into Kincentric Best Employers in Malaysia Hall of Fame after winning the Best Employer in Malaysia for the 10th consecutive year.
“We dedicate this win to all Amex colleagues in Malaysia — which motivates us to continue building a great, diverse place to work and thrive in with opportunities to learn and grow both professionally and personally. I truly believe that when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too,” said Lai.
American Express Malaysia is not done yet. The company is now putting in place a permanent hybrid working model, which will change employee engagement. It is already studying how to create a corporate culture in a virtual world.
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