American Express: Diversity and inclusion is an evolving space

On the 5th November the Workplace Gender Equality Agency announced the list of 2015 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation holders. Canstar caught up with citation holder American Express to find out more about the corporation’s attitude to diversity.

As background, the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation is designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces. Criteria for the citation cover leadership, learning and development, gender remuneration gaps, flexible working and other initiatives to support family responsibilities, employee consultation, preventing sex -based harassment and discrimination and targets for improving gender equality outcomes.

As a 2015 winner, American Express has an impressive commitment to diversity, with a range of special interest employee networks and the WGEA citation is one of many accolades. Canstar caught up with an Americal Express spokesperson for a quick Q&A,  to find out a bit more detail.

Q: What are some of the ways in which Americal Express works to promote gender equality in the workplace?

A: American Express is committed to maintaining our breadth of diversity, including gender equality within our organisation. We do this by ensuring we have a diverse range of experiences, viewpoints and backgrounds across all roles and levels. Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy sits at the heart of what we do, and we have well established, employee led and driven networks. These are Women Interest Network (WIN), Gays Lesbians and Others Building Equality (GLOBE) and Parents at AMEX. Having these networks means we have employees who are passionate about building an equitable workplace and driving a positive work environment for all our employees.

Q: Retaining loyal and committed staff is a goal for any business – do your equality initiatives pay dividends in this regard?

A: American Express certainly believes that having an engaged, flexible and positive work environment contributes to both an exceptional experience for our customers as well as allowing us to maintain high levels of employee loyalty and commitment. Over the years we have found that employees who participate in diversity initiatives and our employee networks, tend to have slightly higher engagement levels. Also, from a business perspective, our customer base is diverse therefore it is all the more important that our employees reflect this and drive different perspectives and thinking.

Q: Are there any other workplace changes you would like to see going forward?

A: Diversity and inclusion is an evolving space and it is also important to continue to find ways to elevate our thinking. We have been turning our attention to building and nurturing a growth mindset to drive further innovation in this space. If employees can reflect on and identify their own individual biases and understand how they impact assumptions, judgements and decisions they make, this will help break down barriers to accepting others and their ideas, and ultimately in ensuring diversity of thought in company culture. American Express has embarked on this journey with creating awareness of our own unconscious biases and we intend to keep looking for more opportunities to do so.

We truly value the work that WGEA is doing and are proud that our best practice has been acknowledged. We hope that more organisations in Australia follow suit.

You can read more about the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality process and citations here.

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