Article: Putting People First: FedEx Express’s journey towards employee-centric policies

Employee Relations

Putting People First: FedEx Express’s journey towards employee-centric policies

Bianca Wong, the VP of HR at FedEx Express AMEA, shares effective strategies that ensure the logistics company celebrates success together with its people.
Putting People First: FedEx Express’s journey towards employee-centric policies

Becoming one of the leading shipping organisations in the world is a challenging task, just as managing 35,000 people across 220 countries is. In an exclusive interaction, Bianca Wong, Vice President of Human Resources for Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa at FedEx Express, shared with People Matters how FedEx strictly adheres to the principle of staying a ‘people-first’ organisation amidst diverse challenges.

Bianca says to deliver exceptional services, the company understands its workers are the foundation of its value chain - an essential part of its growth and success. Some of the initiatives that FedEx implements to ensure holistic well-being of all the employees are:

  • Comprehensive well-being programmes covering social, mental, emotional, financial, physical, and occupational aspects
  • Flexible work options and Employee Assistance Programmes,
  • Conducting open sessions on mental and physical well-being, updating resources, and reviewing benefits to meet diverse needs.
  • Encouraging career development through learning platforms, tuition assistance, and talent reviews, fostering advancement opportunities at all levels
  • Fostering inclusivity through the hiring of employees with determination, providing internships, and offering promotions, showcases an equitable and celebratory workplace.

Bianca also highlighted an example in India, stating, “We brought them in as interns to experience our work environment and culture, subsequently offering promotional opportunities for a full-time position. This serves as a strong example of how we create an equitable and inclusive workplace that spotlights talent and celebrates their potential.”

The journey toward becoming a tech-savvy logistics company began five decades ago when FedEx leveraged the intersection of a physical network and time-definite digital delivery solutions. Sharing such a tech-driven initiative Bianca said, “In 2022, we launched the BOT-it Programme, transforming frontline employees into bot makers who've created 56 automation products, saving 51,000 manual hours. The Learning Arena fosters a digital-first mindset, offering on-demand learning on various topics, blending soft skills and technical expertise, with a gamification element for interactive and enjoyable learning experiences.”

However, talent retention remains a key challenge amidst the changing dynamics of the transport and logistics industry. Bianca added, “Talent management needs to be agile and fit-for-purpose. We are adopting various tactics for talent attraction and retention, and they will evolve more quickly than ever, adopting a skill-based approach. Jobs will be precisely defined with a focus on continuous exposure to new experiences. Workforce will upskill/ reskill skills towards future-focused growth.” Therefore, strategies towards talent retention extends beyond the employee's journey within the organisation, involving alumni and skill-based gig workers. Some of the effective strategies for talent retention at FedEx include: 

  • Engagement - Engaging the younger generation for a future talent pipeline.
  • Feedbacks - Recognizing and providing timely feedback to apprentices and interns accelerates their growth and encourages diverse experiences 
  • Role modeling by leadership - examples of diverse career progression for young talents to shape their own journeys.
  • Using recognition as a tool - To build culture and reward system, wherein we celebrate employees values like outstanding ownership, driving results, commitment to good, mutual care, and innovative contributions to the business.
  • Awards and appreciation -  Given to workers for endorsing extraordinary performance, exceptional customer service, and problem-solving, going beyond basic community responsibility, and superior performance, with the aim not just to celebrate but to inspire a positive impact in others.

“One thing we are all very proud of is that at FedEx women in leadership is the norm and not the exception. Looking around our organisation, not only are our women leaders highly visible, but many have also built their entire career paths here from entry level to the C-suite, and many started in engineering and tech roles. The notion of gender equality varies greatly in the markets we operate. So, it’s incredibly important to build an inclusive workplace culture where women can thrive as much as their male counterparts do. To achieve this, we need to ensure a level playing field both within and outside the organisation.” shared Bianca  

Sharing an example towards this commitment, she added, “In 2021, our Regional President affirmed our commitment to gender equality by signing the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles. We actively supported women during the COVID pandemic, aiding over 700 entrepreneurs in India and fostering female leadership and education in the Philippines. Internally, we promote inclusivity through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) practices, addressing unconscious bias and ensuring equal opportunities. Our job postings now feature an expanded equal opportunities statement. Employee resource groups and DEI principles in selection and promotion further enhance our inclusive workplace.”

On the 50th anniversary of FedEx Express, the leadership team implemented change management practices for reviving the 'Transformation as Usual' mindset. This strategy focused on enhancing communication frequency and equipping employees with a leadership mindset for transformation, with a strong message towards Enterprise Culture Values and Employee Value Proposition.

Bianca adds, “Merely claiming to be 'people-first' isn't sufficient and all leaders including HR, must be intentional in navigating diverse talent and business landscapes.” For organisations to successfully transform into a sustainable one, identifying its unique DNA is crucial, so a targeted talent strategy with an authentic and inclusive culture can be adopted. 

“Work, workplace, and workforce will continue to evolve – but one thing we should all strive for is for our team members to be their best self every day,” she concluded.  

For more insights, read the detailed interview here.

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Topics: Employee Relations, Strategic HR, #HRCommunity, #EmployeeExperience

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