Health and Wellness Pay off at American Express

The CEO of Amex Canada says that health and wellness pays off in employee loyalty and retention.

"There is a powerful business case for incorporating health and wellness into our overall strategy," says Alan Stark, president and CEO of Amex Canada In. "It has paid off in employee loyalty and retention, and is proven to help deliver higher levels of customer service and stronger business results."

It is also earning the company kudos. American Express is the winner of the prestigious Canada Award for Excellence for having one of the country's healthiest workplaces.

The award, presented by the National Quality Institute (NQI) in partnership with Health Canada, recognizes organizations that create a positive work environment for their people. It considers all aspects of working life from physical surroundings, personal wellness, HR policies and practices, safety and social issues.

"We take the view that focusing on our employees and making American Express a great place to work is a key element in the growth strategy for our business," comments Stark.

Amex Canada, which earlier this year was included on Report on Business magazine's list of the 35 best companies to work for in Canada, employs over 2100 people at its Canadian Headquarters in Markham, Ontario. It has introduced a number of workplace improvement initiatives over the past five years - a time period that has seen its business in Canada double in size.

The company runs a comprehensive health and wellness program, pays for educational assistance for employees, offers paid sabbaticals for volunteer work, has extended bonus plans to all levels in the organization and launched a stock ownership plan to give everyone a share in the company's success.

Dan Corbett, president of the NQI, says he applauds the commitment of Amex Canada's leadership team to create a healthy workplace by listening to employee input on what's important to them. He adds cooperation and teamwork at all levels supports a healthy environment, which compliments the focus on quality across the organization.

edited by Sandy Smith

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