American Express reviews global benefits

American Express has implemented a global benefits database and used the resulting data to complete a review of its multinational pooling networks.

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In a session titled How to obtain value with a global workforce when budgets are strained at Employee Benefits Connect on 27 February, Jamie Green, global benefits analyst at American Express, described the process, which the credit card services organisation undertook with consultancy Mercer.

He said: “We had largely decentralised benefits around the world, with local teams but broad global guidelines.

“It was fragmented and, as a result, it was not clear what we were spending in certain regions.”

The credit card services organisation has 63,500 employees worldwide, in regions such as the US, the UK, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

It faced a number of challenges in bringing together the global benefits database, including diverse documentation in four different languages.

Green added: “The challenge was also not to bother our local teams.”

American Express put a project team together, based in India, which looked at the data the organisation already held. This included information from its multinational pooling networks and data on its intranet site.

This information was all put into a single database, then templates were sent out to local contacts to fill in the gaps.

“Now we have good insight and benefits design,” said Green. “But [the focus now is] how do we use that to stay ahead in the market and be proactive?”

The review of its multinational pooling networks, the first in nearly 15 years, resulted from the information compiled in the global benefits database.

Green added: “We needed to see whether our networks were best placed to suit our populations.”

American Express has made savings as a result of the review, which it has reinvested into its benefits programmes in smaller regions.

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The organisation is now aiming to get a better handle on its internal compliance around global benefits, and will continue to streamline its benefits vendors.

“[The project] has increased the governance and oversight of our benefits plans and strategies,” said Green. “It has also helped us to keep in line with the market, and gives us greater leverage when it comes to renewal.”