FedEx reveals 'secret sauce' of inclusive culture

HRD finds out how they’ve bagged multiple employer awards over the years

FedEx reveals 'secret sauce' of inclusive culture

FedEx Express Singapore (FedEx), a subsidiary of the world's largest express transportation company, have won several awards for its progressive employment practices. To date, they’ve been recognised multiple times — in 2018, 2016, 2014 and 2010 — by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) in Singapore.

The latest one, the Tripartite Alliance Award, celebrated exemplary organisations that have effectively implemented fair, responsible and progressive employment practices, and recog-nises the best organisations to work for in Singapore.

HRD spoke to Audrey Cheong, managing director at FedEx Express Singapore to find out how they’ve done it all the years.

“At FedEx, we practice a fair, merit-based and non-discriminatory policy,” Cheong said. “To give you a few examples, if you look at our workforce in Singapore, we always think that the logistic industry's mostly dominated by males.

“But at FedEx, 50% of our workforce [and] in management are women. We believe in this also be-cause…a diverse workforce, according to research, will give greater profitability.”

One way the company has managed to sustain the impressive numbers, she shared, is through their Job Change Application (JCA) policy. When a job role opens up in FedEx’s global offices, employees who are meet the requirements can apply through the “very open system”. Hiring managers, who are trained to remain fair throughout the process, will consider all applicants and find the best per-son for the job.

“The beauty of the JCA is that [it’s very consistent],” she said. “The process helps to ensure that we get the best fit for the job, not just from within the country, but across the region, regardless of gen-der.”

Cheong herself is a beneficiary of the policy. Around 1998, the Singaporean began her career with FedEx in Shanghai as the managing director for Operations, International Services at FedEx Express China. Through the JCA, she was able to secure her current position.

“What FedEx provides employees is variety,” she said. “Also, I like the JCA system because…it’s about capability. If you’re fit for the role, [you] go through the interview process, so there is fair-ness.”

Building a progressive network
In addition, as part of its commitment to fostering a fair and inclusive workplace, FedEx also launched its FedEx Women’s Network (FWN) in 2017 to provide female employees with mentoring opportunities for further professional development.

“The FWN was developed with a few purposes in mind,” Cheong said. “Number one is that we want to be able to help the women in the workforce address challenges that are specific to the workplace.

“We also want to help them to further their professional careers. Lastly, it's very simple, it’s really to [help them] connect with their peers.”

To help female employees build a strong network, the FWN provides participants access to both fe-male and male senior leaders. This is a crucial differentiator of the company’s women’s network — everyone in leadership is involved in developing the progressive culture, regardless of gender.

It was no surprise then that Cheong said leadership must “walk the talk” if the company wants to maintain fair and inclusive practices.

“At FedEx, we always talk about the shadow that one casts,” she said. “Whenever we say that we are fair, merit-based, non-discriminatory… we embrace and practise it. That's how we've consist-ently won the TAFEP awards over the years.

“[Firstly, leaders must] walk the talk. Secondly, I think it has to be very intentional. Intentional means there must be a structure. Something that I always say is employees can tell when you do things from the heart. So, I think it ties back to walking the talk and being genuine in making sure that the practices are put into action.

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