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American Express CEO: 'There is a war for talent'

In a new interview with Yahoo FInance's Brian Sozzi, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri explains why companies that aren't flexible with employee work plans will lose in the 'war for talent.'

Video Transcript

- You recently came out with-- I would say, very flexible work plan for your employee base. Why does that work well for Amex?

STEVE SQUERI: Yeah, well, first of all, I think what you have to look at now-- I mean, there is a war for talent. And you really have to look at your overall colleague value proposition, and your colleague value proposition used to be career growth. It was compensation. It was culture. And culture is really important to our company. But now it's flexibility.

And I think companies that are not looking at flexibility will, I think, ultimately longer-term, will struggle on the war on talent. And look, for us, the culture is important. Being at home, being in the office is important. But we've been away for the last 18 months and you see the results that we've had. We've had terrific results. We've had success in attracting people.

But what we have come up with here is what we're calling and branding Amex Flex. It's a combination of people out of work on-site, people out of work hybrid, and people out of work virtually. Our colleagues have told us-- 80% of our colleagues have told us they want to be in the office. Now they don't want to be in the office five days a week. But they want to be in office some of the time.

And so when they're in the office, it'll give them an opportunity to interact with their colleagues, to co-create, to have spontaneous innovation, and so forth. And so it's been very well received by our entire colleague base. And we're also, in addition to that, providing our colleagues with an opportunity to work four weeks from anywhere that they choose to work.

And so, even if you're in a hybrid mode, you're coming in one or two days a week, at some point, whether it's over the summer, whether it's during the fall or in the winter, you can take four weeks off. You take those weeks off. You take them on weekly increments, doesn't have to be consecutive. And it gives our colleagues more flexibility.

I think the important thing here is we trust our colleagues, and with that trust comes responsibility, and with that responsibility comes accountability. And it's worked well for us, so far. And there's no reason not to continue it.