Our associates are the backbone of our business. Cultivating an inclusive, respectful workplace that develops and empowers our associates has always been critical to our success. As employees increasingly seek a strong, purpose-driven culture, including open communication and flexible work options, we are adopting talent strategies that keep pace with these expectations — engaging associates through data-driven feedback, technology and customization, just as we’re doing for our clients and end-consumers.
Open feedback culture
One of the many things that elevates Alliance Data and makes it dynamic is that we take our associates’ feedback seriously. Annual engagement surveys and quarterly pulse surveys bring attention to various organizational issues and help us ensure our workplace works for our associates. We then use those survey results to do the following:
- Gauge the effectiveness of our work environment and identify opportunities for improvement.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs.
- Develop action plans to challenge the status quo and address priority issues.
- Conduct post-survey communications to keep associates informed of results and progress.
Training and development
Alliance Data offers a variety of online and on-site structured training, coaching, tuition reimbursement for external courses and on-the-job learning opportunities. In 2020, the Company invested nearly $10 million in training and development, a 35% increase in dollars per associate since 2017.
Another important component of associate development is regular formal performance reviews for all permanent employees aligned with career advancement. The 2020 implementation of WorkDay — a best-in-class digital system that integrates and enhances employee task management — proved especially valuable in this area by enabling us to advance our practices and improve leadership accountability surrounding the performance appraisal and feedback process.
There’s a well-established connection between associate health and well-being and an associate’s ability to do his or her best work. Our data also tells us that associates who join one of our on-site fitness centers, undergo company-provided health checks or participate in our 401(k) plan are significantly more likely to stay with the Company. For these reasons, we have long had programs to support associate physical, mental and financial well-being.
We continue to offer an innovative concierge service model with a completely customizable, patient-focused approach. Benefits administrators work as advocates for our associates rather than gatekeepers. The goal is to always point our people to the right resources at the right time. Not only can they expect improved outcomes, but having healthcare advocates navigating the service on their behalf will also save them time and money. Since implementation, we’ve seen use rates go up. While that may create added cost for the Company, we know that it means our associates are getting healthier and are happier with the service — which, in the long run, means less time lost to illness, increased efficiency and greater overall associate satisfaction.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
We work to reflect the diversity of cardholders, clients and associates by embracing different backgrounds, viewpoints, ethnicities and talents.
Consistent with our values, our Code of Ethics states that we will not discriminate based on race, color, religion, religious dress and grooming, gender, pregnancy, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship, veteran status, gender identity, transgender status or any other protected status.
Beyond the Code, and basic protection of individual rights, we actively promote diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I). Alliance Data has established business resource groups that provide an opportunity for professional development, education, and social and community involvement for our associates from unique backgrounds.
At the Board and leadership levels, the focus has been on promoting gender and skills diversity. While demographics have been the focus of associate diversity efforts in the past, the Board of Directors adopted the Rooney Rule in 2019, which is a commitment to include women and underrepresented minority candidates in every pool from which Board nominees are chosen. Our Board is also regularly briefed on our diversity performance, including gender make-up, gender leadership, Board refreshment and pay equity.
Events from last year — the COVID-19 pandemic, social and civil unrest, and the presidential election — offered many lessons and exposed deep divisions among us. Conversely, one of the silver linings was that these events provided the impetus for significant and meaningful change.
In 2020, we reignited our commitment to DE&I, employing a DE&I consulting firm to help us define our road map for continued progress through employee focus groups, an inclusion survey, leadership training and a thorough review of our policies and practices. These activities resulted in a new strategic framework, focus areas and vision for success.
Read the full report here.