January 26, 2008 – Business Management Article

FedEx (NYSE: FDX), is among the 100 “Best Companies to Work For” in the US announced by FORTUNE magazine and the Great Places to Work Institute. FedEx (the largest employer in 2008 list and only shipping company included) now figures in this list in 10 of the past 11 years after being named to the “Best Companies to Work For” Hall of Fame in 2005. FedEx was ranked as 97th overall. FedEx already has a reputation of being one of the most employee-friendly companies in the world.

A History of Employee Commitment at FedEx

The history of FedEx goes back to 1971, when Frederick W. Smith felt the need for an airfreight system which could deliver documents overnight. He decided to setup his own company to effectively serve this need. Smith always believed that since FedEx was essentially a service organization, employees were largely responsible for ensuring success.

FedEx was incorporated as ‘Federal Express Corporation’ in June 1971 at Little Rock, Arkansas, US. Since it began in 1971, its’ management focused on providing a suitable work environment that encouraged employees to come up with innovative solutions. Such was the commitment of the employees to the company that, when FedEx was going through severe financial difficulties during the first couple of years, the employees were prepared to sell their personal belongings. They were also prepared to use their own credit cards to purchase fuel to deliver the packages to the customers. Even when the employees didn’t receive their salary on time, they continued working with FedEx.

Human Resource Management (HRM) Best Practices at the FedEx Corporation

FedEx has developed several innovative human resource programs over the years. These programs have served as a benchmark for many companies.

FedEx’s ‘People-Service-Profit’ (PSP) philosophy

In 1973, Founder and CEO, Smith had developed and implemented FedEx’s ‘People-Service-Profit’ (PSP) philosophy. This philosophy was based on the fact that if FedEx took proper care of its employees, they would provide efficient service to the customers. This in turn would benefit the company by generating more profits.

Survey-Feedback-Action Program or SFA Program at FedEx

The SFA program (a key employee relations and satisfaction program) helped management take decisions regarding romotions. From its inception, the SFA was administered manually, but that changed in 1992 with the introduction of online survey system in the US and other automations. Each April, every employee is asked to participate in the on-line survey. After the results are gathered, managers hold feedback sessions with their employees to discuss the survey findings and identify problems within and outside of their department.

Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Process’ (LEAP)

In 1988, FedEx devised a program known as ‘Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Process’ (LEAP) to encourage non-managerial cadre employees to move to the managerial level within the company.

Employee Communication Program

The employee communication programs implemented by FedEx included the SFA program, Guaranteed Fair Treatment Procedure and Open Door Policy. FedEx also devised a mechanism to address and resolve employee grievances. This was apart from employing a formal communication system to inform employees about the major events taking place in the company.

Job Change Applicant Tracking System (JCATS)

JCATS is an on-line computer job posting system that allows hourly employees to post for any available job.

Recognition and Reward Program

FedEx rewards employees for their work with awards such as the ‘Bravo Zulu’ and the ‘Golden Falcon Award’.

FedEx is an example of an organization that has created an effective HR strategy that supports productivity and profitability.

Read related post on UPS: A bit of UPS history, some UPS and some downs

FedEx, HR Best Practices