FedEx Attributes Success to
People-first Philosophy


To provide the level of service and quality necessary to become, and to remain, the leader in the air express cargo transportation industry, Federal Express has developed a unique relationship with its employees, based on a people-first corporate philosophy.

Founder and CEO Frederick Smith determined to make employees an integral part of the decision-making process, due to his belief that "when people are placed first they will provide the highest possible service, and profits will follow". Resulting from this principle is the FedEx corporate philosophy: People-Service-Profit. These three corporate goals form the basis for all business decisions.

The people priority acknowledges the importance of employee satisfaction and empowerment to create an environment where employees feel secure enough to take risks and become innovative in pursuing quality, service and customer satisfaction.

Service refers to the consistent and clearly stated service quality goal of 100% customer satisfaction, 100% of the time.

A corporate profit should result, if the people and service goals have been met.

There are many processes in place at Federal Express to ensure that P-S-P becomes a way of life for all employees. The following highlight of FedEx programs indicates the strength of the company's commitment to the people-first philosophy.

  • An annual employee satisfaction survey, which rates management's performance and forms a basis for improvement (Survey-Feedback-Action)
  • A policy of promotion from within
  • An on-line computer job posting system for hourly employees (Job Change Applicant Tracking System)
  • An employee recognition and reward program
  • A leadership evaluation process, which must be completed in order to progress to management level (Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Process)
  • Regular employee communication through both print and broadcast programming
  • Pay for performance based on management-by-objective and project-by-objective goal-setting processes
  • A process for dealing with employee questions or complaints regarding corporate policy (Open Door program)
  • An employee appeal process for having an issue or complaint heard (Guaranteed Fair Treatment Procedure)


Detailed Description




Survey Feedback Action (SFA)

An annual employee survey that provides a statistical measurement of employee satisfaction, as well as subordinates' opinions of management's leadership performance. Each April, every employee is asked to participate in the on-line survey. There are 32 questions relating to the company in general and the employee's superiors.

Results are tabulated, and managers then hold feedback sessions with their employees to discuss the survey findings and identify problems within and outside of their department. As a group, they develop formal, written action plans for solving these problems. Groups usually review plans throughout the year to determine whether problems were solved satisfactorily.

SFA has become a problem-solving tool that operates both horizontally and vertically throughout the organization. The first ten items on the survey serve as a review of management by subordinates. The scores on these ten items become the numerical measurement that determines whether the company's annual People goal within the People-Service-Profit goal structure is being met.



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Job Change Applicant Tracking System (JCATS)

An on-line computer job posting system that allows hourly employees to post for any available job. New positions are announced on the system every Friday. An employee wishing to transfer to a new job or new location enters their name in the system, which then retrieves information on each candidate from the Personnel Records and Information System (PRISM).

Each employee posting for the job is given a numerical score, based on job performance and length of service, which is ranked in order by the system. Any applicant can log onto JCATS during the week of posting, to find where they sit in the list of applicants. At the end of the week, the person with the highest score is awarded the job.



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Leadership Evaluation and Awareness Process (LEAP)

A process implemented to improve leadership effectiveness and retention within FedEx. LEAP is compulsory for any employee who wants to progress to management level positions within the company. The purpose of LEAP is to evaluate a candidate's leadership potential and ensure that the individual carefully considers his or her interest in and aptitude for leadership.

A candidate must complete the following process to become LEAP-endorsed:

  • "Is Management for Me?": a one-day class that familiarizes candidates with managerial responsibilities.
  • Employee's Leadership Profile: the employee documents successful demonstration of the nine leadership dimensions required to successfully complete the LEAP process.
  • Manager's Focused Recommendation: the written report from the employee's manager supporting or opposing the candidate's leadership capabilities. It is usually prepared after a three- to six-month period during which the manager coaches and evaluates the employee.
  • Peer Assessment: an evaluation of the candidate, completed by three to ten of the candidate's co-workers selected by his or her manager. Peers provide their opinion as to the managerial abilities of the candidate.
  • LEAP Panel Evaluation: an interview process conducted by a group of mid-level management trained in LEAP assessment. LEAP candidates present written and oral arguments to the panel supporting specific leadership scenarios. In making their decision, the panel considers the Peer Assessment, Manager's Focused Recommendation and the Employee's Leadership Profile. If a candidate is endorsed, they are eligible to apply for management positions, if not endorsed, an employee must wait six months before trying again.



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Recognition and Reward Program

Reinforces actions taken by employees to improve quality and customer satisfaction.

  • Bravo Zulu: (U.S. navy semaphore signal for "well done"). Managers reward employees for outstanding efforts and achievement on the spot. Rewards include "quick cash" bonuses, theatre tickets, dinner gift certificates, and other gifts of similar value.
  • Golden Falcon Award: Results from a complimentary report from a customer commending employee efforts above and beyond the call of duty. The award consists of ten shares of Federal Express stock and a congratulatory visit or phone call from a senior executive.



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Open Door

A program through which an employee can question or put forward a complaint about matters of corporate policy, such as benefits, hiring, seniority, vacation, etc. An employee submits the complaint or question on an Open Door form, which is routed by Employee Relations to the management person best able to respond to the issue. The person receiving the Open Door enquiry must respond within fourteen calendar days.



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