People who work for the world’s largest credit card lender are encouraged to be as fit as their flexible friends, with healthy restaurant menus and a palatial gym.
MBNA, founded in America in 1982 and now based in Delaware, tries to treat its 25,000 staff worldwide equally well. A British subsidiary was launched in 1993 and reported sales of £649m in 2001 — more than a 60% rise on the previous year, thanks to the popularity of its affinity cards that give a proportion of people’s spend to chosen recipients such as Manchester United and Oxford University.
Headed by the retired American general Charles Krulak (known to all as “the General” in his monthly e-mail updates and regular lunches with staff), the firm offers superb facilities at its site in Chester. Last year MBNA invested £19.5m in a sports complex that includes a fitness centre, aerobics studio, squash and netball courts, baseball, cricket and football pitches and a crèche — all free to staff and their families.
Almost nine in 10 employees say they have fair workplace benefits, a score bettered by just four companies. Other perks include free vending machines and a building more like a country manor than an office.
The firm is fond of catchphrases — there is a series of core beliefs around hard work and fair treatment given on little cards to all 3,556 employees, the company aims to recruit and nurture “people who like people”, and has the phrase, “think of yourself as the customer” in gold letters over every door at MBNA worldwide.
Holidays start at 25 days a year and there are sales rewards — from cars to cash bonuses on top of the basic £14,500 salary for a “customer specialist” in the call centre.
Some 88% of staff say Krulak is full of positive energy, 80% find him inspiring and the same number are excited by where the company is going. The firm’s extensive charity work (including an education foundation, which gave more than £470,000 to local schools in 2002) is highly praised.
A tenth of team members work flexible hours and a unique benefit is one week of paid leave for new grandparents. Adèle MacKinlay, head of the Alliance and Leicester partnership and senior vice-president, says: “MBNA is second to none in terms of the working environment it has created. It’s the people, though, that make this a special company to work for.”
Number of Staff:
Male to Female ratio:
Under 35 to Over 55 Ratio: