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2013 AARP Best Employers

Lee County Electric Cooperative

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Industry: Service Sector: Utilities    Location: North Fort Myers, Fla.    Website: www.lcec.net

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2009, 2004

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to full- and part-time employees as well as their family members. The EAP offers intervention courses on Debt Elimination, Understanding Your Credit, Stress Management, Impact of Family Issues at Work, and Strengthening Relationships. The LCEC Learning Management System offers over 500 e-courses on topics such as computer and business certification prep and work/life balance.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Learning and development programs such as tuition reimbursement, certification classes, leadership training and reimbursement of professional membership dues are offered to full-time employees working 40 hours per week. In-house classroom training and online training are offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. In a recent 12-month period, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 45 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, gifts and awards. LCEC has implemented the following new policies based on feedback gathered from its Employee Engagement Surveys: Funeral Leave Policy created so employees can take time off for bereavement, increased the amount of unused PTO days employees can "carry over" annually, provide retirement eligible employees with a monetary retirement gift, and implement a Wellness Initiative. Employees have opportunities to gain new experiences by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects and by having access to formal job rotation programs. Accommodations are made for employees with disabilities or unique needs including providing ergonomic work stations, allowing employees the option of working at alternative locations, and installing special equipment to transport disabled employees down stairs in emergency situations.

  • Benefits/Health: LCEC full-time employees working 40 hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, and long-term disability. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical, prescription drug and vision coverage. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. Full- and part-time employees are offered flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, diabetes education, and stress management training. Fifty-two percent of LCEC employees utilized at least one of these wellness benefits during a recent 12-month period.

  • Benefits/Financial: LCEC full-time employees working 40 hours per week are offered a 401(k) plan with employer match and a defined-benefit plan. Employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan, and plan participants may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement. Employees are offered financial education from staff members, from staff of the financial services firm that administers their plan, and from external financial planning experts. Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to allow for caregiving. Full-time employees are offered referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and eldercare.

  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Alternative work arrangements such as compressed work schedules and telecommuting are offered to employees working 40 hours per week, and flextime is offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

  • Opportunities for Retirees: LCEC has 103 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The organization stays connected with its retirees by communicating regularly, inviting retirees to organization events, providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees on their retirement. Temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, as well as full- and part-time work are employment opportunities offered to retirees.

  • Age of Workforce: Fifty percent of LCEC employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 13.7 years.

Also of Interest: More AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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