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2013 AARP Best Employers

Ochsner Health System

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Industry: Hospitals/Health Care             Location: New Orleans            Website: www.ochsner.org

Winning Years: 2013, 2011, 2007, 2006, 2005

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

Ochsner promotes "as needed" and part-time opportunities to mature workers. These opportunities offer continued employment without the commitment and pressure of a full-time position and full-time employee benefits. The health system’s free Employee Assistance Program (EAP), offered to all employees and their families, offers resources and services targeted to mature workers, and information on how to stay healthy with aging. The Silver Sneaker Fitness program offers fitness activities, as well as seminars and lunch-and-learn sessions to mature workers.

Return to the AARP Best Employers 2013 Winners List

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Recruiting: Ochsner uses senior placement agencies to target mature workers and retirees. In addition, the health system posts jobs on websites such as 2Young2Retire.com, 55-Alive.com, afterlivingfifty.com, aginghipsters.com, babyboomerlifeboat.com, babyboomer-magazine.com and boomernet.com. Ochsner also partners with Louisiana Works, a state agency that provides staffing services for retired workers interested in returning to the workforce.

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Ochsner employees working 20-plus hours per week are eligible for tuition reimbursement while all employees are eligible for certification classes, in-house classroom training and online training. Reimbursement of professional membership dues are offered to employees working eight-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 12 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties and awards. Ochsner’s System Employee Engagement Survey prompted the health system to add a vision benefits, and expand its bereavement policy from one day to three days. Employees can develop new skills by working on temporary assignments in other departments and on team projects, and by participating in a formal job rotation program.

  • Benefits/Health: Employees working four-plus hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, and individual and family dental insurance. Short- and long-term disability is offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week. Individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage are offered to retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus. New hires are eligible for these insurance-related benefits upon retirement. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs. In addition, employees receive discounts on their medical premiums when they enroll and meet health-related goals in Ochsner’s Pathway to Wellness Program. Wellness programs offered to full- and part-time employees include flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, and stress management training. Ninety-seven percent of Ochsner employees participated in at least one of these wellness-related benefits during a recent 12-month period.

  • Benefits/Financial: Ochsner offers a 401(k) plan and a 403(b) plan with employer match to all employees. All new employees are automatically enrolled into the plans, employees may choose to invest in lifecycle funds that automatically reallocate assets based on age or proximity to retirement, and those age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan. Staff members, staff from the financial services firm that administers the plans, as well as external financial planning experts provide financial planning information and training to employees. Training sessions are conducted throughout the year on topics such as utilization of online retirement planning tools, how to research and select funds, the importance of saving for retirement, and how the 401(k) integrates with an individual’s overall retirement goals. Short- and long-term leaves of absence without pay are offered to allow for caregiving. Ochsner offers flexible scheduling options and general purpose time can be borrowed from the donation bank for employees in need of time off for caregiving. Dependent care benefits offered to Ochsner employees include referral services to assist with child care, grandchild care and eldercare.

  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime and compressed work schedules are offered to all employees, while job sharing and telecommuting are 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: Ochsner has 1,662 retirees and an individual directly responsible for retiree relations. The health system stays connected with its retirees by communicating regularly, by inviting retirees to organization events, by providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees upon their retirement. Retirees may attend financial planning meetings, an open forum for medical plan participants, Ochsner’s Golden Opportunity Program and the annual Retired Physicians luncheon. The following work arrangements are offered to retirees: temporary work assignments, consulting/contract work, as well as full- and part-time work.

  • Age of Workforce: Thirty-two percent of Ochsner employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 10 years.

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

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