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2013 AARP Best Employers

Southern Company

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Industry: Utilities            Location: Atlanta      Website: southerncompany.com

Winning Years: 2013

Highlights of 2013 Winning Strategies

SouthernLifeStyle is a comprehensive wellness benefits program offered to all Southern Company employees. Through this program, nurses in on-site health offices administer flu shots and perform free annual lab profiles. Physicians perform complete physicals on specified weekdays at selected locations. Weight loss, smoking cessation and disease management programs are also offered. Employees receive points for healthy behaviors through the Chips Rewards Program.

Additional Policies and Practices

  • Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Learning and development opportunities offered to Southern Company employees working 20-plus hours per week include tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training and certification classes. Online training is offered to all employees. In a recent 12-month period, 100 percent of employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of 41 hours spent in training. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements and awards. 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 and mentoring programs.
  • Benefits/Health: Employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family vision and dental insurance, individual and family long-term care insurance, and short- and long-term disability benefits. Health benefits for retirees pre-65 and retirees age 65-plus include individual and spouse medical and drug coverage, individual and spouse vision and dental coverage, individual and spouse long-term care insurance, the services of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and group life insurance. New hires are eligible for all of the above benefits upon retirement provided they meet eligibility service requirements. Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are available to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care and dependent care costs while an active employee. EAP services are available to full- and part-time employees and their family members.
  • Benefits/Financial: Employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered a 401(k) plan with employer match and a defined-benefit plan. Stock options, deferred compensation and supplemental pension plans are offered to certain employees based on job level. Employees age 50-plus can make catch-up contributions to their plan. Staff members, staff from the financial services firm that administers the 401(k) plan, and external financial planning experts provide financial planning information and training to employees. Preretirement workshops on pension programs, and financial planning workshops that address estate planning, taxes, tax-sheltered vehicles and emotional support tools are offered. At certain locations, employees working 20-plus hours per week are offered on-site child care and dependent grandchild care. In addition, referral services to assist with child care, dependent grandchild care and eldercare, and backup care for child care and dependent grandchild care are available.
  • Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Flextime, compressed work schedules, and telecommuting are alternative work arrangements offered to employees working 20-plus hours per week in select positions.
  • Opportunities for Retirees: Southern Company has 16,652 retirees and dedicated retiree relations staff. The company stays connected with its retirees by communicating on a regular basis, inviting retirees to organization events and by formally acknowledging employees upon their retirement. Work arrangements offered to retirees include temporary work assignments, consulting or contract work, and full- and part-time work.
  • Age of Workforce: Forty-three percent of Southern Company employees are age 50-plus. The average tenure of employees age 50-plus is 27.3 years.

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

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