Considering all of Ochsner’s benefits, a good health plan and flexible work schedule seem to be the most important perks for older workers, added Brenda Chighizola, a professional technical recruiter with Ochsner.
Out of the almost 50,000 applications the health system received last year, roughly one-third were from older workers seeking second careers or coming out of retirement, reported Chighizola. Some applicants had medical benefits and were interested in earning extra pocket money, or they wanted to return to work to help others or to expand their social networks by being engaged with others. The returning retirees filled odd shifts, such as from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. or from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other -seekers between the ages of 50 and 65 had worked at companies that were destroyed by the storm. Having lost their jobs along with their medical benefits, they came to Ochsner in hopes of finding a good job with health insurance.
Outcomes: Strong Benefits, High Retention
While the employee turnover hasn’t yet returned to the pre-Katrina rate, it has significantly dropped. Mollohan asserted that giving older workers benefits that appealed to their lifestyles contributed to lowering the rate to 18 percent.
Instead of leaving, 270 (or 20 percent) of the nursing staff also transferred to other jobs within the Ochsner system last year. During the first quarter of 2008, she added, 300 people quit their jobs. Of those, 16 employees had at least 15 years of service. That number is far less than the same quarter in 2007, when 24 who had more than 15 years of service resigned.
Employee satisfaction with the company also keeps rising. Employees are consistently asked to rate how satisfied they are with the company on a one-to-five scale, five being the highest score. On average, employee ratings climbed from 3.6 to 4 during recent years.
"We’ve always had a very stable workforce because of the benefits we offer," said Mollohan, adding that the system has achieved "magnet" status for nursing excellence with the American Nurses Credentialing Center. "[Ochsner] lends itself to a good employee culture, good work environment, and high employee satisfaction."