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Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2004
Industry: Insurance
Location: Charlestown, Mass.

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

This year, DentaQuest celebrates its third appearance on AARP’s list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. By working with Operation A.B.L.E. (Ability Based on Long Experience, an employment and training service for job seekers age 45+) of Greater Boston, DentaQuest is committed to training and recruiting mature employees. The company is also responsive to employee concerns and requests, leading to an increased 401(k) match and a long-term-care benefit.

Recruiting: DentaQuest is closely aligned with Operation A.B.L.E., which helps mature workers develop and hone job skills. It also provides a talent pool of older workers.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: Full- and part-time employees at DentaQuest are offered learning and development opportunities, which include tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. While tuition reimbursement requires 30 hours of work per week for eligibility, all other benefits require only five hours. One hundred percent of employees used at least one of these opportunities in 2008, averaging four hours of instruction per employee.

DentaQuest uses employee-opinion surveys to enhance the benefits it provides. New benefits include a larger 401(k) match and long-term-care insurance.

The company celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and luncheons with the CEO.

Employees have many opportunities for development: temporary job assignments in different departments, committee assignments, and team projects.

Each new employee receives a full ergonomic assessment of his or her work area. The company uses the evaluations to make and design workplace accommodations.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for individual and family medical insurance, prescription-drug coverage, and individual dental insurance. Employees who work a minimum of 15 hours per week are eligible for family dental insurance, while those working at least 30 hours per week receive short- and long-term disability coverage. All DentaQuest employees can take advantage of employee and family long-term-care insurance. The company also offers a health flexible spending account (FSA) to help cover workers' out-of-pocket health care expenses. 

Benefits/Financial: DentaQuest’s full- and part-time employees have access to a stock-option/profit-sharing plan and a 401(k) retirement plan with an employer match. All new hires are enrolled in the plan. Employees can choose to invest in life-cycle funds, and employees over age 50 can make catch-up contributions.

In order to help employees better understand the 401(k) benefit, the financial services firm that administers the plan provides financial planning information.

DentaQuest offers unpaid leave, both short- and long-term, to help employees with caregiving responsibilities. In addition, the company offers three months of personal, unpaid leave to all employees.

Wellness programs offered to full- and part-time employees include flu shots, health-risk appraisals, physical-activity programs, and stress-management training. Other wellness benefits for full-time employees include health screenings, smoking-cessation programs, discounts to local health clubs, and weight-loss programs. Twenty percent of DentaQuest employees have used at least one of the company's wellness benefits during the past 12 months.

The company provides care for dependents (for children, grandchildren, and elders) on-site and also offers referral programs for full-time and backup care for children, grandchildren, and elders. The company also has on-site backup care for children, grandchildren, and elders. In addition to these dependent-care benefits, DentaQuest also offers its employees a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Program to enable them to save tax-free dollars for child or eldercare expenses.

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