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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2009
Industry: Industry - Pharmaceutical
Location: Research Triangle Park, N.C.

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) emphasizes and supports a flexible work environment. The company offers workshops to help employees maximize their performance while maintaining a positive work-life balance. GSK fosters a supportive environment for caregivers, not only researching their needs from an employment perspective, but also offering caregiving services in the home. Twenty-four percent of GSK employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 17 years.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: GSK offers the following learning and development opportunities to full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. In 2008, 90 percent of GSK employees participated in at least one training opportunity, so the average employee received eight hours of instruction.

The company celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and monetary gifts.

Using findings from employee opinion surveys, GSK enhanced its eldercare and case-management consultation benefits and developed three training sessions to optimize performance: Team Resilience, Personal Resilience, and Energy for Performance.

GSK employees can expand their skills with temporary assignments in other departments, by participating in team projects, and by taking advantage of the company’s formal job-rotation program. In addition, employees can each take a six-month sabbatical to work with a community-service organization.

The company's commitment to an inclusive work environment shows in the workplace accommodations it has made—such as redesigning cubicles for people who use mobility devices, providing handicap controls for one representative’s wheelchair, and installing ergonomic computer equipment.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for individual and family medical, prescription-drug, vision, dental, long-term-care insurance and short- and long-term disability coverage.

Retirees below and above age 65 are eligible for retiree and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage, dental insurance, long-term-care insurance, and the services of the employee assistance program (EAP). Retirees below age 65 are also eligible for retiree and spousal life insurance. GSK offers all the retiree benefits to new hires upon retirement.

The company provides health reimbursement accounts (HRA) and health flexible spending accounts (FSA) to its employees.

Benefits/Financial: The financial benefits GSK offers its full- and part-time employees include a cash-balance or other hybrid plan and a 401(k) plan with an employer match. Employees may invest in life-cycle funds, and employees age 50+ are able to make catch-up contributions. The company calls on external financial-planning experts to provide retirement-planning information and training. GSK also offers a two-day "Planning for Retirement" seminar, which covers the planning process, Social Security, Medicare, and company benefits.

GSK employees who are also caregivers can take advantage of paid time off that is specifically designated for caregiving and unpaid short- and long-term leave.

Seventy-four percent of GSK employees have used the following wellness benefits: flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, discounts to local health clubs, physical-activity programs, weight-loss programs, and stress-management training.

GSK offers dependent-care referral services in addition to backup and on-site child- and eldercare. In addition to flexible work arrangements, GSK also offers backup in-home eldercare, in-home eldercare evaluations, consultation with a geriatric care manager, and discounts on eldercare-related products.  

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