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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

2007 Winners

For the seventh year, AARP is honoring innovative employers that have created welcoming workplaces for their 50-plus employees. This time around, we included a twist in the selection process: in addition to each employer's submitting an almost 60-page application detailing the company's benefits and employment practices, older employees got to add their two cents in the form of an anonymous survey. The results confirmed our suspicions: the winning employers are listening to their valued 50-plus workers and adding perks and programs tailored to their unique needs. With that in mind, we present our Top 10.

1. SC Johnson, Racine, Wis.
Consumer Products
3,297 employees; 35% 50+ (28% of managers, 38% of executives)

Recruiting Practices: 3
Training and Development: 5
Health Benefits: 5
Pension Plans: 4
Alternative Work Arrangements: 4

It's easy to wax poetic about the ways multinational SC Johnson proves its commitment to helping employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, starting with compressed work schedules, paid sabbaticals, summer hours, and a December "holiday shutdown." And if all that wasn't enough, employees, retirees, and their families can stay in shape at the Johnson Mutual Benefits Association/Wellness Center, which offers a multitude of recreation and fitness programs (retiree bonus: no dues).

2. Mercy Health System, Janesville, Wis.
Health Care
3,721 employees; 28% 50+ (32% of managers, 91% of executives)

Recruiting Practices: 5
Training and Development: 5
Health Benefits: 4
Pension Plans: 4
Alternative Work Arrangements: 4

We especially admire the way Mercy looks out for its workers' health. For example, it recently increased the number of paid-in-full screenings available to employees who seek health care within the system's facilities. Another impressive perk: Mercy has a free concierge program that will secure services such as home cleaning, car repair, and dry cleaning; arrange trips and vacations; and obtain tickets to area attractions, often at a discount.
*Bernard E. Nash Award for Innovation recipient for its flexible-scheduling options.

3. First Horizon National Corporation, Memphis, Tenn.
Financial Services
12,208 employees; 23% 50+ (24% of managers, 36% of executives)

Recruiting Practices: 5
Training and Development: 5
Health Benefits: 5
Pension Plans: 5
Alternative Work Arrangements: 5

Forward-thinking First Horizon helps employees 50 and older prepare for retirement by pairing them with a Retiree Employee Services Relationship Manager (ESRM), who reviews the individual employee's situation and helps evaluate how such factors as years of service and age at retirement will impact benefits and finances in retirement. Retirees who have questions are welcome to turn to their ESRM for answers and guidance. For employees who want to ease into retirement rather than quit work cold turkey, First Horizon allows workers with at least one year of service to trim their workweek down to 20 to 32 hours and still receive full benefits.

4. Scripps Health, San Diego, Calif.
Health Care
11,119 employees; 31% 50+ (42% of managers, 69% of executives)

Recruiting Practices: 5
Training and Development: 5
Health Benefits: 4
Pension Plans: 5
Alternative Work Arrangements: 5

This year marks the third time Scripps has landed in our Top 10. The secret behind this consistently high performance? Scripps surveys its employees and acts on their suggestions for improvement. One recent result: a new tax-free retiree health account, which allows employees to save pretax dollars that won't be taxed later if used for health care expenses in retirement.

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