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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Michelin North America

Winner: 2009 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005
Industry: Industrial Sector - Rubber/Glass/Stone and Plastics Products
Location: Greenville, S.C.

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

This year, Michelin makes its fourth appearance on AARP’s list of Best Employers for Workers Over 50. By providing its employees innovative benefits like a formal phased-retirement program, personal health reviews, and personal health advocates, Michelin has been able to retain and attract mature workers. Thirty-seven percent of employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 24.3 years.

Recruiting: Michelin uses its retiree Web site and military career fairs to attract and reengage mature workers.

Workplace Culture and Continued Opportunities: Michelin offers its employees a number of learning and development opportunities, including in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and tuition reimbursement. In 2008, 30 percent of employees took part in at least one development opportunity, with the average staff member receiving 65 hours of training.

Michelin celebrates its employees' long-service milestones with awards, parties, announcements, and gifts. For each five years of service, employees are eligible to receive free tires or their choice of another valuable gift.

The company has taken employee opinion surveys and used the results to make improvements throughout the organization, including enhancing communication within the organization,  helping improve understanding of individual job duties and expectations.

In order to assist employees with gaining professional experience, Michelin offers its employees the opportunity to work on cross-functional team projects, to take temporary assignments in other departments, and to participate in a formal job-rotation program.

Benefits/Health: Full-time employees are eligible for the following benefits: individual and family medical, prescription-drug, vision, dental, long-term-care, and individual short- and long-term disability coverage. Part-time employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for individual and family medical and prescription-drug coverage. Retirees under and above age 65, and new hires upon retirement, have access to employee assistance programs (EAP) and are eligible for individual and spousal medical and prescription-drug coverage. Michelin offers its employees both  health reimbursement accounts (HRA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA).

Benefits/Financial: Full- and part-time employees at Michelin are eligible for a money-purchased, defined-contribution plan and an employer-matched 401(k) plan. To encourage staff to participate, Michelin automatically enrolls employees in the plans. Employees can also invest in life-cycle funds, and those age 50+ are allowed to make catch-up contributions. Internal staff, representatives of the financial-services firm that manages the plan, and external financial-planning experts provide retirement-planning information to Michelin employees.

Michelin works with its employees who have caregiving responsibilities by offering them both short-term absences and long-term leave. Caregivers also benefit from referral services to assist with care for children, grandchildren, and elders.

To help employees stay healthy, Michelin offers a number of wellness benefits, including flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking-cessation programs, discounts at local health clubs, condition-management programs, weight-loss programs, and stress-management training. During the past 12 months, 66 percent of employees took part in at least one wellness activity. 

Benefits/Alternative-Work Arrangements: Michelin offers its employees a number of alternative-work arrangements, including flextime, job-sharing, compressed-work schedules, telecommuting, and formal phased retirement. Full-time employees can move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

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