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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Best Employers

National Healthcare Group

Winner: 2009 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Industry: Hospitals/Health Care
Location: Singapore
Website: nhg.com.sg

Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies

National Healthcare Group’s mature workers attend pre-retirement planning and counseling at least three years before they reach the statutory retirement age of 62. The company generally offers retirees re-employment, with a variety of alternative-work arrangements and benefits, when they reach age 62. In some of the company’s institutions, 90 percent of employees continue to work beyond retirement age. Dealing with an acute shortage of health-care workers in Singapore, the National Healthcare Group specifically targets mature job seekers to fill open positions.

Other Policies and Practices

Lifelong Learning and Training: National Healthcare Group invests heavily in manpower training and has set up courses to ensure that all employees have updated skill sets and can use the latest technologies. The company’s institutions can use training funds to sponsor employees for formal courses leading to academic accreditations or professional qualifications. There is no age criterion for the educational sponsorships. Health-Care Attendants (HCA) can take the Certificate in Nursing to become Enrolled Nurses (usually called “Licensed Practical Nurses” in the United States). Employees who are not academically inclined may take the Advanced HCA course run at NHG College.

National Healthcare Group’s mature workers attend pre-retirement planning and counseling at least three years before they reach the statutory retirement age of 62. Employees age 55-62 attend “Senior Employment Guidance,” a two-day program conducted by the National Trade Union Congress to cover such topics as lifestyle changes, health management, financial planning, and retirement management.

Going forward, the company plans training to help supervisors manage the challenges particular to a multi-generational workforce. The health group also formally prepares mature workers to mentor junior staff.

Flexible Work Arrangements: National Healthcare Group’s flexible-work arrangements include compressed-work schedules and part-time work options with prorated benefits. Both are attractive to mature workers in the company.

The company also offers re-employment at the statutory age of 62, with a variety of alternative-work arrangements and benefits, such as annual leave, medical and dental benefits, and insurance coverage. One National Healthcare Group location offers retired nurses creative job options under the Everglow Nurses’ Program. This program aims to re-employ retired nurses in their respective work areas and provides training to keep the nurses abreast of the latest developments in their field.

Two other National Healthcare Group locations received the Ministry of Manpower’s 2008 Work-Life Achiever Award.

Health Promotion and Protection: All the company’s employees and their dependents enjoy comprehensive medical benefits covering medical outpatient, specialist, and hospitalization expenses. In addition, each employee receives a basic, preventative health screening on an annual basis. Employees further enjoy a wide variety of leave benefits, including annual leave, caregiving leave, paid-maternity leave, and prolonged-illness leave.

There are also employee support programs, such as on-site childcare, holiday subsidies, and a clubhouse with fully equipped sports facilities.

To ensure a safe and age-friendly work environment, National Healthcare Group’s institutions appoint committees to promote ergonomics and to conduct education and awareness programs. For example, in 2009, company headquarters purchased 50 sets of 19-inch monitors for its mature workers, to enable them to work without straining their eyes.

The company constantly reviews work processes, technology, and ergonomic equipment to enable mature workers to contribute in a safe, age-friendly environment that is conducive to workplace harmony.

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