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Saint Vincent Health System
Winning Years: 2009, 2008, 2007
Location: Erie, PA
Highlights of 2009 Winning Strategies
Saint Vincent Health System (SV) celebrates its third year on the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list. SV shows a strong commitment to its loyal, long-serving employees by providing gifts and reward drawings in its Quarter Century Club. In addition, the Retired Saint Vincent Valued Pacesetters (RSVP) encourages retirees to stay connected to Saint Vincent through both work experiences and volunteer opportunities.
- Recruiting: SV uses senior placement agencies to target mature workers and retirees. SV also turns to its own pool of retirees to fill positions. For example, the SV Nightingale Program allows associates to commit to a per diem pool and be available for work as needed.
- Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: The following learning and development opportunities are offered to SV employees working at least eight hours per week: in-house classroom training, on-line training, and certification classes. Employees working at least 20 hours per week may also receive tuition reimbursement. One-hundred percent of SV employees used at least one of the aforementioned learning opportunities, averaging eight hours per employee in 2008. Long-service anniversaries are celebrated with announcements, parties, awards, and during the service awards dinner. After 25 years, SV employees become members of the Quarter Century Club, which affords them benefits such as health and cafeteria discounts, and drawings for special privileges. As a result of employee opinion surveys, SV instituted the RACK and RAVE programs. These programs combine initiatives that allow associates, physicians, volunteers, patients, and their families to recognize Random Acts of Care and Kindness or Recognize a Valued Event by submitting recognitions forms. Each month Saint Vincent utilizes these submissions to recognize four employees as RACK or RAVE winners. Employees are able to gain new experiences and develop new skills through temporary assignments in other departments, team projects, and through a formal mentoring program. SV accommodates employees with special needs by providing them with amplified stethoscopes, the ability to work remotely, improved lighting, and specialized lifting equipment like Hover Jacks and Smooth Movers.
- Benefits/Health: All Saint Vincent employees are eligible for the following individual and family health benefits: medical, prescription drug, vision, and dental insurance. In addition, employees working at least 35 hours per week are eligible for short- and long-term disability coverage. In order to help defray out-of-pocket medical expenses, SV offers a health flexible spending account (FSA) and the Home Host program, which reduces deductible and coinsurance for participants who receive their care at Saint Vincent.
- Benefits/Financial: Employees working at least 20 hours per week are eligible for Saint Vincent’s defined benefit plan, while all employees are eligible for a 403(b) and 401(k) plan with employer match. Employees can choose to invest in lifecycle funds and are able to make catch-up contributions. Financial planning information and training is provided by staff from the financial services firm that administers the retirement plans and from external financial experts. SV employees with caregiving responsibilities are provided paid time off to attend to caregiving responsibilities and may also take unpaid short- and long-term leave. In addition, SV has a Special Needs Bank of donated paid time off and employees may request assistance from this fund. All employees are offered a host of wellness benefits. These benefits include flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, discounts at local health clubs, physical activity programs, weight loss programs, stress management training, and an annual health fair. Ninety-one percent of SV employees have utilized at least one of these wellness benefits in the past year. Dependent care benefits offered to employees include on-site child/grandchild care, backup for child/grandchild care, and referral services to assist with child/grandchild and eldercare. SV also provides employees with the Eldercare Jump Start Program, which is designed to begin and increase communication with older loved ones about medical, financial, legal, and estate issues.
- Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Full- and part-time employees can take advantage of flex time, compressed work schedules, job sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased retirement program. The phased retirement program allows workers to continue working up to 1,000 hours per year and still receive their monthly pension benefits and insurance. Full-time employees can move to part-time work on a temporary or permanent basis.
- Opportunities for Retirees: Saint Vincent has 655 retirees who benefit from a full-time employee whose responsibilities include managing retiree relations. SV stays connected to its retirees through regular communication, inviting retirees to organization events, through the quarterly newsletter, and by providing retirees with ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information. Retirees are able to participate in part-time work and a formal per diem program.
- Age of Workforce: Thirty-six percent of Saint Vincent Health System employees are ages 50+, with an average tenure of 18.5 years.