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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Best Employers

Alexandra Hospital

Winner: 2008 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Industry: Public Hospital/Health care
Location: Singapore

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Alexandra Hospital initiated several programs beneficial to older workers to promote lifelong learning and wellness. WOW, or Wellness for Older Workers, is a program that serves to empower mature workers with the skills, knowledge, and attitude to take charge of their health and lifestyle. The hospital has also implemented a series of workplace redesigns to make work less physically strenuous on its aging workforce.

Additional Policies and Practices

Lifelong Learning and Training

Alexandra Hospital encourages staff to undergo training and provides subsidies and grants to support the staff, including examination leave of up to 7 days; a $1,000 Personal Training Fund to upgrade skills annually; and sponsorship of Formal Education courses for nursing staff and for courses for the Health Manpower Development Plan (HMDP) award.

In the Job Redesign Program for Patient Care Associates, older workers are given two weeks of intensive training to learn new skills, such as bedside care management, infection control, and housekeeping. This training program gives opportunities to help the Patient Care Associates (PCA), who are generally older workers, upgrade their skills-sets and take on an expanded portfolio for a better compensation package. This has also helped improve the level of patient care service.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Alexandra Hospital has developed an array of work-life programs for employees. These include compressed work schedules, flex-time/flex-hours, part-time employment, and job sharing.

In addition to flexible work arrangements, the hospital also offers various leave benefits and employee support schemes to meet the needs of staff. Some of these schemes for older employees include the Wellness for Older Workers program, to empower older workers in health and lifestyle management; health intervention programs such as Boomers’ Weight Management and Fall Prevention Program; and activities encouraging active aging, such as a Brisk Walking Club and Tai Chi.

Health Promotion and Protection
: Alexandra Hospital considers itself a pro-mature employee employer and hopes to consistently woo older employees, as the organization firmly believes in the adages, “Wisdom comes with age,” and “Match a job with talents.”

Alexandra Hospital launched a Workplace Health Promotion program known as Wellness for Older Workers, WOW, in November 2007. The program serves to empower mature workers with the skills, knowledge, and attitude to take charge of their health and lifestyle practices. Upon graduation from the program, the older employees also receive a personalized Health Report Card. The program is targeting 500 workers aged 40 years old and above. A new segment of WOW, Boomers on the MOVE, promotes an active aging lifestyle among older workers.

The Older Workers’ Safety-Care System creates a holistic Ergonomics Work Training System to educate and support older workers by inculcating lifelong ergonomics skills relevant to job requirements. Equipment reengineering has also contributed to job redesign; beneficial to older employees has been the implementation of hoist machines to assist in lifting and transferring patients and an automated mattress innovation to reduce the frequency of turning and repositioning patients to reduce bedsores.

Diversity Promotion
: Alexandra Hospital participates in the Advantage! Scheme, an effort through the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, to re-employ and retain older workers within the organization through job redesign and the improvement of work processes and the environment.

The hospital has also revised its Re-employment Clause to offer job counseling and opportunity for post-retirement employment to employees who have reached retirement, subject to well-defined requirements.

In addition to the diversity work within Alexandra Hospital, the organization is proactively involved in encouraging its business partners and other Singaporean corporations to adopt pro-mature-employee human resource policies.

: Alexandra Hospital applies age-neutral hiring practices. As its policy is to hire the right talent for the right job fit, the hospital would normally employ older workers in jobs that deal with direct patient care, where the workers have the opportunity to put into good use their interpersonal skills as well as their ability to relate to the patients. The hospital also reorganized and redesigned work processes to create a new job position known as Patient Care Associates to enhance the employability of older workers and to streamline care delivery services. More than 85 percent of the PCAs are older workers; 79 percent of PCAs were unemployed before joining Alexandra Hospital.

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