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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Bon Secours Richmond Health System

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003
Industry: Hospitals/Health Care
Location: Richmond, Va.
2008 Rank: 9

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

One of AARP’s top-10 Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2008, Bon Secours Richmond Health System encourages hiring workers who are highly qualified, experienced, and mature. Bon Secours’ Guiding Light Program trains retired nurses to be mentors and coaches to work with recent nursing graduates. The health system offers a 50 percent subsidy for eldercare and sick-child care services, and employees can have professional home-health help with their dependents for up to 10 days annually. Thirty percent of Bon Secours employees are age 50+.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Duringthe past four years, a Bon Secours advertising campaign demonstrated how the organization values retirement-age employees. In addition, the Retiree/Volunteer Fair promotes available benefits, and recruiters there promote on-call and part-time positions.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Bon Secours Richmond offers full- and part-time employees the following learning and development programs: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. Employees must work 16+ hours per week to be eligible for the tuition-reimbursement program. In the past 12 months, 100 percent of Bon Secours employees participated in at least one training opportunity, spending an average of 15 hours in training.

As older employees transition into new positions that may be less physically demanding, managers recommend additional training and career coaching. The health system celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and gifts.

Based on employee feedback, the company has made the following improvements to policies and benefits: invested in system-wide lift teams to help turn bed-bound patients; allotted funding to add additional child-care and grandchild-care spaces; expanded the sons and daughters scholarship program; launched the ArtRageous program to foster intergenerational programming, learning, and creativity; and continued the retiree and volunteer benefit fair. Bon Secours offers employees the opportunity to work on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and to have access to formal job-rotation programs.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 16+ hrs per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription-drug coverage, and individual and family vision and dental insurance. Short- and long-term disability is offered exclusively to employees working at least 32 hours a week.

Health benefits for retirees under age 65 and 65+ include individual and spousal medical and drug coverage, individual and spousal vision and dental insurance, EAP services, and individual and spousal life insurance or other death-benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for the benefits upon retirement.

Retirees have access to the employee wellness department, which offers an incentive program for employees who participate in an annual health-risk appraisal. Retirees also earn incentive points during the year for participating in various health programs.

Bon Secours Richmond offers employees flexible-savings accounts to help cover out-of-pocket health care costs. In addition, Bon Secours strives to maintain low out-of-pocket costs, with no charge if a Bon Secours health facility is used, and offers wellness incentives of up to $500 per year to employees.

Benefits/Financial: Bon Secours Richmond offers a 403(b) and a defined benefit savings plan to its full- and part-time employees. Employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions to their 403(b) plan.

Employees receive financial-planning information from the firm that administers their 403(b) plan, from external financial-planning experts, and from a six-week Lifestyle Planning course offered four times a year.

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