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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Best Employers

L.L. Bean, Inc.

Winner: 2008 AARP Best Emloyers for Workers Over 50

Winning years: 2008, 2006
Industry: Retailing/Direct Selling
Location: Freeport, ME
Website: www.llbean.com
2008 Rank: 20

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

L.L. Bean’s Healthy Lifestyles Program is a voluntary program aimed at improving the overall health of employees by offering free health screenings, health coaching, and health assessments. Retirees benefit from a lifetime discount on L.L. Bean merchandise and cafeterias. Forty-two percent of the company’s employees are age 50+. 

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: L.L. Bean uses senior placement agencies to target mature workers and retirees.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: L.L. Bean offers the following learning and development programs to its full- and part-time employees: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, on-line training, and certification classes. The tuition reimbursement program is offered exclusively to employees working at least 20 hours per week. In the past 12 months, 70 percent of L.L. Bean employees participated in at least one of the training opportunities with an average of four hours spent in training. Bean’s Best is the company’s peer-to-peer recognition program. The company celebrates long service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, and gift certificate options. In addition, every five-year service award includes a day off with pay. Based on employee feedback, the following benefit improvements have been made: all employees eligible for 401(k) participation upon hire, new low-cost indemnity medical plan, no-cost short- and long-term disability, no-cost $10,000 life insurance and $10,000 AD&D coverage, orthodontia coverage offered in dental plan, early death benefit, and additional company holiday. Employees gain new experiences by participating in temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and have access to formal job rotation programs. L.L. Bean provides adjustable work stations for employees with special needs.

Benefits/Health: Full- and part-time employees working 20+ hours per week receive individual and family medical coverage, individual and family prescription drug coverage, individual and family dental insurance, and short- and long-term disability. Retirees pre-65 and 65+ receive individual and spouse medical and prescription drug coverage as well as individual life insurance or other death benefit coverage. New hires are eligible for all of these benefits upon retirement. Other health benefits for retirees include free retiree fitness programs, and access to on-site fitness rooms and wellness classes/programs. The company offers employees an FSA to assist in covering out-of-pocket healthcare costs. In addition, the company offers no-deductible preventive care and home health/hospice care options. 

Benefits/Financial: L.L. Bean offers a 401(k) plan with employer match and a defined-benefit plan to its full- and part-time employees. Employees may invest in lifecycle funds, and employees 50+ can make catch-up contributions to their 401(k). Employees receive financial planning information from the firm that administers their 401(k) plan. In addition, L.L. Bean’s company publications offer financial advice. The company offers short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence (three additional months) without pay to allow for caregiving. The following wellness programs are offered to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity/exercise programs, weight loss programs, and stress management training. Seventy-five percent of L.L. Bean employees have used at least one of these wellness benefits in the past 12 months. The company offers referral services to assist with eldercare to its full- and part-time employees. In addition, the company offers numerous eldercare programs through EAP services as well as dependent care reimbursement accounts.

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