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Michelin North America: AARP Best Employers 2008

Winning years: 2008, 2007, 2005
Industry: Rubber/Glass/Stone and Plastics Products
Location: Greenville, S.C.
2008 Rank: 43

Highlights of 2008 Winning Strategies

Michelin North America’s human resources department holds full-day pre-retirement seminars to prepare and educate employees and their spouses who are nearing retirement.
The phased-retirement program allows employees age 55+ with 10 or more years of service the option of working a reduced schedule (up to 35 hours per week) while maintaining their benefits. Thirty-five percent of the company’s employees are age 50+, and the average tenure of employees age 50+ is 24 years.

Additional Policies and Practices:

Recruiting: Michelin hires mature workers and retirees by attending military career fairs. The company also hires via its own retiree Web site.

Workplace Culture/Continued Opportunities: Michelin offers learning and development programs to its full-time employees working 40 hours a week, including the following: tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, and certification classes. During the past 12 months, 15 percent of Michelin employees have participated in at least one of the training opportunities, with an average of 65 hours spent in training. The Michelin Web site’s “Passport for Development” lists classroom- and computer-based courses and tools to help employees develop general, managerial, and functional skills.

The company celebrates long-service anniversaries with announcements, parties, awards, gifts, and tires. Employees gain experience and develop new skills by working on temporary assignments in other departments, by completing team projects, and via access to formal job-rotation programs.

Michelin assisted one employee with a debilitating health condition by modifying her work area to accommodate her service dog. The company also made it easier for her to access to her work space.
Benefits/Health: Employees working 35 or more hours a week receive individual and family medical and prescription-drug coverage. Employees working 40 or more hours a week receive individual and family vision and dental coverage and short- and long-term disability. Employees working 30 or more hours a week receive individual and family long-term care insurance.

Health benefits for retirees under age 65 and for workers age 65+ include individual medical and prescription-drug coverage and employee-assistance programs. New hires are eligible for EAP services upon retirement. The company also offers employees flexible-spending accounts to assist in covering out-of-pocket health care costs.

Benefits/Financial: Michelin provides a 401(k) with an employer match and a money-purchase defined-contribution plan to its full- and part-time employees. Full-time employees are also eligible for stock options. Employees are automatically enrolled in the 401(k) plan, and employees age 50+ can make catch-up contributions. Employees receive financial-planning information from staff members, from the firm that administers their 401(k) plan, and from external financial-planning experts not affiliated with the 401(k) plan. Employees also have access to an Internet-based “financial engines” program, which offers advice on individual retirement and investment goals.

Michelin extends short-term time off without pay and long-term leaves of absence without pay to allow for caregiving.

The company offers the following wellness programs to full- and part-time employees: flu shots, health screenings, health-risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and exercise plans, weight-loss programs, and stress-management training. Some Michelin facilities also hold health fairs. Thirty-seven percent of the company’s employees have used at least one of its wellness benefits in the past 12 months.

For its full- and part-time employees, Michelin has referral services to help employees find care for children and grandchildren and for eldercare. In addition, the company offers a discounted long-term care product that retirees can buy for parents of employees.

Benefits/Alternative Work Arrangements: Michelin offers alternative-work arrangements, such as flextime, compressed work schedules, job-sharing, telecommuting, and a formal phased-retirement program, to its full- and part-time employees. Full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent and temporary basis.

Opportunities for Retirees: The company currently has 17,821 retirees. Michelin stays connected with its retirees by communicating regularly, by inviting retirees to organization events and celebrations, by providing ongoing access to retirement planning workshops and information, and by formally acknowledging employees when they retire. Michelin maintains a Web site dedicated to retirees, with information on benefits and company news. The company offers retirees temporary work assignments, consulting and contract work, and full- and part-time work.

Age of Workforce: Thirty-five percent of the company’s employees are age 50+. The average tenure of employees age 50+ is 24 years.

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