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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Winner: 2010 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Winning Year: 2010
Industry: Transportation Services
Location: Hesse, Germany
Employees: 81,331; Percentage over 50: 21.5%

Highlights of 2010 Winning Strategies

Lufthansa offers multiple flexible work arrangements including part-time schedules, job sharing and telecommuting. Employees with caregiving responsibilities also benefit from individualized elder care solutions offered through the company's Family Service. Preventative health measures are a top priority for Lufthansa, and the company emphasizes engagement in individual health through a variety of means, including counseling services for employees facing personal challenges or crises. The company is committed to continuous learning and training and maintains several methods, such as e-learning, to allow employees to take advantage of such opportunities. Lufthansa supports several research projects dedicated to assessing the effects of demographic change on the workplace.

Additional policies and practices:

Lifelong Learning and Training: For all staff, two forms of training programs are accessible; Corporate College, which is generally skill-oriented, and decentralized training units, which are job-related trainings.

Lufthansa founded the first Corporate University in Germany in 1998, the Lufthansa School of Business, which offers courses on interdisciplinary topics, different kinds of off-the-job training, and customized programs for executives. Several self-directed learning programs (web-based training) allow employees to choose the most convenient time to learn.

Lufthansa maintains partnerships with renowned business schools to facilitate executive learning. In 2009, Lufthansa was honored by the European Foundation for Management Development for the General Management Program by winning in the category "Partnership in Learning and Development".

Lufthansa operates a program known as Wissensstaffette to facilitate the handover of knowledge. Wissensstaffette is an advice service which works to identify and structure the existing knowledge of a predecessor, the knowledge-giver, and efficiently pass it along to the successor, the knowledge recipient. This specially crafted program ensures that critical knowledge is not lost as employees leave or retire. It also ensures a smooth transition period and a shorter adjustment period for the successor.

Lufthansa sets a high-value on E-Learning as an efficient and flexible tool for knowledge and information transfer. E-Learning is particularly useful in pilot, IT, and technical staff training. E-Teaming is an additional tool group employees can utilize to communicate and cooperate regardless of location.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Lufthansa offers a wide variety of flexible working arrangements to accommodate individual needs. Part-time options, sabbaticals, job sharing, and flex-time are just some of the working arrangements offered.

Flextime is a particularly important option for Lufthansa and employees operating in a difficult economic climate. Lufthansa may reduce working hours for employees, but is able to keep staff on in their current role. Over 3,000 Lufthansa employees currently work on a partial retirement agreement, offering flexibility to older workers seeking to transition to full retirement. Early retirement is also available.

Lufthansa offers a variety of child-care and elder-care solutions. An external consulting and finder service helps Lufthansa employees locate individual child-care solutions. In the main operational cities child-care and emergency care are available to employees.

For elder care, experts are available to give advice concerning care models and financing options. In 2001, Lufthansa created the option for employees to take up to 364 days for the care of relatives. The company is committed to finding individual solutions that balance the employee's needs and the company's needs.

JobChange, an internal placement agency, is available to assist Lufthansa employees losing their previous positions. The program helps employees locate internal job alternatives that match their skill set. Working from home is also an option open to responsible staff members.

Lufthansa makes a concerted effort to reduce atypical working hours. The company goes above and beyond local legislation to ensure employees are properly compensated for their extra efforts. For example, employees recording 112 hours of night shifts are entitled to an additional holiday, and employees subject to atypical workloads can take unpaid leaves of absences.

Health Promotion and Protection: Preventive health measures are a top priority for the Lufthansa Group. Comprehensive information on health issues is available both on the Group's intranet and in internal print media.

The company provides ergonomic furniture to all employees. Most offices have height adjustable desks, along with ergonomically adjustable chairs.

General health promotion and protection programs are available to all employees, but Lufthansa also offers special programs for certain departments or interests. For example, there is a "Health Week" specifically for administrative staff held once a year in Frankfurt, or "Lufthanseaten laufen," a day aiming to promote the sport of running.

Special health-focus days are held throughout the year to target specific issue areas, such as prevention checks for cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Skin screenings are conducted for cabin crews, who may be more at risk. Vaccinations, examinations and free flu shots are offered. Regular lectures and seminars are held to discuss a variety of health topics from smoking cessation to performance at any age. Emphasis is also placed on the importance of nutrition. Since 2006, when Lufthansa launched LZ Catering, employees have been able to enjoy light, carefully prepared meals and snacks.

Safety is also an important part of Lufthansa's commitment to its employees. All important job-safety activities are coordinated in cooperation with physicians, social counselors and the responsible business segments. Efforts are continuously underway to identify and assess emerging hazards in the workplace. Measures are taken to decrease the number of workplace accidents and to detect risks of occupational diseases and other work-related hazards.

To facilitate communication between employees and supervisors, voluntary job safety commissioners gather information on any potential hazards from employees and report it to the designated supervisors.

Diversity Promotion: Lufthansa is strongly committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity in the workplace and implemented a human resources policy to promote the inclusion of all staff.

Age diversity is included in Lufthansa's determination to be an all-inclusive workplace. Twelve areas of age diversity are particularly important to Lufthansa: role in company, employability, personnel development, workability, motivations, regulations, knowledge and experience management, work-life balance, personnel marketing, managing age diversity, performance and change and retirement management.

Lufthansa works to prevent age from being linked with performance. This helps avoid assumptions and maximize the potential of all employees. For its efforts, Lufthansa won second prize in the competition "Cultural Diversity at the Work Place".

Recruitment: Lufthansa promotes a cooperative and fair atmosphere by making the application process as transparent, efficient and fair as possible. To create an age diverse work environment, Lufthansa recruits applicants of all ages using a neutral, online recruiting tool that selects applicants based solely on qualification.

For personal selection, Lufthansa uses high-quality tools and procedures that provide an objective evaluation and automatically matches the required qualifications for an open position with a qualified applicant.

Miscellaneous: Employee benefit programs are critical to Lufthansa's success as a positive work environment. The Employee Benefit Programs International designs retirement plans, medical and risk insurance packages for employees outside Germany. Lufthansa coordinates cross-company interests and designs benefit guidelines accordingly.

Lufthansa's pension scheme is an employer-complement of the statutory pension. All employees, including part-time and apprentices, have the costs of an occupational pension paid for by Lufthansa. With each year of employment, employees acquire a pension component and the longer an individual is employed the higher the occupational pension.

For cockpit and cabin crews, an intermediate pension scheme is available, as crews are entitled to retire at age 55. This pension covers the years between termination of flying and retirement age. The payment is based on years of service and can equate to 60% of last net income.

Further demonstrating their commitment to age diversity, Lufthansa supports research that studies the impact of demographic changes. Lufthansa then incorporates results from this research into company policy.

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