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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Henkel AG & Co. KGaA

Winner: 2010 AARP International Innovative Employer Award

Winning Year: 2010
Industry: Industrial Sector
Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
Employees: 43,400; Percentage over 50: 17.5%

Highlights of 2010 Winning Strategies

Henkel offers a wide variety of flexible work arrangements to accommodate the needs of all employees. To help retiring employees transition, Henkel offers a five-year, part-time retirement schedule that allows participating employees to work part time while Henkel continues to pay social contributions requisite with a full-time schedule. Employees also benefit from individualized sabbatical options. Henkel's work in health promotion ranges from on-site emergency assistance and physical therapy to ergonomic and safety consulting and yearly skin cancer checks. Henkel actively promotes the transfer of knowledge between generations at the workplace through a knowledge database and roundtable discussions.

Additional policies and practices:

Lifelong Learning and Training: Employees at Henkel have access to an array of learning opportunities. Seminars, workshops and e-Learning are all offered as ways to continue on the job training. Opportunities include seminars on management, health, safety and environmental training, and product courses for sales staff. Along with general training options, specialized courses are designed for individual departments to help meet their specific needs.

Henkel fosters partnerships with external organizations and internationally leading business schools, to ensure that employees have access to the best available learning options. Henkel also maintains learning opportunities through the Henkel Global Academy, founded in 1997. Offerings at the Henkel Global Academy are available to all employees via the company intranet or in printed form.

Henkel also offers programs geared specifically toward older workers. Integration management is offered for employees who suffer long-term illnesses. The Department of Social Services offers counseling to employees caring for a sick relative. Courses are offered to help employees and their spouses prepare for retirement. Henkel maintains 66 apartments specifically designed to allow employees and retired employees to live without barriers. Henkel also hosts a day once a year when grandparents, parents and grandchildren can engage together.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Though non-exempt workers must log in and out there is no official working time, allowing employees to work during hours that best suit their situation. With a formal agreement, telecommuting is also a possibility. For those without a formal agreement, home office days are a possibility. Job sharing and part-time work serve as additional alternative work options.

Henkel offers a part-time retiring schedule, to ease the transition period. During the five years prior to retirement, employees may cut back their working hours by fifty percent, but Henkel will continue to pay benefits equivalent to the former number of working hours.

Sabbaticals are also available and are individually designed. Henkel also offers guaranteed re-entry following a maternity leave of up to six years.

Health Promotion and Protection: Henkel strives to promote good health and long-term capacity to work. Henkel allows individual locations the ability to design health programs specific to their local requirements.

Henkel insists on high safety, health and environmental standards. To ensure all employees comply with these standards, regular workshops, newsletters and health and safety days are held and distributed. Employees who work for external companies are also included in these activities.

Henkel's health department offers consulting services regarding general health questions and ergonomic and safety measures in the workplace, provides emergency assistance on site, and offers physiotherapy and introductory medical check-ups.

Special health promotion events are held eight to 10 times a year. Some examples include skin cancer checks, colon or breast cancer detection, and a focus on mental health.

Diversity Promotion: Diversity and inclusion is a key element of Henkel's corporate strategy. The Global Diversity and Inclusion office is tasked with developing an implementation strategy and ensuring that strategy is followed. The two current focus points are age and gender.

A work-group is dedicated solely to managing the effects of demographic developments on Henkel's aging workforce. Particular emphasis is placed on health promotion as the retirement age has increased in recent years. This group also works to provide lifelong learning opportunities to older workers as they tackle continuing changes. To promote intergenerational cooperation, roundtable discussions are held frequently and a knowledge database is maintained. A mid-career review has also been introduced to help employees as they travel their career path.

Recruitment: Henkel maintains its goal of hiring a diverse workforce by stating in its Corporate Standard that the short list of candidates should be a diverse list. Qualification and potential have the strongest influence on Henkel's choices. In job postings Henkel does not discriminate and encourages a diverse group of applicants.

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