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Get Ahead of the Competition With Benefits That Appeal to Older Workers

Tips to improve benefits or introduce new ones to attract skilled and experienced workers.

For example, Scripps Health, an eight-time Best Employer, offers learning and development programs to full- and part-time employees, such as tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training and certification classes. Employees must work at least 16 hours per week to be eligible for the tuition reimbursement benefit. Moreover, Scripps’ Clinical Mentorship Program gives highly skilled clinicians the opportunity to serve as role models and teachers within each patient care unit.

The YMCA of Greater Rochester, a seven-time Best Employer, offers Mentoring Across Generations that helps employees understand the culture of the organization and gain expertise in specific disciplines. They also offer in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, regional training events, and reimbursement of professional membership dues to full- and part-time employees.

These Flexible Work Options Attract Workers 50-Plus

Create passport or snowbird programs that allow employees to work in different parts of the country. Many employers are already doing this, says Roselyn Feinsod, an Aon Hewitt partner specializing in issues facing older workers. She points to Home Depot and CVS as examples.

"Present the option of shorter shifts,” adds Feinsod. This may be especially appealing to employees whose job requires them to stand on their feet all day, such as nurses or cashiers.

Some other unique ideas? Atlantic Health System, a six-time Best Employer, allows retirees in the 1000 Hour Club to return to work either on a part-time or per diem basis three months after retirement. Mercy Health System, a seven-time Best Employer, offers a Work to Retire program that allows employees age 50-plus with five years of service the opportunity to work reduced, pool or work-at-home schedules, and employees age 55-plus with 15 years of service can work seasonally while maintaining full-year, part-time benefits.

Moreover, offering flexible work options for caregivers will definitely attract older workers. In fact, 65.7 million caregivers account for 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged. And 70 percent of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties due to their dual caregiving roles. The National Institutes of Health, a four-time Best Employer, including the top-ranked winner in 2013, offers employees paid time off that is specifically designated for caregiving. The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program allows participating federal employees to share their accrued annual leave with others.

Companies can also develop temporary employment opportunities where employees act as consultants. Tim Phoenix, former principal at Deloitte Consulting in Austin, Texas, knows of a large manufacturing company that offers such opportunities to engineers, who are in short supply. They're hired for various projects throughout the year and can work as much or as little as they want. Some work three months a year, spend the winter in Florida, then return to work for another two-month project. "It's the idea that people work very intensively for short periods of time," he says. "It's a tremendously good practice in the high skills area like [with] executives or management level [employees] where it can be project-driven."

Or consider telecommuting, increasing in popularity, which offers many benefits to both employers and employees. With the rapid advances in information technology, working from home has become a very popular option for many members of America’s workforce. Telecommuting provides workers with the flexibility, convenience and financial savings that they desire, while increasing productivity and job satisfaction. In fact, by 2020, approximately 60 million Americans are likely to be telecommuters.

Next page: Allow employees to test-drive retirement. »

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