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Best Employer Awards Add New Twist

Nine Michigan employers have captured AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards for their progressive policies toward older employees since the recognition program was launched more than a decade ago.

See Also: AARP Best Employers for Workers 50+

Volkswagen of America Inc. in Auburn Hills leads the way with five honors, followed by Mid-Michigan Health in Midland and Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak with four awards each and then two apiece for Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor and Oakwood Healthcare System Inc. of Dearborn. The other Michigan winners are Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Kelly Services Inc. of Troy, Northern Michigan Regional Health Systems of Petoskey and St. John Health of Warren.

“MidMichigan Health, as a health care organization, is service driven, and our employees are our most valuable resources,” said Lynn Bruchhof, vice president of human resources at MidMichigan Health, which was the sole state employer honored in 2011. “We draw from the expertise and talent of workers of all ages, including mature workers, to fulfill our staffing needs. The fact that AARP recognized and honored MidMichigan Health for building a multi-faceted employee base shows that AARP understands, as we do, the important value of mature workers."

AARP Michigan is expecting state employers will be competitive again this year when a new wrinkle will be introduced to the program: For the first time older workers will have an opportunity to directly recommend their employer for the prestigious honor. Once the brief recommendation form is filed, AARP will invite the employer to apply for the award.

“We’re pleased that Michigan employers have fared well,” said Melissa Seifert, AARP Michigan Associate State Director for Economic Security.

“The Best Employers program has honored a diverse group of private sector, public sector and non-profit employers for more than a decade in Michigan and across the country,” Seifert added. “Bringing employees directly into the process should broaden the outreach even more.”

In the past, AARP has conducted a broad search for outstanding employers, garnering as many as 200 or more applications for Best Employer designations.

This year, individual employees for innovative employers may go online and file their recommendation. The deadline for employee recommendations is Sept. 30, with the awards scheduled to be announced next year after an extensive vetting process.

In another major Best Employers development, AARP is joining with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management, in sponsoring the program as it begins the application period for the 2013 search.

“We are delighted that SHRM will be joining us as we move forward with an important program that both identifies innovative employers and serves as a model for others seeking to better meet the needs of experienced workers,” said Jacqueline Morrison, AARP Michigan State Director.

AARP has independently produced the Best Employers program since 2001.

The Best Employers search examines organizations that offer policies and practices that appeal to workers 50 and over, including flexible work options, training opportunities, and competitive health and retirement benefits.

Any employer with at least 50 employees and headquartered in the United States is eligible to apply for the honor. This includes for-profit companies, not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions and local, state, and federal government agencies.

An independent research firm and a panel of judges comprised of national experts score applications.

Employers who offer progressive workplace policies that meet the needs of workers 50 and over should apply for the 2013 awards before Nov. 12, 2012 at or SHRM.

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