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AARP's Best Employers

This article accompanies When Junior's in Charge

Monday, February 7, 2011
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By 2016, one-third (33.5 percent) of the total U.S. workforce will be age 50 or older, up from 28 percent in 2008.

As the proportion of younger workers continues to decline, attracting and retaining mature, experienced 50-plus employees is becoming increasingly crucial for organizations that seek to remain competitive in today's changing economy.

Now celebrating its 10th year, the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 program seeks to recognize and share the best practices of the growing number of U.S. employers that are developing progressive policies and practices for managing the aging workforce.

The assessment is scored using an algorithm that takes into account an employer's recruiting; workplace culture; career opportunities and training; workplace accommodations; health, retiree, wellness and financial benefits; and other programs.

The selection of the AARP Best Employers consists of three steps:  a screening process, review by a panel of outside judges and a due-diligence component.  The screening process includes an assessment of each company's application by an independent survey firm, with guidance provided by AARP, and each employer receives a score based on its answers to certain questions in the application.

At the conclusion of the screening process, applicants with the lowest scores are eliminated, and applicants with the highest scores are forwarded to an independent panel of outside judges comprised of experts on aging workforce issues. 

During the review, the judges apply an additional set of points to evaluate certain open-ended questions, the points each applicant receives and the judges' review. Together, these form each applicant's final score.

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Although the judges play a critical role in determining the final list, the application assessment during the screening process is very important because the score is approximately 80 percent of each applicant's final score and plays a large role in determining which applicants are forwarded to the judges. 

All employers that apply to the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 receive tailored assessments and talent-management recommendations with respect to their applications after judging is completed. Additionally, employers selected as AARP Best Employers receive additional benefits, including national and local media recognition.

The application period for the 2011 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 is open now, the deadline is Feb. 10. Included are highlights of past employer's workforce practices and a description of the selection process.

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