Health-Related Organizations Top AARP Best Employer List

Scripps Health, a major hospital and health care provider in Southern California, has been recognized as the top company in the 2011 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards program, a decade-long effort to acknowledge progressive policies and practices that are meeting the needs of the country's aging workforce. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people over 50.

Scripps, which succeeded the 2010 winner, Cornell University, is one of more than 20 healthcare-related organizations announced as best employers on Sept. 7, 2011.

The complete list includes:


  1. Scripps Health
  2. Cornell University
  3. National Institutes of Health
  4. First Horizon National Corporation
  5. West Virginia University
  6. The YMCA of Greater Rochester
  7. Atlantic Health System
  8. Mercy Health System
  9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System
  10. The Aerospace Corporation
  11. WellStar Health System
  12. MidMichigan Health
  13. City of Glendale, Arizona
  14. Massachusetts General Hospital
  15. Pinnacol Assurance
  16. Stanley Consultants
  17. Central Florida Health Alliance
  18. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  19. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  20. Brevard Public Schools
  21. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  22. Pinnacle Health
  23. TriHealth, Inc.
  24. Cianbro Corporation
  25. Securian Financial Group, Inc.
  26. Lee County Electric Cooperative
  27. Manheim
  28. Mason University
  29. Nevada Federal Credit Union
  30. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
  31. Michelin North America
  32. Saint Vincent Health System
  33. University of Massachusetts Medical School
  34. University of Southern California
  35. Cabell Huntington Hospital
  36. Virginia Commonwealth University
  37. Ochsner Health System
  38. FCCI Insurance Group
  39. Saint Barnabas Health Care System
  40. ACUITY, a Mutual Insurance Company
  41. S&T Bank
  42. University of Pittsburgh
  43. West Virginia University Hospitals
  44. Eastern National
  45. Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
  46. DentaQuest
  47. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  48. San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind
  49. Kaiser Permanente

This is by no means the first win for Scripps Health. The organization, which includes five hospital campuses and nearly two dozen clinics and coastal medical center sites, has been honored by AARP seven times since 2001. In addition to flex-time, a phased retirement program, and a formal job rotation program, Scripps has a strong wellness program and generous health benefits for retirees under and over age 65, and maintains an on-going relationship with retirees to facilitate placements as temporary positions arise.

Cornell University, which fell to second place in 2011 and is a six-time honoree, has a multi-pronged “Encore Cornell” program, which provides retirees with workforce opportunities in addition to enrichment activities and resources. “Encore Hire” and “Encore Volunteer” connect retirees with temporary employment and volunteer opportunities at the university and in the community. “Encore and More” provides retirees with information on resources, classes and events to support personal growth.

Finishing third, National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers broad health benefits and emphasizes financial education with pre-retirement classes and formal courses as part of a program that helps employees manage their finances at each stage in their careers. NIH participates in jobs fairs to target mature workers for openings.

“The organizations being honored by AARP appreciate that engaging and retaining older workers is crucial to succeed over the next decade,” said Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), in an article posted on the AARP site. “Inclusive people management strategies will be critical to business success and our nation as we deal with ongoing economic storms and strive to stay competitive globally.”

SHRM is a co-sponsor of AARP's Best Employer Awards Dinner, CEO Roundtable Luncheon, and thought leadership conference to be held in Chicago, September 13-14, 2011.

SHRM and AARP formed a partnership in 2010 to raise awareness about the implications of an aging workforce. One of the first outcomes of the partnership was the jointly published SHRM-AARP Strategic Workforce Planning Poll, released Nov. 17, 2010, which found that almost six out of 10 organizations had implemented or planned to implement programs in preparation for the expected retirement of workers from the Baby Boomer generation.

According to the 381 randomly selected U.S. based HR professionals who responded to the poll, the most popular strategies used to recruit and retain workers past traditional retirement age include offering part-time positions to older workers and hiring retired employees as consultants or temporary workers.

Flexible scheduling is the most popular benefit offered for older workers, followed by retirement savings and pension plans with specific provisions for older workers, the poll found.

U.S. employers with 50 or more employees are eligible to apply for the AARP award and are evaluated to ensure workplace practices meet the needs of mature workers in areas such as recruiting, training, education, career development, accommodations, workplace flexibility, phased retirement, employee health and retirement benefits, and retiree work opportunities.

The top 10 Best Employers will be profiled in the November 2011 issue of AARP: The Magazine.

More information about current and past winners and their practices, the selection procedure, and the international list of best employers can be found at

Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.