AARP announced on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 the list of U.S. companies that were named as the best employers for workers 50 and over. Centegra Health System, Woodstock, IL, was named to the list as one of only 35 companies to receive the award. Each year AARP conducts a review of American business and industry to find innovative programs and practices that create an environment supportive of older workers. Two other Illinois firms were named to the list including Deere and Company and Zurich North America.
In making the announcement AARP singled out Centegra’s “Alumni Nurse Program as an innovate way of keeping retired employees actively involved in an organization. “The program provides an opportunity for retired nurses to return to the hospital and share their talent and skills in numerous roles working with staff, patients, and families,” noted Barbara Jo Johnson, Senior Vice President for Human Resource Development. Bonnie Bayser, a current Alumni Nurse at Centegra stated, “It is a privilege and a great opportunity to still be able to make a difference in patient lives as well as helping colleagues in my retirement years.” Ms. Bayser has over 43 years in nursing.
In its 2004 report AARP noted three significant findings among this year’s top employer list including efforts to attract and retain the right workforce, leveraging their areas of business focus to offer programs that support a maturing workforce, and innovations that engage mature workers and recognize the unique contributions that age and experience bring to the job.
In making its selections AARP evaluated recruitment practices, continuing opportunities for advancement, flexible work schedules, and benefits for current and retired employees. Of the Illinois firms named to the list approximately one quarter of their combined workforce is made up of workers 50 and over. State AARP president Evelyn Gooden stated, “Older employees will play a crucial role in filling future job demands. The creative practices today’s winners have in place can serve as a model for employers seeking a winning strategy to recruit and retain the mature workforce.”
Centegra Health System is committed to providing the highest levels of service quality and has focused on making enhancements to the workplace to attract and retain the best and the brightest employees. In the past two years Centegra has been noted for significant achievements in employee retention and Workforce Commitment Index as measured by the Loyalty Institute of Aon Consulting.
Centegra Health System President and CEO Michael S. Eesley stated “as we continue to strive to make Centegra a great place to work, we do so through the dedication and commitment of our Associates, physicians, and leadership. The progression made toward our organizational vision includes the creation of a quality work environment for all individuals. We measure our success through a number of indicators; however, the greatest indicator is by observing the appreciation of every patient we serve.”