AARP Broadens Its Best Employers For Workers Over 50 Program To Offer Employees An Opportunity To Directly Recommend Innovative Employers For Award

Jun 26, 2012, 12:00 ET from AARP Illinois

In related development, AARP, SHRM Announce New Joint Sponsorship of the Program

CHICAGO, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For more than a decade, AARP has recognized employers with progressive policies toward older employees – the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards.

Now the non-profit has staked out new territory, for the first time offering older workers 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.

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 to, and file their recommendation.  The deadline for employee recommendations is September 30, with the awards scheduled to be announced next year after an extensive vetting process.

"The Best Employers program has honored a diverse group of private sector, public sector and non-profit employers for more than a decade," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director today in announcing the new initiative.  "Bringing employees directly into the process should broaden the outreach even more."

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.

Announcement of the new joint initiative was made today at the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference and exposition in Atlanta. Thirteen thousand human resource professionals are attending the event.

"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 Gallo.

"SHRM and its members have a unique perspective on employer policies around the country, a perspective that will help better pinpoint forward-looking practices," Gallo added.

AARP has independently produced the Best Employers program since 2001, awarding 11 Illinois companies since the program's inception. Such varied organizations as Argonne National Laboratory, Hanson Professional Services, Centegra Health System and Centers for New Horizons are among those that have been selected over the years.

The new joint effort is expected to increase the reach of the program by attracting more applications, and by sharing award winners' best practices with a broader audience.

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.  Final ranking is based on these scores after additional review.

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

Winners will be recognized at the annual SHRM conference in Chicago in June, 2013.