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The Dow Chemical Company - Dow Retiree Health Empowerment Program

Added on 22-03-2013

Company

The Dow Chemical Company

Year

Since 2007

Business challenge

Dow values its relationship with retirees both for their past contributions and their present role as ambassadors for the company and advocates for sustainability.

As part of the company Health Strategy, Dow is committed to the health of its retirees, along with its employees, spouses and family members. Because retirees are no longer part of the workplace and even relocate to other communities, it is challenging to maintain regular connectivity and facilitate participation in company health activities.

Description

The Dow Retiree Health Empowerment Program connects retirees to information, activities, and programs that empower them to take charge of their own health.

Retirees are educated on age‐appropriate health topics and are introduced to tools and resources that they can use to improve their wellbeing. They are invited to participate in Dow’s global health promotion activities and programs, and are encouraged to support one another and engage their communities in living healthier lifestyles.

Tips for implementation:

  • Engage ageing workers while they are still employed and help them see that engaging in their good health will be an important part of their lifestyle through retirement.
  • Leverage and support other retiree‐centric company outreach (e.g., Public/Government Affairs, Pension/Benefits) and employee wellbeing programs, as well as public health initiatives targeting the wellbeing of ageing adults.
  • Create retiree health champions to reinforce the program locally and serve as role models for other retirees. This increases credibility and expands the program’s reach.
  • Identify specific ways that retirees can engage in community health and sustainability activities. Recognize their contributions and successes.

Impact

Engaging such a geographically dispersed population is a significant challenge. The program relies heavily on electronic communication (e‐mail, website), which has limited reach and impact for this age group.

Tips to maximize impact for electronic communications:

  • Communicate about topics specifically relevant to the older adult; go beyond the standard health messages to emphasize their unique impact for this age group.
  • Maximize opportunities for face‐to‐face interaction to build relationships and credibility.
  • Promote and coordinate with local and national public health resources specific to healthy aging.
  • Provide easy access for feedback and questions. Be available and accessible.

Challenges/Lessons learned:

Benefits for the Company:

  • The Retiree Health Empowerment Program represents an investment in retirees and their health. Continuing this investment post‐employment encourages company satisfaction and loyalty and demonstrates our Dow values of “respect” and “integrity.” In a 2009 survey, over 70% of retirees agreed that the Retiree Health Empowerment Program helps them feel like a valued member of the Dow family. These retirees, in turn, are more likely to serve as advocates for the company and for health and sustainability in their communities.
  • The program also sends a positive and motivating message to ageing workers – that Dow will retain its commitment to them post‐retirement.

Benefits for Older Employees (+45):

  • The prevalence of chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, cancer, diabetes) nearly doubles every decade for adults aged 45‐75; in fact, older adults are living with at least one chronic condition. The Retiree Health Empowerment program engages them in a proactive approach to address the increased health concerns and financial burden they will likely experience after retirement, and provides an avenue for remaining connected to the company through participation in wellbeing programs.

Benefits for the rest of the Employees:

  • The program provides a connection between generations of Dow employees and retirees. It also reinforces Dow’s lifelong commitment to their wellbeing.

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