Intel: Employee Health and Professional Development � Through Retirement

Apr 4, 2012, 7:20 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

Late last year, NewPublicHealth spoke with Marc Freedman, MBA, CEO and Founder of Civic Ventures, about the “encore career movement”—a new stage of life and work that combines necessary continued income with new meaning and a chance to create social change. “One of the real challenges from people moving into this period is how you get from what’s last to what’s next. A lot of people are being discouraged, especially in this economy, when they are spending time and money to find themselves in these do-it-yourself ventures,” said Freedman. “We’re interested in trying to create better pathways for people in something that’s really distinct from retirement and the stage of work.”

To that end, Civic Ventures partnered with Intel to pilot the Encore Fellowship program, which provides paid, part-time, yearlong assignments working at local nonprofits, and is open to all Intel employees who are eligible for retirement. NewPublicHealth recently spoke with Amber Wiseley, U.S. Retirement Benefits Program Manager, and Julee Weller, U.S. Health Benefits Program Manager, both at Intel, to find out more about the Encore program, as well as the company’s broader approach to employee health and wellness.

NewPublicHealth: What is Intel’s overall approach to health and wellness for employees?

Julee Julee Weller, U.S. Health Benefits Program Manager, Intel

Julee Weller: Intel is strongly committed to developing a culture where employees and their families are healthy, productive, and engaged in living wellness-oriented lifestyles every day.

Intel has developed a portfolio of health benefit plans and wellness programs designed to encourage employees to evaluate, improve, and maintain their health and the health of their families. Intel’s award-winning wellness program, Health for Life, is designed to inspire and motivate employees to take action toward achieving their best possible health and quality of life. The program includes onsite primary care (providing employees convenient access to quality care at low cost), onsite biometrics, annual health assessments, fitness programs, wellness seminars, flu prevention, and personalized wellness coaching.

NPH: Have you seen increased productivity or other business or economic benefits from your wellness efforts?

Julee Weller: Yes, Intel has observed year over year improvements in lifestyle risk factors for cohort groups. Intel wellness program participants also consistently score program satisfaction above 90 percent.

NPH: The Encore Career Fellowship Program at Intel tackles a different element of employee satisfaction—help for planning the transition from retirement to a new, meaningful stage of life. The program helps retirement-eligible employees connect with a social change organization and provides support through that transition to springboard to an “encore career.” Tell us more about that.

Amber Wiseley Amber Wiseley, U.S. Retirement Benefits Program Manager, Intel

Amber Wiseley: Intel is piloting the Encore Career Fellowship Program because we believe it fits exceptionally well with Intel’s U.S. Retirement Services’ goal of making the important life transition beyond midlife work into a positive experience for its workers and the company. We believe the program provides a new source of experienced talent to organizations solving critical social problems, while offering those who have finished midlife careers the chance to transition to encore careers in the nonprofit sector. The program underscores the changing nature of retirement; retirement from midlife careers no longer marks the end of work and contribution, instead it marks the beginning of a new, encore stage of life.

These fellowships will enable retiring U.S. employees to transition into retirement by working part-time at a local nonprofit. The fellowship pays $25,000 and six months of COBRA coverage for 1,000 hours of employment at the nonprofit. To date, we have received over 60 applications for fellowships and have matched the first four Encore fellows with a nonprofit. In addition, we have received positive feedback from employees of all ages and believe this program clearly adds to our goal to be a great place to work and a great place from which to retire.

NPH: What kind of transition support is available through the program?

Amber Wiseley: In addition to the stipend and COBRA coverage, this program is a resource for our employees. Employees are able to work directly with a third party that is focused on matching their skills and interests with the needs of local non-profit agencies. During the process, the applicant also receives resume and interview coaching and will also have the option of joining a local cohort with other Encore fellows, helping to expand their network and learn from their peers.

NPH: What does success look like for Intel with this kind of program?

Amber Wiseley: We will be successful if the program eases the transition for employees into retirement and simultaneously supports the community. We also hope this program will influence the ability for one to reimagine retirement. Our employees are extremely skilled and talented and we have every confidence that they will be able to continue making a positive impact on society once they retire from Intel, whether it be through this program or a different endeavor.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.