How AARP creates benefit plans for a multigenerational workforce where the average age is 50

he American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen
AARP is personalizing its benefits to cater to all ages within its workforce.
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Marjorie Powell was already intimately familiar with AARP when she became the company’s CHRO in 2018. As a caretaker of three relatives, she used the nonprofit organization’s informational resources for elderly family members to better understand the intricacies of the health care system and the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Now, she’s working to offer those same benefits to AARP employees.

Powell spoke with Fortune about catering to a multigenerational workforce, supporting caregivers, and creating meaningful benefits offerings at a company where the average age of employees is a hair under 50.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Fortune: Companies are balancing the needs and expectations of five generations in the workplace. What is the makeup of AARP’s workforce?

Marjorie Powell: We have about 2,700 employees, including our contingent labor. We pride ourselves on having a multigenerational workforce because we like for our workforce actually to look like and represent the people we serve. It’s important that we reflect those who are 50-plus and that we value that demographic. But at the same time, we have potential members emerging into that category and smart talent at the beginning of their careers.

Each generation wants something different from their employer in terms of support. How do you navigate this?

Our benefits and programs are based on the lifecycle of an employee. If I were coming into AARP in my twenties, I might still be concerned about student loans. Beginning my career journey, I’d want to know that I could grow in my job and be promoted. I also might consider continuing my education and capitalizing on our tuition assistance program. Thirty-somethings might be in the family planning stage, and we know that individuals in their early 40s are in that sandwich generation where you have children, you’re planning for college, but you also are starting to adventure into the caregiving role for aging parents. Meanwhile, employees who are 50-plus are more focused on being ready for retirement. 

Whenever we roll out a benefit, we ask whether we’re looking at it from a spectrum of ages. That’s why we encourage other employers to add age to their diversity metrics.

What are some examples of benefits AARP has implemented with age in mind? 

It’s made us think about things like childcare. And not only childcare for children under 18 but after-school programs and tutors. And eldercare, of course. In addition, we have caregiving leave and parental leave that covers the span of different types of families. 

What about supporting employees through life events like menopause? 

Our philosophy is that we should support this as a medical condition, just like we would do for anyone going through any other medical treatment plan. Employees should be able to work with their managers for doctor’s appointments and time off. People are going to experience that process differently. Not every woman experiences menopause the same way—science tells us that—so it’s critical to have flexibility.

We also have meditation rooms and break rooms where someone can take time to get some rest if dealing with sleep deprivation. We know that’s one of the symptoms women go through sometimes during menopause or perimenopause.

Amber Burton

CHRO Daily will be back on Tuesday, May 30, after the Memorial Day weekend.

Reporter's Notebook

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Return-to-office rates might be higher, but so are attrition rates, according to a recent report from workplace design firm Unispace. 

“Seventy-two percent of companies surveyed say they have mandated office returns, and almost half (42%) now report a higher level of employee attrition than anticipated,” writes Fortune’s Sheryl Estrada.

Around the Table

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- As Memorial Day weekend approaches, a small but growing number of companies are experimenting with “work-from-anywhere” weeks. Bloomberg

- New York state lifted its COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers. CBS

- Service industry workers missed the flexible work boom, leaving them overworked and understaffed. Washington Post

- Tech companies are considering cutting 401(k) and health benefits after cutting perks like free lunch and laundry services. Insider

- The case for returning to the office should focus on friendships at work rather than productivity. Listen time: 16 min. Financial Times


Everything you need to know from Fortune.

No more CVs. Random House, the world’s largest publisher, doesn’t use résumés in the hiring process, instead using skills tests to evaluate job candidates. —Orianna Rosa Royle

Think of the children. Some state lawmakers want to weaken child labor laws to let children work longer hours in more dangerous jobs. —Harm Venhuizen

RTO pay cut. Moving to a fully in-person job would make an employee just as likely to quit as getting a 3% pay cut, according to research from the Federal Reserve. —Jane Thier

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