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CVS Caremark Snowbird Program

Retail trade
Large (20,000 or more)
For-profit
United States
Workplace flexibility
Snowbird Program:  A flexible work option that offers older workers the opportunity transfer to different CVS/pharmacy store regions on a seasonal basis.
2012

CVS Caremark Snowbird Program

2012

Industry: Retail trade
Profit Status:
For-profit
Region:
United States
Workforce Size:
215,000 employees

Workplace flexibility

The business drivers for CVS Caremark included:

  1. Projected shortages of younger workers in the future due to changes in workforce demographics.  The company was aware that by 2012, 19% of the nation’s workforce will be adults age 55 or older, yet the percentage of younger workers age 25-54 is expected to decline. These numbers suggest that there may be a shortage of workers available to fill positions in the coming years. 
  2. Recognition that customer demographics will be also changing.  Customer base in many regions will be comprised of older adults.  Mature workers can respond effectively to customer needs.
  3. Awareness of the importance of retaining trained, experienced mature workers, who already comprised over 17% of CVS Caremark’s workforce.

Goals  & Objectives

  • Increase retention rates among older workers.
  • Assure availability of experienced workers in geographic areas where there is seasonally-fluctuating customer demand.

Project Highlights

Key features of the program include:

  1. Older workers can transfer to different CVS/pharmacy store regions on a seasonal basis.
  2. Participation in the program is open to employees who work in a variety of positions, such as pharmacists, greeting-card specialists, cosmetic consultants, and photo supervisors. 
  3. The program is particularly popular among those who migrate from the northeast to Florida during the winter.

As of 2011, CVS Caremark estimated that about 1000 employees had participated in the program. The outcomes and impact of the CVS Caremark Snowbird Program include:

  • Significantly higher retention rates of older workers than the industry average.
  • The ability to better manage increased business in warmer-climate stores in the winter.
  • Increased loyalty of older customers, some of whom are snowbirds themselves. 
  • Over the past two decades, as a result of this program and other mature worker programs at CVS Caremark, the number of workers aged 50 and older has increased from 7% to 22%. 

Editor’s Note: The Sloan Center on Aging & Work recognizes that age is a multi-faceted concept. For a discussion of the aging experience, see our issue brief, Through a Different Looking Glass: The Prism of Age.  The innovative practices adopted by employers might address one or more than one of the different aspects of age.

CVS Caremark has a national reputation as a leader in the mature workforce strategies and the recruitment of older workers and received the 2007 American Society on Aging (ASA) Business and Aging Award.

For additional information, contact The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College: age.work@bc.edu


We would like to thank Abbott, AstraZeneca, Central Baptist Hospital, CVS Caremark, Marriott International, MITRE Corporation, and Wells Fargo for its sponsorship of this entry.

Copyright ©2012 Boston College The Sloan Center on Aging & Work

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