ATLANTA — AARP is teaming up with the Society for Human Resource Management to find US employers that offer the best workplace for employees age 50 and over.

SHRM will be working with the nonprofit to seek out applicants for the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards, an initiative that began in 2001.

The decision was announced Tuesday at SHRM’s annual conference and expo in Atlanta. A reported 13,000 attendees were at the show.

AARP’s move to partner with SHRM is expected to increase the reach of the program by attracting more applicants, and by sharing award winners’ best practices with a broader audience, according to a press release.

“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 A. Barry Rand, AARP’s CEO in a statement.

Award considerations include employer offerings such as 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, nonprofit 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 older should apply for the 2013 awards before Nov. 12, 2012 at www.aarp.org/bestemployers or www.shrm.org/aarp.   

SHRM and AARP also announced findings from a survey of older workers. The survey found:  

  • Nearly eight in 10 (78 percent) said that financial reasons (including health insurance) were the primary motivation for working or looking for work now. About one in five (19 percent) said the primary reason was non-financial, such as enjoyment or the desire to be productive.      
  • More than three quarters (77 percent) of employed 50-and-over workers said they plan to remain in their current job until they stop working completely. A smaller percentage of unemployed workers (52 percent) said they would prefer to find a job in the same field as their previous job. Just over one in four (27 percent) unemployed workers said they would prefer to find a job in a different field, and nearly one in five (18 percent) said they would prefer to start their own business.