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Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards


by American Psychological Association

APA Recently Honors Four Organizations for Best Practices

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association recognized seven employers March 8 for their efforts to promote employee well-being and organizational performance at its ninth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington, D.C.

The four employers who received APA's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) are Tasty Catering (Illinois), Certified Angus Beef (Ohio), St. Luke's (Minnesota) and the University of Southern California.

These organizations reported an average turnover rate of just seven percent in 2013 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Additionally, only 15 percent of their employees say they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to almost double that number (27 percent) nationally.

More than 6 out of 10 employees of the winning companies say their employer promotes and supports a healthy lifestyle (66 percent) and values work-life balance (67 percent) and employee recognition (61 percent). Emotional well-being also plays a central role in these organizations, with around 7 in 10 employees reporting that the organization provides adequate resources to address their mental health needs (71 percent) and help them manage stress (69 percent), compared to just 45 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the general working population. In the award-winning organizations, almost three-quarters (74 percent) say they would recommend their organization to others as a good place to work compared to just 57 percent in the U.S. workforce.

"Creating a healthy, high-performing organization requires more than simply offering wellness activities or desirable benefits. Done well, psychologically healthy workplace principles become ingrained in the very norms, values and beliefs that are part of an organization's culture," said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. "Our 2014 award winners not only support employee well-being, they also link their workplace practices to strategic goals in a way that supports the organization's mission and drives performance."

Tasty Catering was recognized for its comprehensive programs including its culture-based leadership model, financial transparency and in-house training opportunities that include courses in business, English, sales, food science and professional development. For Tasty Catering, the benefits of such a culture go well beyond job satisfaction. In addition to high staff morale, the company has seen an increase in both sales and profits.

Certified Angus Beef stands out through its robust employee programs, incentives and development opportunities. This has resulted in employee referrals, high-quality applicants, a reduction in sick time and low turnover rates. The company's wide-ranging wellness efforts include bringing a clinical psychologist on-site monthly for stress management sessions and confidential one-on-one appointments at no cost to employees.

Minnesota-based hospital St. Luke's scores off the charts in employee retention, job satisfaction, health and morale. Employees have an active say in the policies that affect them and their patients through participation in staff-run committees, self-managed work groups, and problem-solving and continuous-improvement teams. These efforts have led to a decline in the number of workplace injuries and worker's compensation claims over time, despite an increase in the total number of employees.

The University of Southern California's comprehensive employee wellness program has reaped workplace benefits that include positive impacts on productivity, absenteeism, morale, recruitment success and turnover. Additionally, USC's Center for Work and Family Life serves as a hub for integrated services designed to help faculty, staff and their families find and preserve a healthy work-life balance.

In addition to the PHWA winners, three organizations received Best Practices Honors for a single program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. The 2014 honorees are Beach Cities Health District (California), Framework (Connecticut) and Porter-Starke Services (Indiana).

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards are designed to recognize organizations for their efforts to foster employee well-being while enhancing organizational performance. The program has both local- and national-level components. APA's award program spans North America and is designed to showcase the very best from among the winners recognized by APA's affiliated state, provincial and territorial psychological associations. Nominees are selected from a pool of previous local winners and evaluated on their workplace practices in the areas of employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance and employee recognition. Additional factors that are considered include employee attitudes and opinions, the role of communication in the organization and the benefits realized in terms of both employee health and organizational performance. Awards are given to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations as well as government, military and educational institutions.

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program is a public education initiative from APA's Center for Organizational Excellence. To learn more about the award winners and how to create a work environment where employees and organizations thrive, visit APA's Center for Organizational Excellence.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.