Feature

On March 9, APA's Practice Directorate presented its annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and Best Practices Honors to organizations that promote employee health and well-being, while also enhancing organizational performance. The directorate presented the awards at its annual State Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. (See the May Monitor for a full report on the conference).

With support from APA, state, provincial and territorial psychological associations have presented state-level awards since 1999.

APA's program showcases the best from the state-level winners, with this year's nominees coming from the pool of 2006 and 2007 state-level awardees. Nominees were evaluated in the areas of employee involvement, work-life balance, employee growth and development, health and safety, and employee recognition.

"Creating a psychologically healthy workplace is about promoting good health, enhancing performance and creating a work environment where both employees and the organization can thrive," says David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA's assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy. "We congratulate our winners and hope that their examples encourage others to focus on the positive and keep looking forward."

APA's 2008 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners are:

  • Not-For-Profit: Cooperativa de Seguros Múltiples de Puerto Rico. This nonprofit insurance company based in San Juan makes every effort to provide an extraordinary work environment that promotes the well-being of employees, as well as social and cultural growth in Puerto Rico. The company's initiatives include a health and wellness program that has been in place for more than 20 years, a one-year leadership development course that teaches useful skills, and an extensive collection of Puerto Rican contemporary art, displayed in the main office for public viewing. The result: Cooperativa de Seguros Múltiples reports high employee loyalty; the average length of service is 15 years, and the turnover rate is less than 2 percent.

  • Small For-Profit: Porter, Keadle, Moore, LLP. This Atlanta-based accounting and consulting firm promotes healthful living at work by offering fresh organic fruit and low-fat, low-calorie snack options as well as sponsoring running and tennis teams. The firm also offers leadership training and meetings with a corporate psychologist to help employees grow professionally. The result: Employees are aligned with the firm's mission丼 percent agree that client satisfaction is the top priority, and 97 percent report they are proud to work for the firm.

  • Medium For-Profit: Westminster Savings Credit Union. Based in New Westminster, British Columbia, this credit union offers various opportunities for employees to contribute, learn and excel, which keeps them healthy and engaged in their work. For instance, employees regularly participate on committees, regular "stay interviews" measure employee engagement, and stress-busting massages help employees relax and feel appreciated for their efforts. The result: Westminster Savings Credit Union's low turnover rate (less than 9 percent in 2006) led to its top ranking in a national credit union benchmark consortium. In terms of employee engagement, in 2006, 73 percent of employees participated in at least one company event or program, and 66 percent of job openings were filled internally.

  • Large For-Profit: Nike Tennessee. As the largest link in Nike's U.S. supply chain, this worldwide footwear, apparel and equipment distributor in Memphis works hard to improve employee health and satisfaction. To that end, they provide a cafeteria and on-site fitness center, mental health coverage, a formal mentoring program, online chat rooms for employee feedback and an emphasis on promoting from within. The result: 80 percent of the work force feels what they do is worthwhile and turnover among employees is just over 12 percent. In 2007, Nike Tennessee increased productivity by 51 percent and reduced injury rates by nearly 30 percent.

  • Government/Military/Educational Institution: Arkansas Educational Television Network. This state agency and provider of public television programming based in Conway, Ark., is dedicated to promoting lifelong learning and improving the lives of Arkansas employees and citizens. Its "Family First" philosophy promotes work-life balance, and employee involvement is bolstered by the organizational culture of approaching projects as a team. Employees also have access to tools to help them reach their wellness goals and may give and receive recognition through the organization's "Kudo Bucks" program. The result: Average employee tenure is more than 10 years, and almost half of employees have served between 10 and 35 years.

2008 Best Practices Honorees

  • Alaska Pacific University. Every other Friday employees leave the office at 3 p.m. to participate in "Fridays Out and About," a program that gets faculty and staff outside and involved in physical activities that take advantage of Anchorage's beautiful terrain.

  • Arkansas Educational Television Network. A team approach to accomplishing the network's goals and projects has been so successful that it is now ingrained in the organizational culture as employees budget together, plan together and even celebrate together.

  • Ascend One. For this Columbia, Md.-based financial services company, telecommuting is serious business. Fifty percent of contact center employees work from home. As a virtual team, they are able to provide customers with access to quality service across time zones while maintaining a schedule that works for them.

  • Bethesda Hospital. The employee incentive program used at this St. Paul, Minn., rehabilitation hospital, "Bethesda Recognizes and Values Our Employees" or "BRAVOe," uses gift cards to recognize accomplishments. Employees can earn $200 or more per year in rewards.

  • Dayton Marriott. To promote continuing education for hourly workers, the Ohio-based hotel established an on-site learning program that transformed a conference room into a tutoring center where employees can receive two hours of tutoring a week within their regular work schedule at no personal cost.

  • The Holland/Burgerville. Employees who have been with the Vancouver, Wash.-based restaurant chain for more than six months and work an average of at least 20 hours per week are eligible for an innovative health-care plan that covers over 90 percent of the health-care premiums for employees and their dependents.

  • Hope Community Resources. As the largest provider of services to people with disabilities in Alaska, Hope offers employees free, half-day emotional wellness seminars conducted by a staff psychologist. Employees can attend on the clock to learn skills and strategies to stay psychologically fit in an emotionally demanding job environment.

  • Trinity Services. This Joliet, Ill., social service agency's safety incentive program exemplifies the organization's community approach to maintaining a safe and rewarding work environment. The program draws on behavioral theory and industrial-organizational models of safety assurance to promote an accident-free workplace.

  • Westminster Savings Credit Union. Employees at this financial services company in New Westminster, British Columbia, are involved in developing and implementing the organization's employee survey, as well as interpreting the results and identifying target areas for change.

Further Reading

For more information about the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program and the workplace practices of these winning organizations, visit www.phwa.org.