State Leadership Conference

Creating a healthy workplace is not a one-size-fits-all process, said work-force expert and author Tamara Erickson, MBA, the keynote speaker at the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and Best Practices Honors ceremony at the 2008 State Leadership Conference.

"I'm a big believer in workplaces meeting the particular needs of their employees," she said. "A healthy workplace pays wonderful dividends for those companies that are able to achieve it."

Those benefits include increased innovation and collaboration among employees, greater customer satisfaction and, in many cases, reduced costs and healthier bottom lines, noted Erickson.

Host David Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA's assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy, opened the proceedings with a video compilation of interviews with passersby about work-life balance. The results ranged from insightful to hilarious, but each demonstrated that "organizations do better when they value their employees'health and well-being," noted Ballard. Winners of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and Best Practices Honors are "employers large and small, for profit and not-for-profit, who are demonstrating that it's possible to optimize outcomes for employees and organizations alike."

Winners of this year's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and Best Practices Honors were recognized for their efforts to foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance. This year's national award winners are:

  • Porter Keadle Moore LLP, Atlanta.

  • Westminster Savings Credit Union, New Westminster, B.C.

  • Nike Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn.

  • Cooperativa de Seguros Múltiples de Puerto Rico, San Juan.

  • Arkansas Educational Television Network, Conway, Ark.

The five national winners report an average employee turnover rate of just 11 percent, significantly less than the national average of 40 percent, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surveys completed by the winning organizations also show that only 21 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress--compared to 34 percent nationally--and unlike the national average of 66 percent, more than 80 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their jobs.

In addition to the national winners, APA recognized 9 organizations with Best Practices Honors for having a single workplace program or policy that stands out for its facilitation of a psychologically healthy workplace. This year's best practices honorees are:

  • Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, Alaska.

  • Arkansas Educational Television Network, Conway, Ark.

  • Ascend One, Columbia, Md.

  • Bethesda Hospital, St. Paul, Minn.

  • Burgerville, Vancouver, Wash.

  • Dayton Marriott, Dayton, Ohio

  • Hope Community Resources, Alaska.

  • Trinity Services, Joliet, Ill.

  • Westminster Savings Credit Union, New Westminster, B.C.

Companies increasingly recognize that healthy organizations must include programs and processes that contribute to employees'psychological well-being, noted Barry Forbes, CEO of Westminster Savings Credit Union, which took home both National and Best Practices honors.

"But there is a phrase in management thinking called the knowing-doing gap," he continued. "Most companies know what to do, but fall short on actually doing it. We turn that knowledge into action and what a surprise--it works. Low turnover and active employee participation [equal] highly satisfied members and customers and great corporate results."

-L. Meyers

Further Reading

To learn more about the award winners, see the article in the April issue of the Monitor or go to www.phwa.org.