Feature

You probably won't hear the refrain "Take this job and shove it" from employees of the 15 companies recognized in October by APA's Practice Directorate as part of its new national recognition program, "The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award: Best Practices Honors."

Why? Because on-site day care, free health clinics, new employee hiring teams and even policies such as allowing dogs in the workplace are just a few of the innovative practices these 15 companies have implemented to keep employees healthy and happy.

"These companies and their best practices serve as a model for corporate America, which is beginning to understand that employees are their best asset," says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, APA's executive director for professional practice.

The Best Practices Honors recognize companies for innovative programs and policies that support psychologically healthy work environments. Each year, state psychological associations honor companies with Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. Best Practices Honorees are state-level awardees that are then nominated by the associations for national recognition.

"The best practices are selected from a lot of things the company is doing--the state psychological associations pick a practice that really stands out for facilitating a psychologically healthy workplace," says Lisa Osborn, PsyD, assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy in APA's Practice Directorate.

The honored companies are diverse in their missions and in their best practices, but all are committed to workplace health and employee well-being. They are:

  • Arkansas Educational Television Network. This company's executive director instituted an innovative approach to hiring--teams that include the position supervisor, another member of the department and someone from an outside department are responsible for all aspects of hiring new employees.

  • Rogers, Joseph, O'Donnell and Quinn Lawyers. This California law firm blurs the lines of corporate hierarchy. Non-attorney staffers design their own performance reviews and can evaluate the attorneys too.

  • Reflexite Americas. This Connecticut company values communication--so much so that the cafeteria was purposely placed between the administrative offices and the factory so all levels of employees would convene in one place. And Reflexite also offers English as a second language courses to employees.

  • Nordic Construction. The company, located in Hawaii, allows injured employees time to recuperate and helps them ease back into work by doing light-duty work at community nonprofit organizations--all while receiving their normal compensation.

  • DSM Desotech. This Illinois firm had to downsize its work force. But with 120 days notice and help with job placement, employees who were laid off said the process was handled humanely.

  • BellSouth. The Kentucky company has established an Employee Satisfaction Team that has created an Employee Appreciation Day, formed an employee diversity group, changed company policies on employee discounts and refocused employee communications.

  • Hunter Douglas Inc. This New Jersey company's employee turnover rate is far below national averages, thanks to a new hire mentor program that helps employees adapt to the workplace.

  • Computer Associates. On-site Montessori child-care centers, staffed by master's-level teachers and consulting psychologists, keep employees who are parents satisfied and productive at this New York company.

  • Melrose Diner Inc. Teamwork is the motto at this Pennsylvania company. Teams consist of management and staff and are responsible for different aspects of operating the diner, such as customer service, employee recognition and menu development.

  • Southeastern Freight Lines. This South Carolina company conducts an annual anonymous employee opinion survey and involves employees in problem-solving on employee concerns after the survey results are scored by an outside consultant.

  • Southwest Airlines. The Texas airline is ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," in part because of its "University for People" that provides its 35,000 employees with leadership and professional development opportunities.

  • ARUP Laboratories. This Utah company offers employees a free, on-site health clinic, which has kept employees--and their morale--healthy.

  • Small Dog Electronics Inc. The Vermont firm allows employees to choose the music played in the office, and work areas are painted in vibrant colors. Breaks are encouraged, and the company even lets employees bring pets to work--and offers pet insurance.

  • SRA International Inc. Employees at this Virginia company can contribute to and draw from a sick-day bank. The pool is used to cover employees who have major medical illnesses or are in need of crisis benefits.

  • Washington State University Vancouver. The university fosters a sense of community on its large, 340-acre campus with an employee recognition program.

APA announced the Best Practices Honors during the Institute for Health and Productivity Management's (IHPM) annual awards ceremony in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Oct. 7. IHPM--whose mission is to promote health in the work place--is an ideal organization to support APA's Best Practices Honors project, says Osborn.

"They have long recognized the link between psychological health and overall health and see the need for integration of the two," Osborn explains. "APA's relationship with IHPM opens doors for us in the business community in terms of our mission to promote the value of psychology and psychological services."

According to Osborn, IHPM Chief Executive Officer Sean Sullivan told conference attendees that the organization plans to help promote APA's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award as it moves forward on the national level.