APA will present the 2006 Best Practices Honors at the Practice Directorate's State Leadership Conference this month. The Best Practices Honors is a national program that recognizes companies for particularly innovative programs and policies that foster a psychologically healthy workplace.

By focusing on groundbreaking programs and policies, the awards recognize solutions that can serve as models for other organizations, says David Ballard, PsyD, assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy in APA's Practice Directorate.

"It's important to note, however, that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a psychologically healthy workplace," warns Ballard. "There are a variety of things that a company can do to benefit their employees and enhance the organization. But the success of any workplace practice often depends on how well it's tailored to fit the specific needs of the organization."

The 2006 winners are:

  • Abacus Planning Group. After five years of service (and again after each subsequent five-year period) at this Columbia, S.C., financial services firm, each employee is eligible for a one-month sabbatical to pursue other interests, reflect upon the experience at Abacus, and either return reenergized or decide that they are ready for other pursuits.

  • Coleman Professional Services. Employees offered extensive input when this behavioral health services organization, based in Kent, Ohio, was designing a new facility for their intensive senior day program, which serves clients with multiple physical and mental health needs.

  • Downtown Honda. Employees at this Spokane, Wash., automobile dealership take part in an ongoing program of professionally facilitated group meetings that focus on quality improvement, team dynamics, priority-setting, decision-making and employee recognition.

  • Carl M. Freeman Associates. This Olney, Md., real estate development firm's Lunch Together program provides a professionally prepared, nutritious lunch to employees and guests four days a week to promote teamwork and cross-department communication and collaboration.

  • Highsmith. Through a comprehensive employee development program with a strong emphasis on health and well-being, this distribution company based in Atkinson, Wis., addresses employee issues that span mental health, child and elder care, parenting and career development.

  • NRG Systems. Employees at this Hinesburg, Vt., wind-measurement equipment manufacturer enjoy the company's new "green" office facility that is primarily powered by renewable energy. The facility is designed to maximize energy efficiency and facilitate group interaction and promote positive employee health behaviors.

  • Pacific Shipyards International (NISMO Division). This marine industrial maintenance company, based in Honolulu, has a comprehensive safety program for its high-risk work settings that includes task analysis and the development of safety protocols. Additional safety measures include simulations and the presence of an additional safety monitor whenever tasks are carried out.

  • Secunda Marine Services. This Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based offshore supply vessel operator focuses its comprehensive health and wellness program for employees and family members on nutrition, exercise and weight loss, smoking cessation and chronic disease prevention.

  • Stone Construction Equipment. At the beginning, end and periodically throughout each shift, this manufacturing company, based in Honeoye, N.Y., conducts interactive team "huddles"that involve employees in work-plan development and analysis, goal setting, progress measurement and employee recognition.

  • Trihydro Corporation. This Laramie, Wyo., engineering and consulting firm's Operational and Service Excellence Program focuses on health and safety, as well as employee training and development. Trihydro's health and safety intranet site includes informational resources and weekly health and safety quizzes on a variety of topics. Training and development efforts include both technical skills and personal development issues, such as communication, safety and stress management.

--Z. Stambor