March 10, 2008

Top Employers Show Investing in Health and Well-Being Leads to Business Success

Five organizations receive APA's psychologically healthy workplace awards, nine honored for best practices

WASHINGTON—Feeling overworked, underpaid, worried about job security and making ends meet, three-fourths of Americans say they are stressed about work and money. But workplaces that invest in the well-being of employees reap rewards for employer and employees alike, including benefits such as reduced stress, lower employee turnover and enhanced organizational performance.

At a ceremony in Washington DC yesterday, the American Psychological Association (APA) recognized five organizations for their comprehensive efforts to promote employee health and well-being, while enhancing organizational performance.

Companies presented with the American Psychological Association's 2008 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) were Arkansas Educational Television Network, Cooperativa de Seguros Múltiples de Puerto Rico, Nike Tennessee, Porter Keadle Moore (Georgia) and Westminster Savings Credit Union (British Columbia).

These five organizations report an average 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 show that only 21 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 34 percent nationally, and more than 80 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their job, compared to only 66 percent nationally.

“Creating a psychologically healthy workplace means more than just remediating problems. It's 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.

Winners also report cost savings from their workplace practices. At Westminster Savings Credit Union, high employee satisfaction and low turnover means that two thirds of WSCU's openings are filled internally, lowering administrative costs. Increased productivity is another benefit for the organizations. In 2007, Nike Tennessee increased productivity by 51 percent, while reducing injury rates by almost 30 percent. And at Cooperativa de Seguros Múltiples, an insurance company in Puerto Rico, employee loyalty is high with a 15-year average length of service and a turnover rate of less than two percent.

Psychologically healthy workplace practices fall into five categories: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work-life balance and employee recognition. Employee participation in decision making, skills training and leadership development, flexible work arrangements, and programs promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior choices are just a few of the qualities that define a psychologically healthy workplace.

In addition to the PHWA winners, nine organizations received Best Practices Honors for an innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment. The honorees are Alaska Pacific University); Ascend One (Maryland); Bethesda Hospital (Minnesota); Dayton Marriott (Ohio); The Holland/Burgerville (Washington); Hope Community Resources (Alaska) and Trinity Services (Illinois). PHWA winners Arkansas Educational Television Network and Westminster Savings Credit Union were also recognized as Best Practice recipients.

APA's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) program has both local- and national-level components. APA's PHWA 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 programs and policies in the areas of employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance and employee recognition. Awards are given to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations as well as government, military and educational institutions.

Best Practices Honors

The Best Practices Honors is a national recognition that highlights those local winners with a particularly innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. As with APA's PHWA, nominees come from a pool of previous local winners and are selected through a competitive evaluation and judging process.

More information about the PHWA winners and Best Practices honorees is available at APA Press Room Homepage. Organizations interested in learning more about creating a psychologically healthy workplace or applying for an award in their state, province or territory can visit www.phwa.org.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 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 psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.