March 8, 2012

APA Survey Finds Feeling Valued at Work Linked to Well-Being and Performance

Five organizations receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, nine honored for best practices

Washington, DC — Half of all employees who say that they do not feel valued at work report that they intend to look for a new job in the next year according to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). Conducted online among 1,714 adults between January 12 and 19, 2012 on behalf of the APA by Harris Interactive, the survey found that employees who feel valued are more likely to report better physical and mental health, as well as higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation, compared to those who do not feel valued by their employers.

Almost all employees (93 percent) who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88 percent reported feeling engaged. This compares to just 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of those who said they do not feel valued. Among employees who feel valued, just one in five (21 percent) said they intend to look for a new job in the next year (vs. 50 percent of those who said that they do not feel valued). A variety of factors were linked to feeling undervalued at work, including having fewer opportunities for involvement in decision making (24 percent vs. 84 percent), being less satisfied with the potential for growth and advancement (9 percent vs. 70 percent), having fewer opportunities to use flexible work arrangements (20 percent vs. 59 percent) and being less likely to say they are receiving adequate monetary compensation (18 percent vs. 69 percent) and non-monetary rewards (16 percent vs. 65 percent). Overall, more than one in five (21 percent) working Americans said they do not feel valued by their employers.

Stress at Work

Many Americans continue to report chronic work stress, with two out of five (41 percent) employees reporting that they typically feel tense or stressed out during the workday. Commonly cited causes of work stress include low salaries (46 percent), lack of opportunities for growth or advancement (41 percent), too heavy a workload (41 percent), long hours (37 percent) and unclear job expectations (35 percent).

Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

Despite ongoing business challenges and employment issues that are clearly ripe for improvement, according to the American Psychological Association some employers have seized the opportunity to create a healthy culture where employees and the organization can thrive. In recognition of those employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance, the American Psychological Association will recognize 11 organizations at its seventh annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington, DC, on Saturday March 10.

The employers who will receive the American Psychological Association’s 2012 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award are Noble-Davis Consulting (Ohio), ReMed Recovery Care Centers (Pennsylvania), Certified Angus Beef (Ohio), College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia and Coconino County (Arizona).

These employers reported an average turnover rate of just 11 percent in 2011 – significantly less than the national average of 36 percent as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 24 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 41 percent nationally, and 80 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their job vs. 70 percent in the general population. Additionally, 78 percent of employees said they would recommend their organization to others as a good place to work compared to 63 percent, and only 14 percent said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to 28 percent nationally.

“The business world is in the midst of a sea change,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community. Forward-thinking employers such as our 2012 award winners are taking steps to create a positive organizational culture where employees feel valued and, in turn, help drive bottom-line results.”

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards are designed to recognize organizations for their efforts to foster employee well-being while enhancing organizational performance. The 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 practices in the areas of employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance and employee recognition. Additional factors that are considered include employee attitudes and opinions; the role of communication in the organization; and the benefits realized in terms of both employee health and organizational performance. Awards are given to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations as well as government, military and educational institutions.

In addition to the PHWA winners, nine organizations will receive Best Practices Honors for a single program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. The honorees are Chimes Delaware, Newark Vocational Facility (Delaware), Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus (Arkansas), Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Northwest (Oregon), Koinonia Homes (Ohio), Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, LSS Financial Counseling Service (Minnesota) and Orion Associates (Minnesota). PHWA winners Certified Angus Beef, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia and ReMed Recovery Care Centers will also receive Best Practices Honors.

“The 2012 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners have implemented programs and policies that enhance functioning for both employee and employer,” says Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association. “Their efforts demonstrate the power of a healthy work environment and prove that any type of organization can create a psychologically healthy workplace.”

About the Survey

The Stress in the Workplace survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association between January 12 and January 19, 2012 among 1,714 adults aged 18-plus who reside in the U.S. and are employed full-time or part-time or are self-employed. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

A full methodology and more information about the 2012 PHWA winners and Best Practices honorees is available online at the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program Press Room. Organizations interested in learning more about creating a psychologically healthy workplace or applying for an award in their state, province or territory can visit the website of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., 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 154,000 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.