APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. What Do We Notice?

Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance are best positioned for success in the economic recovery. At its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony this weekend, the American Psychological Association recognized five organizations for their comprehensive efforts to promote employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance: Leaders Bank (Illinois), Advanced Solutions (British Columbia), American Cast Iron Pipe Company (Alabama), Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (Florida) and Toronto Police Service (Ontario).

These five organizations reported an average turnover rate of just 9 percent in 2009 – significantly less than the national average of 41 percent as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 30 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 41 percent nationally, and 73 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their jobs, compared to only 65 percent nationally. Additionally, 67 percent of employees said they would recommend their organizations to others as a good place to work, compared to 54 percent nationally and only 12 percent said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to 31 percent nationally.

“Creating a psychologically healthy workplace takes a firm commitment in the best of times.” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA’s assistant executive director for marketing and business development. “The five award winners have implemented programs and policies that reap rewards for both employee and employer alike,” adds Dr. Ballard.

American Cast Iron Pipe Company reports positive health outcomes including more than 320 employees who have quit smoking, approximately 1,200 who have begun an exercise program and more than 600 who have lowered their blood pressure to within normal limits. At Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare employees have made significant strides in morale, job satisfaction and work efficiency and the company has seen major improvements in its customer relations, operating margin, turnover and productivity. At Leaders Bank, since the rollout of its wellness program, sick day utilization has decreased with employees now using an average of only 1.4 sick days per year.

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 practices that contribute to a psychologically healthy workplace.

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