The American Psychological Association (APA) will recognize six employers for their efforts to promote employee well-being and organizational performance at its 10th annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2015.
APA selected American Express as the inaugural winner of its new Organizational Excellence Award, a national recognition designed to highlight the effective application of psychology in the workplace. Through its Healthy Minds program, American Express has taken broad steps to integrate behavioral health and emotional well-being into its health and wellness offerings, including expanding its employee assistance program, addressing stigma and providing a wealth of resources for employees. These efforts are bolstered by a powerful blend of peer-reviewed science, evidence-based practices, professional partnerships for quality resources and services, pilot testing and rigorous evaluation to deliver the best and broadest range of resources and information to its geographically and culturally diverse workforce.
Five other employers will receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award for their comprehensive set of practices that support a healthy, high-performing work environment — Beehive PR (Minnesota), LaSalle Network (Illinois), Team Horner (Florida), Beach Cities Health District (California) and Hilltop Community Resources (Colorado).
What the employees say
At these five winning companies, more than 8 out of 10 employees say the organization values employee involvement (84 percent), work-life balance (86 percent), training and development (91 percent) and employee recognition (91 percent). Well-being plays a central role in these organizations, with 92 percent of employees reporting that their organization promotes and supports a healthy lifestyle and similar numbers saying the organization provides adequate resources to address their mental health needs and help them manage stress (85 percent each). The average turnover rate for these five organizations is about half the national average and only 8 percent of their employees say they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to more than triple that number (27 percent) nationally.
“Creating a psychologically healthy workplace can have a big impact,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “Not only do employees feel valued and heard, they’re also more likely to participate in health and wellness offerings, share the organization’s values, have higher levels of job satisfaction and say they are more motivated to give it their all.”
A wellness philosophy
As one of the largest preventive health agencies in the nation, Beach Cities Health District also applies a wellness philosophy to its own workforce. In addition to the agency’s innovative Life Planning program, frequent staff meetings foster a safe work environment in which staff openly share their ideas and the organization underwrites educational assistance, professional association memberships, certifications and conferences at no charge to the employee. With full support of their employer, 50 percent of full-time employees volunteer at local nonprofits, on boards or on committees.
Twin Cities public relations firm Beehive PR prides itself on honest and direct communication, from client prospecting to agency marketing, culture development and even recruitment. Despite its small size, Beehive takes wellness seriously and offers free, 24/7 access to a fully stocked workout room and a dedicated quiet room that provides employees with a refuge for recharging their energy and creativity. The company’s commitment to wellness and competitive compensation has paid off. With only three voluntary separations in the past 36 months, the agency performs significantly better than the industry average.
Mental health, nutrition addressed
Hilltop Community Resources provides direct services ranging from prenatal care to assisted living to more than 20,000 individuals in Colorado each year. One way Hilltop encourages team spirit is through company committees that address issues including event planning, safety, wellness and environmental sustainability. Hilltop also regularly revamps its benefits package to better meet employee needs, including recently reducing copays for mental health visits and nutrition counseling to $10. Many employees say that working at Hilltop is a way of life. In a recent survey, 100 percent of employees said that the work of Hilltop makes a difference.
LaSalle Network, a Chicago-area professional staffing and recruiting agency, values its staff and those efforts pay off in robust employee morale, productivity and retention. In an industry that is plagued with high turnover, LaSalle’s turnover rates are exceptionally low and its absenteeism rate is close to nonexistent. Currently, 80 percent of the management and 50 percent of the leadership teams have been promoted from within. And good policies have netted healthy profits — LaSalle has demonstrated a growth rate of 900 percent over the last decade.
At Florida-based Team Horner, a privately owned swimming pool and spa distributor, the company’s employee-driven “Color Me Healthy” initiative includes more than 35 programs that address emotional and physical health. Team Horner grants flex time on an individual basis for family and health issues and expecting mothers work flexible hours in the later stages of pregnancy, then work remotely after the baby is born. Ninety-four percent of Team Horner employees said they feel they can openly communicate with their supervisor and 25 percent of employees have been with Team Horner for 10 years or longer.
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 award program 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.
The Psychologically Healthy Workplace and Organizational Excellence Awards are part of a public education initiative from APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. To learn more about the award winners and how to create a work environment where employees and organizations thrive, visit the APA Center for Organizational Excellence website.