Prudential Financial is being honored for its efforts to promote psychological well-being for its employees, as well as its work to destigmatize mental health issues within its own work culture and beyond.

The American Psychological Association (APA) has selected Prudential Financial as the recipient of its Organizational Excellence Award, a national recognition designed to highlight the effective application of psychology in the workplace. 

Four other employers will receive APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award for their comprehensive set of practices that support a healthy, high-performing work environment — Hill Brothers (Puerto Rico), University Health Alliance (Hawai’i), Utah Foster Care and Waimānalo Health Center (Hawai’i). The awards are presented annually by APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence.

Prudential’s comprehensive employee health strategy includes an emotional component, which is key to the company’s efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues, remove barriers associated with stigma and encourage meaningful dialogue. The company put into place a dedicated behavioral health services team that offers counseling, referrals and training to help employees and supervisors better manage mental or emotional health concerns. A companywide health risk assessment taken by employees has demonstrated that their efforts are working: Each year since the first assessment in 2007, the risk factors for stress and depression have steadily declined.

On average, at the four companies receiving Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, at least three-quarters of employees say the organization values work-life balance (89 percent), training and development (89 percent), employee recognition (82 percent) and employee involvement (75 percent). Well-being plays a central role in these organizations, with 94 percent of employees reporting that their organization promotes and supports a healthy lifestyle and approximately three-fourths say the organization provides adequate resources to address their mental health needs (76 percent) and help them manage stress (74 percent). The average turnover rate for these four organizations is less than a third of the national average.

“Organizations that cultivate a psychologically healthy workplace show that employers can both care about their employees and reach their business goals. They are better-equipped to adapt to challenging or uncertain times,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “In organizations like those recognized as this year’s award winners, employees feel more valued, more involved and more motivated to do their best.”

Hill Brothers is one of the largest distributors and importers of fresh fruit and vegetables in Puerto Rico. Employees at every level lead committees (such as customer service, health and safety, emergency response team and food safety) that organize and coordinate companywide activities. The company’s efforts to keep employees involved also benefit the community, such as working with a local college to feed donated produce to rescued manatees. Hill Brothers’ in-house development academies in leadership, supervision and sales allow employees to hone their skills and learn new ones.

University Health Alliance is a health insurance company that credits its employees for the company’s greater-than-90-percent average in customer service satisfaction ratings, while consistently growing revenues each year. The company abandoned the traditional performance-management system and adopted an employee coaching model that has been instrumental in increasing employee morale, productivity and growth. Employees receive monthly reimbursements for wellness-related purchases, and 2.5 hours paid leave weekly to exercise or take a health-related class. 

Utah Foster Care (UFC) is a nonprofit that finds, trains and supports Utah families to provide homes for abused or neglected children. It’s work that is challenging and demanding, which is one reason UFC values focusing on employee self-care, so they can better care for others. The organization adopted flexible scheduling so employees may work from home, on the road or in a satellite location. They also permit new parents to bring their infants to work. In the case of child care problems, older children can spend the day with their parent. First-year employees can accrue up to five weeks of paid time off.

Waimānalo Health Center is a federally qualified health center that provides primary and preventive health services with special attention to the needs of Native Hawaiians and the medically underserved. For employees, the center’s wellness committee offers year-round programs plus an annual allocation of $200 for each staff member for health-related purchases. The health center hosts several cultural activities (such as classes in Hawaiian language, hula and native healing herbs and plants) that help employees stay connected to the community and people they serve.

APA plans to present the awards at its annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace and Organizational Excellence Awards ceremony on Thursday, March 23.

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 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 American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence webpage.