From a symphony orchestra in Maine to an architectural firm in Hawai’i, eight organizations across the United States and Canada have been named winners of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2019 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards.

The annual award recognizes employers who implement workplace practices, backed by psychological science, that advance employee health and well-being while increasing performance and productivity. 

The 2019 award winners are: Autosoft (West Middlesex, Pennsylvania), Beach Cities Health District (Redondo Beach, California), Bowers + Kubota (Waipahu, Hawai’i ), Community Health Options, (Lewiston, Maine), Liberty Puerto Rico (San Juan), Mascoma Bank, (White River Junction, Vermont), Multi-Health Systems (Toronto, Ontario), and Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine). 

These employers implemented a comprehensive set of practices that support a healthy, high-performing work environment. The eight organizations receiving the APA award outperform the national average in a variety of organizational outcomes. 

Combined, the eight organizations reported an average turnover rate of just 17 percent for 2018 compared to the national average of 44 percent as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 7 percent of employees report feeling more cynical and negative at work compared with 22 percent nationally. More than 80 percent of employees said they recommend their organization as a good place to work (82 percent), that the organization regularly communicates with employees (83 percent), and that the organization values training and development (83 percent).

“In a competitive business climate, many executives are thinking about workforce sustainability and how they can keep employees performing at their best,” said David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Office of Applied Psychology, which manages the Psychologically Healthy Workplace program. “Beyond simply equipping workers to weather the challenges of modern work life, forward-thinking leaders understand that they also need to take comprehensive steps to address the work environment. By cultivating a psychologically healthy workplace, our winners show that doing the right thing for workers can go hand in hand with business success.”

  • Autosoft is a decades-old auto dealer management system software company with a start-up mindset. Creativity and teamwork are encouraged through many activities, benefits and programs. Autosoft focuses on feedback and recognition throughout the year. Employees cross-train by shadowing colleagues in other parts of the company. 
  • Beach Cities Health District is among the largest preventive health agencies in the nation, and serves the communities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. It offers an extensive range of dynamic health and wellness programs, both for the community and its employees. Employees at all levels participate in strategic planning twice a year during half-day sessions where everyone has an equal voice. 
  • Bowers + Kubota is an employee-owned architectural and engineering firm that serves a wide variety of clientele on the major Hawai’ian islands. Commitment to employees begins on the first day. All new employees are assigned a coach to help them ease the transition into the company for the first six months. The firm has ranked high in client satisfaction for the last six years with an average score of 4.7 out of 5.
  • Community Health Options is one of four Affordable Care Act-created consumer-operated and -oriented insurance plans remaining in the nation. The company is widely recognized for its Workplace Flexibility and Transition Program for older employees. There are no formal performance appraisals, and employees receive eight hours of paid time off each year for preventive health appointments.
  • Liberty of Puerto Rico is a telecommunications company that provides broadband Internet access, VoIP, and television services covering the entire island of Puerto Rico. Employees have a sense of ownership in the organization and seek continuous improvement for themselves and their teams. Liberty U-Corporate University features a faculty of 40 certified trainers who expose new hires to the industry and company. More than 65 percent of employees have a tenure of at least four years.
  • Mascoma Savings Bank, with 27 locations in New Hampshire and Vermont, is a mutually owned bank, which means it is chartered to serve the community and is not owned by stockholders. As a recently certified B Corp, Mascoma continues to work to improve throughout the year. The bank’s Better Than Best Committee reviews employee suggestions and initiates projects. The company’s annual employee turnover rate was 15 percent, compared with industry standard of 18 percent.
  • Multi-Health Systems is a leading publisher of scientifically validated assessments for more than 30 years, with products sold in more than 75 countries and translated into over 50 languages. MHS’ reputation for collaboration is illustrated by one of the most popular employee involvement activities, the company’s annual hackathon. Revenue has increased 15 percent on average per year, for the past five years.
  • The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) in Portland, is recognized to be one of the top orchestras of its size in the country. Staff work together to enrich the community, offering mutual respect, openness and collaboration. PSO has operated in the black for the past nine years, with a portion of the surpluses reinvested in staff and musicians through a professional development fund and staff bonuses.  

Organizations of all types across the United States and Canada can apply each year for APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. Applicants undergo a rigorous evaluation process that assesses their workplace practices. The evaluation process includes an application, an essay questionnaire, an employee survey and an in-person site visit. Recognition is given to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, as well as government, military and educational institutions.

Applications for the 2020 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards open on March 29. 

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes nearly 118,400 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 promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives.