Washington, DC., -- Faced with skyrocketing healthcare costs, global competition and economic uncertainty, organizations are looking for the competitive advantage that will give them an edge in the marketplace. Some organizations are leading the way in creating a workplace that does more than just improve organizational performance and productivity. These employers are building a strong, vibrant organizational culture that supports the organization itself. They are creating a psychologically healthy workplace.
As part of a new national awards program, six organizations -- ARUP Laboratories (Utah), IBM's T.J. Watson Research Center (New York), Versant (Wisconsin), Great River Health Systems (Iowa), The Comporium Group (South Carolina) and Green Chimneys School (New York) -- were recognized for implementing a comprehensive array of programs and policies that foster a psychologically healthy workplace. The American Psychological Association (APA) presented these companies with a National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award at a ceremony in Washington, DC on March 4.
In addition, ten companies received a Best Practices Honor for an innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment. The honorees are Abacus Planning Group (South Carolina), Coleman Professional Services, (Ohio), Downtown Honda - Spokane (Washington), Carl M. Freeman Associates (Maryland), Highsmith (Wisconsin), NRG Systems (Vermont), Stone Construction Equipment (New York), Trihydro (Wyoming), Secunda Marine Services, (Nova Scotia, Canada) and Pacific Shipyards International's NISMO Division (Hawaii).
"Many employers now recognize that the key to success lies in their own workforce and understand that employee health and well-being and organizational performance are inextricably linked," says Russ Newman, PhD, JD, executive director for professional practice at APA.
The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) program recognizes organizations that make a commitment to programs and policies that foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance. Psychologically healthy workplace practices fall into five categories: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work-life balance; and employee recognition. Some examples of organizational practices that help create a psychologically healthy work environment include: employee participation in decision making; skills training and leadership development; flexible work arrangements; programs promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior choices; programs to prevent and manage workplace stress; a priority placed on employee health and safety; recognition of individual and team performance; and comprehensive health care benefits that include access to mental health services.