APA award lauds employers' focus on worker well-being
- The American Psychological Association (APA) named its 2019 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards winners, which range from a small, Pennsylvania-based non-profit tech company to a symphony orchestra in Maine. The organizations were selected for being exceptional workplaces in advancing employees' health and well-being, with backing from psychological science, while raising productivity and performance above the national average, APA said.
- Winners had, on average, a turnover rate of just 17% in 2018 compared to the national average of 44%, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among employees, only 7% of those at APA's winning employers reported feeling cynical and negative at work compared with 22% nationally. More than 80% of workers at awarded employers said they recommend their organization as a good place to work, whereas only 62% do so nationally. Eighty-three percent of the winning employer group said their organizations regularly communicate with them, and the same amount said that their organization values training and development.
- A competitive business climate may be prompting executives to consider workforce sustainability and employee engagement, David W. Ballard, director of APA's Office of Applied Psychology, said in a statement. "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."
Seventy-eight percent of employers in a 2017 Virgin Pulse survey agreed with the APA that employee well-being is a critical business component. This study and other pieces of research may suggest a correlation between employees' overall well-being and their organizations' financial performance.
The APA grants its healthy workplace award to employers that maintain as stress-free a workplace as possible. In a 2017 survey, the APA found that change can cause employees enough distress to make them distrustful and ultimately leave their job. Workers in the survey undergoing change were twice as likely to experience chronic stress than those not facing change. This information may prompt employers to treat changes with transparency in order to avoid causing worker stress.
Research has pointed to other elements of work and life that can stress out workers, which include performance-based pay, work overload, lack of development opportunities, money problems, and caregiving responsibilities. HR can lead efforts to create a healthy workplace by pushing for benefits and perks — such as paid family leave, financial and mental health wellness programs and work-life balance initiatives — that alleviate such stressors.