Psychologically Healthy Workplaces Good for Business

March 21, 2008 ( - Winners of the American Psychological Association's 2008 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) provide evidence that workplaces that invest in the well-being of employees enjoy benefits such as reduced employee stress, lower employee turnover, and enhanced organizational performance.

An Association press release said psychologically healthy workplace practices fall into five categories: employee involvement; health and safety; employee growth and development; work-life balance; and employee recognition. Qualities that define a psychologically healthy workplace include: employee participation in decisionmaking, skills training and leadership development, flexible work arrangements, and programs promoting healthy lifestyle and behavior choices.

The five winning organizations report an average turnover rate of just 11% – significantly less than the national average of 40% as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the release said. Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 21% of their employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 34% nationally, and more than 80% of the winners’ employees reported being satisfied with their job, compared to only 66% nationally.

Winners also report cost savings and increased productivity from their workplace practices. Examples in the release included:

  • At Westminster Savings Credit Union, high employee satisfaction and low turnover means that two thirds of WSCU’s openings are filled internally, lowering administrative costs.
  • In 2007, Nike Tennessee increased productivity by 51%, while reducing injury rates by almost 30%.
  • At Cooperativa de Seguros Multiples, an insurance company in Puerto Rico, employee loyalty is high with a 15-year average length of service and a turnover rate of less than 2%.

The other two winners were Arkansas Educational Television Network and Porter Keadle Moore in Georgia. In addition to the PHWA winners, nine organizations received Best Practices Honors for an innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment.

Details on the Awards and Honors winners and their best practices are here .

More about the Awards program can be viewed at .