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Starting in 1999, the American Psychological Association (APA) has supported state, provincial, and territorial psychological associations by helping them recognize local businesses with the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. In 2006, the APA presented its first annual National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. Candidates for the national award each year are selected from the pool of previous state-level winners.
There are five areas evaluated when choosing businesses that qualify for an award. How many does your employer excel at?
1. Employee Involvement
Employees who feel involved in the business and are treated like a necessary component are more empowered and tend to do a better job. In other words, employee involvement increases productivity and organizational performance.
Examples of involving employees include teams or committees of workers who self-monitor their team's progress, being a part of the decision-making process in your workplace, and bosses that welcome employee suggestions. If there is a suggestion box in your place of work, the manager is involving you.
2. Employee Growth and Development
Employee growth and development programs tend to increase motivation and job satisfaction. This in turn increases quality of work and is beneficial for the organization as well as the worker.
Tuition reimbursement programs and continuing education are great for employee development, but so are mentoring and in-house training opportunities. Are there people where you work who are happy to help you, answer your questions, or support your desire to learn more? Alternatively, are you in a position to mentor a new hire?
3. Employee Recognition
Recognition may take many forms, some are monetary and others are not. Showing appreciation for worker efforts and worker accomplishments increases motivation and self-esteem.
Certainly, fair pay and a good benefits package send clear signals about just how much you are valued, but somebody noticing you did well, or how much you improved, contributes to a psychological healthy workplace. If your boss says, "Thank you," it probably makes a difference.
Health and Safety
If you have ever been asked to stand on a rickety ladder, you will appreciate this one. It goes beyond appropriate safeguards and training in the workplace. Health and safety includes things such a smoking cessation programs and access to a recreational facility. The APA considers the health coverage offered to employees; your employer will get points if the health coverage includes mental health.
5. Work-Life Balance
We all can appreciate how stressful it can be when work responsibilities and life responsibilities clash. Psychologically healthy workplaces recognize that workers have complicated lives outside of work. Assistance with childcare or eldercare, family leave that goes beyond the minimum federal requirements and, of course, flexible schedules or telecommuting opportunities contribute to a psychologically healthy workplace.
Tell Us What You Think
How psychologically healthy is your workplace? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.