October 9, 2003 - Companies Honored for Psychologically
Healthy Workplace Practices, American Psychological Association Salutes Best Practices Honorees
WASHINGTON D.C. - October 9, 2003 - New employee hiring teams, programs that involve employees in making business decisions and even unorthodox policies such as allowing dogs in the workplace are just a few of the innovative best practices companies nationwide are implementing in an effort to create better places for their employees to work, according to a new publication released today by the American Psychological Association (APA).
These business best practices came to light as part of APA's new national recognition program - "The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award: Best Practices Honors," which recognizes companies for innovative programs and policies that support psychologically healthy work environments.
ARUP Laboratories of Salt Lake City is one of the 15 companies nationwide honored for their ongoing commitment to workplace health and well-being. ARUP was selected for its free, on-site medical clinic which has done more than keep its employees and their families healthy - it has kept the company healthy, too, by raising employee morale and retention.
"These companies and their best practices serve as a model for corporate America, which is beginning to understand that employees are their best asset," says Russ Newman, Ph.D., J.D., the APA"s executive director for professional practice. "A little investment in psychologically healthy workplaces can pay big dividends in years to come. Creating a psychologically healthy workplace is not just the right thing to do for employees' wellbeing; it's also the smart thing to do for an organization's financial wellbeing and productivity.
A 2002 study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide provides evidence supporting the link between better people management and better financial performance, using a measurement called the Human Capital Index. Many of the companies being honored for their workplace best practices also report that they have seen their efforts pay off financially. For example, the Arkansas Educational Television Network's team hiring program lead to reduced employee turnover.
Each of the organizations honored was nominated for the national recognition by their state's psychological association. Each organization had already been selected as a winner in their respective states' Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. They were nominated for the national honor because of a unique program or policy that stood out from among the rest. Since 1999, the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award program has been given to businesses and organizations at the state level for business practices that foster a psychologically healthy work environment for employees. The annual award program implemented by 28 states highlights a variety of businesses and organizations from large to small, profit to non-profit. The judging process evaluates applicants on the following four criteria: employee involvement; family support; employee growth and development; and health and safety.
As part of this national recognition program, the honored companies and their programs are featured in a new magazine-style publication produced by APA. A brief description of each of the honorees' innovative programs is included in the publication that can be viewed and downloaded from the APA's web site at www.APAPractice.org.
APA announced the honors during the Institute for Health and Productivity Management's (IHPM) 3rd Annual Health and Productivity Management Awards on October 7, 2003 in Scottsdale AZ.
"This is a must-read for managers interested in looking for cost-effective ways to boost employee morale or the bottom line, or both," says Sean Sullivan, IHPM president and CEO.
Studies show companies not only benefit from their psychologically healthy workplace practices, they pay a very real price for inaction. A report from the Journal of Occupational Health and Medicine shows that health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress. These expenditures are even more significant given the fact that corporate healthcare costs continue to accelerate with no slowdown in sight. According to a recent survey by Mercer, there was a 14.7% increase overall in 2002 in corporate healthcare costs.
"In many cases, the Best Practices demonstrate that psychologically healthy work practices make for more productive employees," says Newman. "In addition to honoring them for their achievements, we are showcasing these unique programs to demonstrate to others there are many things that can be done to create psychologically healthy workplaces."
Free On-site Health Clinic Raises Morale
Utah - ARUP Laboratories' free on-site clinic has done more than keep its employees healthy - it has kept the company healthy, too, by raising employee morale and retention. The clinic is part of this Utah-based company's extraordinary benefit plan available to all employees who work more than 20 hours per week, their eligible dependents and domestic partners. The clinic treats approximately 600 people per month for everything from routine physical exams to urgent care such as flu, abdominal pain, etc. ARUP also has a separate on-site pharmacy available.
ARUP Laboratories, which has grown to nearly 1,500 employees since its inception in 1984, operates 24 hours, seven days a week to provide clinical reference laboratory services for patients and physicians from Salt Lake City to the East Coast.
One positive side effect of the on-site clinic is the positive local and national media exposure the company has received, which, in turn, has created a substantial increase in the number of job applications. In 2002, ARUP received more than 11,000 applications for employment for approximately 350 positions. The company was named one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" in January 2003. In July, Health magazine named them one of the "Top 10 Healthiest Companies for Women."
The most recent employee satisfaction survey revealed that 58 percent of respondents felt that the benefits package had a "high influence" on their decision to join ARUP and 84 percent indicated that the benefits package had a "high influence" on their decision to remain employed at ARUP. It also showed that more than 80 percent of employees were satisfied with the "overall" clinic and that they enjoyed the convenience and ease of using it.
Both the company and the employees benefit because medical help is sought sooner, so that unattended problems don't become more serious. It takes less time for employees to visit the clinic than leave for an office visit, so there is improved productivity. ARUP's cost to run the clinic is approximately $400,000 and company officials estimate that it saves roughly $500,000 per year in comparison to insured health services off site.
Mark Owens, Ph.D.
Co-Chair, Utah Psychological Association, Committee for Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards
Rock Mountain Psychological Center
2005 E. 2700 S., Suite 180
Salt Lake City, UT 84109-1759