According to the American Psychological Association, a psychologically healthy workplace fosters employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity. Psychologically healthy workplace practices can be grouped into five categories:
1. Employee involvement When employees have the opportunity to be involved they create a sense of ownership over their work. This includes making decisions that impact their jobs and problem solving without management stepping in.
Employee involvement can include things like being part of committees, teams and social work groups. It can also include having places where employees can offer ideas and give feedback, such as suggestion boxes or forums.
Why it’s good for employees: The benefits of employee involvement are major and include increased morale and job satisfaction, less turnover, less stress and a greater commitment to the company.
Why it’s good for employers: Employees that feel as though they have a stake in the organization are more productive, produce a higher quality of work, and are less likely to leave their job or call in sick.
2. Work-life balance
It is extremely important for employees to work for a company that values their life outside of work. According to a recent study by Accenture, work-life balance is the key factor in a successful career for more than half of men and women. Most ranked it above money, recognition and autonomy.
Flexible work options are the most common example of work-life balance and can include telecommuting, job sharing, and working non-traditional hours. Other examples include onsite child care, on-site work-out facilities and allowing pets in the office.
Why it’s good for employees: Employees’ quality of work suffers when they feel conflicted or stressed out about trying to manage work and their personal lives. Finding a happy balance can also improve morale and increase job satisfaction
Why it’s good for employers: Increased productivity. Employees are more apt to work harder for an employer that respects the quality of their lives outside of work.
3. Employee growth and development
Providing opportunities for employees to learn and gain new skills include both internal and external training opportunities, tuition reimbursement programs and other specific skills training. Coaching and mentoring are key aspects of growth and development as they lead to employees achieving their personal goals which often include advancement in their careers.
Why it’s good for employees: Giving employees a chance to increase their skills and capabilities yields more confident and competent employees. Employees feel like their employer is investing in them when there are opportunities to learn and advance
Why it’s good for employers: Quality employees do quality work. It’s a good return on the investment when companies have well trained and highly developed employees to promote and advance within the organization.
4. Employee recognition
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, two of the most valuable psychological needs of human beings are the need to be appreciated and the need to belong. It doesn’t really matter how recognition is given, whether it be through a simple thank you, a monetary award or a plaque; the most important thing being is that it is done, and is done regularly.
A recent Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker study demonstrates the importance of recognizing and valuing employees. Results show that the majority (55%) of U.S. workers would leave their job for a company that better recognized their efforts. The same study also showed a direct correlation between employee recognition and retention.
Why it’s good for employees: Being recognized for work well done increases job satisfaction and gives employees a sense of pride in what they are doing.
Why it’s good for employers: Employees are more productive, motivated and engaged when they feel appreciated.
5. Health and Safety
Health and safety mean not only reducing physical injuries and harm, but promoting good mental health for employees. Training on safety and security risks in the job, wellness programs that promote good physical and mental health, good health insurance and available resources to employees such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are some examples of promoting a safe and healthy work environment.
Why it’s good for employees: Improved overall well being means employees are better able to perform in their jobs, manage stress and stay healthy.
Why it’s good for employers: Reduction in health insurance costs and work related injuries and lower rates of absenteeism. Healthy employees are also more productive.
In 2008 and 2011Orion Associates received a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, presented by the Minnesota Psychological Association.