Employee Appreciation to Wellness: How 4 Companies Won Awards for Psychological Health

Posted by on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 with 0 Comments

Last weekend in Washington D.C., the American Psychological Association recognized the recipients of its ninth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. The APA, the nation’s leading psychological professional organization, defines a psychologically healthy workplace as one that “…fosters employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance and productivity.”

employee meal at large table

Office celebrations and employee recognition are key to a psychologically healthy workplace.
Image source: Flickr user CPXi

Large or small, every company can work to promote the health and well-being of their employees — and they should! Research has shown that healthy, happy employees are more productive, and cost employers less when it comes to missed work and health care.

The APA’s awards are based on five categories: employee involvement, work-life balance, health & safety, employee growth & development, and employee recognition. Get a jump-start on your company’s psychological health by learning a few lessons from this year’s honorees:

Chicago-based Tasty Catering won in the small for-profit business category, largely because of their commitment to education and recognition. The company puts a huge emphasis on employee education, with an in-house Tasty Catering University providing company-sponsored classes and courses like “Finance Basics”, “The Greening of Tasty Catering”, and “How We Do That”. Every employee logs 40 hours per year in these professional development classes, and Tasty Catering also offers English classes to their Spanish-speaking employees. The company also pays for all kinds of certifications and licenses, regardless of whether the recipient drives a catering truck or is an executive-level employee.

Additionally, Tasty hosts weekly staff lunches every Wednesday. But that’s not all: on the third Wednesday of every month, the weekly lunch becomes a special affair to celebrate work anniversaries — honorees design their own menus for the day, receive a $50 check for each year worked, and listen as colleagues share stories about their positive contributions. Now that’s employee recognition!

employee with birthday cake

Recognizing personal milestones can boost employee satisfaction and engagement.
Image source: Flickr user KaiChanVong

In the small non-profit division of the APA awards, Ohio’s Certified Angus Beef took home the prize thanks to its emphasis on employee involvement and wellness. The organization holds regular retreats, team-building training, and biweekly breakfast meetings across departments to encourage communication in all directions. Certified Angus Beef often makes employee recognition a special focus at their breakfast meetings, and also hosts after-hours events like patio parties with live music, ice cream, and — of course — steaks. Despite their red-meat credentials, however, Certified Angus Beef also puts a premium on wellness: they cover gym memberships for employees, and even employ an on-site wellness coach who leads workouts, and a bimonthly weight-loss management group.

The award-winning large non-profit, Minnesota-based hospital group St. Luke’s, takes their employee recognition program to an admirably high level. The company holds an annual Employee Services Awards Dinner, solely for the purpose of recognizing hundreds of individuals, supplemented by a weekly newsletter and monthly team recognition program. St. Luke’s seems to have a clear understanding that employee appreciation isn’t just about a lavish celebration: it has to be part of the company’s culture every day.

employee wellness fair

Physical wellness is a component of psychological health.
Image source: Flickr user U.S. Army Materiel Command

University of Southern California won the government/military/education category of the APA awards, and they’re an outstanding organization, however we’re drawing our final tip from a special “best practices” honoree:  wellness agency Beach Cities Health District. This small organization, which provides health programs and services to coastal communities in Southern California, really practices what they preach. They created their Thrive to 5 Challenge to encourage staff members to participate in at least five wellness activities over three months, with a focus on both physical and mental well-being. From activities like gardening classes to more abstract challenges like completing a personal goal, BCHD hoped that the initiative would support its employees’ health while encouraging social bonding among employees with shared interests. It worked: a post-challenge survey showed that every single employee felt supported in their efforts to be healthier.

From wellness to recognition to work-life balance, creating a psychologically healthy workplace can be an inspiring process! And if you decide to incorporate staff breakfasts, employee recognition dinners, or just weekly lunch-and-learns within your company, the food delivery experts at Waiter.com are standing by to support your efforts. From easy online ordering to prompt delivery right to your office, Waiter.com takes care of all the details so you can focus on your employees and their well-being!

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