Website of the Week: APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program

Especially given this week’s observance of Freedom from Workplace Bullies Week 2011 (October 16-22), it’s fitting to highlight the American Psychological Association’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program (PHWP).

The PHWP describes itself this way:

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program (PHWP) is a collaborative effort between the American Psychological Association and the APA Practice Organization, designed to educate the employer community about the link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance. ThePHWP includes APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards, a variety ofAPA Practice Organization resources, including PHWP Web content, e-newsletter, podcast and blog, and support of local programs….

The website contains a lot of useful, free content, and merits some time spent exploring. A few highlights:

Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards

Each year, the PHWP recognizes a small number of employers across the nation for creating psychologically healthy workplaces:

Nominees are selected from a pool of previous local winners and evaluated on their workplace practices in the areas of employee involvement, health and safety, employee growth and development, work-life balance and employee recognition.

You may go here for further descriptions of the 2011 Award winners:

  • Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus (Arkansas)
  • eXude Benefits Group (Pennsylvania)
  • San Jorge Children’s Hospital (Puerto Rico)
  • First Horizon (Tennessee)
  • Northeast Delta Dental (New Hampshire)
  • Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, Northwest (Oregon)
  • The MITRE Corporation (Virginia)
  • City of Grand Prairie (Texas)

Current Good Company newsletter highlights workplace bullying

At the website, you also can sign up for a free subscription to the PHWP’s online newsletter, Good Company.

The lead article in the October 19 issue is Dr. Donna M.L. Heretick’s “Recognizing and Confronting Workplace Bullying,” which gives a solid overview of the topic and concludes with a suggested model for organizational responses:

A step-wise model of mandated responses might be:

  • “Informal intervention” for single incidents of unprofessional behavior;
  • Level 1, “awareness intervention” where a pattern of behavior is being identified;
  • Level 2, “authority intervention” where the pattern continues; and,
  • Level 3, “disciplinary intervention” where there appears to be no improvement after previous interventions or the first offense is notably egregious (Hickson, Pichert, Webb, & Gabbe, 2007).

Personal kudos

I’m a fan of the PHWP for personal reasons as well as professional ones.

One of my earliest blog posts mentioned the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. However, rather than crediting the APA for creating an awards program using important, relevant factors, I criticized them — in a somewhat snarky tone — for what they didn’t measure, then proceeded to announce what criteria I thought were important.

Yup, I had used a cheap straw man tool to make a point. But instead of taking this law-professor-turned-organizational-psychology-commentator to task, Drs. David Ballard and Matthew Grawitch of the PHWP left a collegial, even-handed comment, thanking me for my post and explaining why the APA used certain criteria in making the awards.

As someone new to blogging, their response was a gracious lesson to me in healthy online dialogue. Since then, on several occasions Dave Ballard and the PHWP have featured posts from Minding the Workplace on their Facebook and Twitter pages and blog. In short, they walk the talk, and I am very appreciative.

4 responses

  1. David: Thanks for the kind words. I have to say that I’m a regular reader of your blog, and I very much enjoy the insights you bring and your work in moving the conversation forward. Please continue all the good work you do.

  2. David – Thank you for featuring our site and for your kind words. As a fan of your blog and the important work you do, I’m glad we’re connected, appreciate the exchanges we’ve had and look forward to future collaborations.The interdisciplinary nature of our approach is critical. These are big, complex issues and many different groups bring things to the table — psychology (I-O, consulting, clinical, counseling, health, occupational health, social), HR, public health, management, medicine, health promotion, nursing, law, behavioral economics and others. We’re all in this together and the inclusion of diverse perspectives strengthens the program and our collective efforts.

    • David, that interdisciplinary perspective is invaluable. I know, for example, that I/O psychology and occupational health psychology have significantly enhanced my understanding of relevant legal issues. You folks are helping to bring people together into the room, literally and figuratively, and that’s a huge service.

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