08:54am Saturday 30 May 2020

APA Survey Finds Many U.S. Workers Feel Stressed Out and Undervalued

Washington, DC — Despite promising signs of economic recovery, many employees feel undervalued and stressed out at work and many are dissatisfied with aspects of their job, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA). Conducted online on behalf of the APA by Harris Interactive between January 31 and February 8, 2011, the survey found that 36 percent of workers reported experiencing work stress regularly and almost half (49 percent) said low salary has a significant impact on their stress level at work.

Money may be on workers’ minds, but that isn’t the only reason the American workforce is unhappy. Employees also cited lack of opportunities for growth and advancement (43 percent), heavy workload (43 percent), unrealistic job expectations (40 percent) and long hours (39 percent) as significant sources of stress. Additionally, less than half of employees (43 percent) said they receive adequate non-monetary rewards and recognition for their contributions at work and only 57 percent reported being satisfied with their employer’s work-life practices. Just 52 percent of employees said they feel valued on the job, only two thirds reported being motivated to do their best at work and almost a third (32 percent) indicated that they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year.

Although these challenging times have been difficult for many organizations, according to the American Psychological Association, some employers have seized the opportunity to create a healthy culture where both employees and the organization can thrive. In recognition of those employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance, the American Psychological Association will recognize eight organizations at its sixth annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards in Washington,  D.C., on Saturday March 12. The ceremony will be broadcast live at 4:45 pm EST.

The employers who will receive the American Psychological Association’s 2011 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award are 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), and the City of Grand Prairie (Texas).

These employers reported an average turnover rate of just 11 percent in 2010 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 18 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 36 percent nationally, and 87 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their job vs. 69 percent in the general population. Additionally, only 6 percent said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to 32 percent nationally.

“The recession, combined with the changing nature of work, may have forever altered the employee-employer relationship, but as a nation we can do better,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, APA’s assistant executive director for marketing and business development. “Our 2011 award winners demonstrate how a positive organizational culture and a healthy, high-performing workforce can promote business success and a prosperous future.”

The Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards are designed to recognize organizations for their efforts to foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance. The program has both local- and national-level components. APA’s PHWA spans North America and is designed to showcase the very best from among the winners recognized by APA’s affiliated state, provincial and territorial psychological associations. 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. Additional factors that are considered include employee attitudes and opinions; the role of communication in the organization; and the benefits realized in terms of both employee health and well-being and organizational performance. Awards are given to for-profit and not-for-profit organizations as well as government, military and educational institutions.

In addition to the PHWA winners, nine organizations will receive Best Practices Honors for a single program or policy that that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. The honorees are Beach Cities Health District (California);Harbinger Partners (Minneapolis); National MS Society, Minnesota Chapter (Minneapolis);Tripler Army Medical Center, Department of Psychology (Hawaii); The University of Akron (Ohio) and VisitPittsburgh (Pennsylvania). PHWA winners eXude Benefits Group, First Horizon and City of Grand Prairie also received Best Practices Honors.

“Creating a psychologically healthy workplace is good for employees and business results,” says Norman B. Anderson, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association. “This is a growing trend and it is our hope that all organizations will eventually have some type of psychologically healthy workplace program.”

About the Survey

The Stress in the Workplace survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association between January 31 and February 8, 2011 among 1,546 adults aged 18+ who reside in the U.S who are either employed full-time, part-time or self-employed. 

A full methodology and more information about the 2011 PHWA winners and Best Practices honorees is available at the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program Press Room. Organizations interested in learning more about creating a psychologically healthy workplace or applying for an award in their state, province or territory can visit the website.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

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