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A recent article reported on a study of workers from different generations. According to the study results, younger workers (so-called Millennial employees) reported with greater frequency than their older counterparts (Generation X and Baby Boomers) that “work is just making a living.” I read that and thought, “I’m so sorry you feel that way!”

Apparently, this group of employees wants high pay, a slow pace, and plenty of vacation time. Elsewhere, I have commented about how idealistic this perspective seems to be, but here I’d like to address the shortsightedness of that perspective.

My concern is that these employees will operate under the assumption that work serves as nothing but a means to an end – that it’s all about just making money. This seems like a very pessimistic view of work, especially given how many hours we give to our employers. The outcomes you get out of your work role can vary depending on whether you view it as a job, a career, or a calling. Sure, when you view your work role as a job, it is nothing more than a simple exchange (your time and effort for their money), but it can provide you with so much more. When you view your work role as a career, it can also give an opportunity to meet your own needs (e.g., achievement, creativity, or social interaction), which in turn makes you happier and more fulfilled. What is more, when you view your work role as a calling it can provide you with an opportunity to contribute to society.

I hope that some of those people who think work is just about making money happen into a work role that provides them with more fulfillment. After all, who wants to look back at their life and think that they gave half or more of their waking hours each week to something that just gave them money in return?

Perhaps this should serve as an awakening to a lot of employers out there. Help your employees find meaning in their work. Not every employee can or should view every work role as a career or a calling. However, if you make an effort and ask your employees what they need, you may be able to help them to be engaged in what they do for you. If organizations provide employees with the tools to take something (besides a paycheck) away from the work they perform, then both sides will win.

Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/expressmonorail / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Couldn't make it to our Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference in Washington, DC earlier this month? In the coming months, we'll be bringing you highlights, select content and other assorted goodies here on the Good Company Blog, as well as in our e-newsletter and podcast.

Also, be sure to connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for additional updates and special content.

Below, you'll find the first release from the conference -- a session on communication strategies for promoting and supporting workplace wellness that was presented by Fran Melmed, owner of context communication consulting, and Michelle James, health communication manager for Intel.

The program explores what it takes to create a culture of wellness in the workplace. Topics include what makes a message connect, how we can support individual behavior change on a mass scale, where the fun is and why we should embrace a powerful new communication tool: social media. Check it out...


Our 2010 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Conference covered a range of topics including workplace heath promotion, wellness communication, employee recognition, work-life issues, engagement, work stress, diversity issues and more.

Thanks to our attendees, presenters and cooperating organizations for making the event a success.

It was wonderful to see some old friends, meet online connections in person and spark new relationships that are sure to produce some exciting collaborations in the future.

Stay tuned to this blog, as well as the April issue of our Good Company E-Newsletter for coverage of the conference.


Creating a psychologically healthy workplace takes a firm commitment even in the best of times, and as the recession hit full swing, many organizations (even healthy ones) had to make some difficult decisions. In a 2009 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 68 percent of employed Americans reported that their employers had taken steps such as putting a freeze on hiring or wages, laying off staff, reducing work hours, benefits or pay, requiring unpaid days off or increasing work hours as a result of the weak economy.

Yet while the damage mounted, reports surfaced of surprisingly high employee satisfaction and engagement. Did these accounts represent a workforce committed to helping their employers through tough times, or were employees simply hunkering down, counting themselves fortunate to still have jobs and afraid to make waves? Only time will tell, but whatever dynamic is at play in your organization likely has a lot to do with how employees feel they were treated when the chips were down.

Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance strived to maintain a work environment characterized by openness, fairness, trust and respect, even when difficult actions were required. These employers are positioned for success in the economic recovery and will have a distinct competitive advantage in their ability to attract and retain the very best employees.

To highlight those organizations committed to creating a culture of health and productivity, the American Psychological Association just presented its 2010 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards (PHWA) and Best Practices Honors.

The five PHWA winners described here have implemented a comprehensive set of workplace practices designed to optimize outcomes for both employees and the organization. The ten Best Practices honorees, that you can read about here, highlight a variety of approaches that effectively meet the unique needs of an organization and its workforce.

We congratulate our winners and hope that their examples help showcase the power that a healthy workplace has to drive positive change and help individuals, organizations and communities thrive.



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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