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Get Involved at the Ground Level!

by Stephany Schings, Communications Specialist

I-Os Have a Chance to Impact Psychology Community Through State Organizations

On March 7, 2008, APA recognized 14 employers for their efforts in fostering employee well-being through its Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA). 

“These awards recognize progressive organizations for implementing incredibly innovative ‘people’ policies and programs—topics I-O psychologists are more than qualified to comment on,” said Anna Erickson, a SIOP member who is also on the Minnesota Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards Committee that evaluates nominated workplaces.

Erickson also represents SIOP at the National level as the Division 14 Representative to the Business of Practice Network, the American Psychological Association organization sponsoring and promoting the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. The APA as a whole has been involved, Erickson said, but she said I-O psychologists have been notably absent from participation on the PHWAs.

“APA has invested considerable time and resources to build and promote this initiative,” Erickson said. “As I-O psychologists, we have a great deal to contribute and to gain by getting involved.  Many of these local committees are seeking I-O psychologists to help promote the award and evaluate nominees. However, PHWA programs operate as committees of the state, provincial, and territorial psychological associations, and many of these state-level associations have no I-O psychologists as members.”

The PHW awards began in 1999 as a grass-roots effort in New Jersey, Erickson explained.

“It really started at the state level and it really started as grass roots at the state level and then APA and other organizations got involved,” she said.

This year, five award winners were selected for their comprehensive efforts to promote employee health and well-being, while nine best practice honorees were recognized for a specific, innovative program or policy contributing to a psychologically healthy work environment.  Recipients of the PHWA come from both for-profit and nonprofit worlds, and represent a diversity of industries from health care to financial services to hospitality. 

The national PHWA winners are nominated by state, provincial, and territorial psychological associations through local PHWA programs/committees.  So, By getting involved in more state psychological associations, Erickson said, I-O psychologists and SIOP members can participate and have an impact on awards and efforts like the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards. 

“As I-Os, this really is our forte,” Erickson said.  “We should be involved in helping define a psychologically healthy workplace.”

These committees and associations would also welcome the expertise in I-O psychology, Erickson added.

“A lot of the people on the PHWA committees are counseling and clinical people and they really want I-O psychologists on their committees,” she said.  “Too often state associations have few or no I-O members.  I was not a member of my state psychological association until I heard about the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards and wanted to get involved.”

Erickson encourages other I-O psychologists to get involved at the local level and see if they can join a committee. 

“It lets us use our specialty and gives us representation in the field,” Erickson added.  Another way to get involved is to nominate employers that foster psychologically healthy workplaces.  You can nominate a workplace here.

To get involved, contact your state, provincial or territorial psychologicalassociation or the PHWA committeefor your state.

You can learn more about this year’s winners here. Contact Anna Erickson, 651.683.8697;aerickson@questarweb.com for further information.