vPsychology for Business


We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees

Volume 5, Number 7                                                            March 26, 2004


Psychology for Business is an e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver, business psychologist and independent consultant, provided to you at no charge. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website, http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/. If you wish to cancel your subscription, please see the end of this e-mail for easy instructions

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I was interviewed for an article on WebMD. The article, titled "5 Career Busting Health Conditions" discusses the impact of depression, anxiety, ADHD, alcohol and drug abuse, and sleep disorders on the work life. I am quoted in the introduction and again in the final segment on Workplace Wellness. The entire article is worth reading. To read the article online: https://data.webmd.com/sdclive/sdcform.aspx?formid=l2uRegistration.


by Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

Summary: A psychologically healthy workplace is good for the employee and also good for the organization. The American Psychological Association and the Wisconsin Psychological Association recognize this value and have begun to honor companies that are committed to bringing out the best in their employees by creating an annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award.

The Wisconsin Psychological Association will present its first annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award on April 2, 2004.  I am privileged to participate on the committee for this award and I recently attended the State Leadership Convention in Washington, DC as the Wisconsin representative for this initiative. It is an exciting opportunity to recognize businesses that have learned that providing for the well-being of their employees is a win-win situation. The companies who create a healthy workplace discover that they also increase their business performance. The award will be given by the psychological associations of 34 states (including Wisconsin) this year, and 15 companies were recognized for best practices on a national level. 

A psychologically healthy workplace is one in which four key areas have been demonstrated to increase both employee well-being and organizational performance. A recent review of the literature conducted through the Work Affect Lab at St. Louis University supports the value of these elements as markers of effective companies. The four elements are 1) employee involvement, 2) employee growth and development, 3) work-life balance, and 4) health and safety.  The scientific research strongly suggests that the additional component of rewarding workers for positive behavior fosters the kind of synergy in which employee well-being and increased organizational performance are discovered. All of these elements are supported by establishing great communication. When this is matched to the strategic vision of the company, the effects have a dramatic impact on the bottom line of the company. 

1) Employee Involvement.  

When employees are invited to participate in the decisions of the organization, it is beneficial to the individual workers. One reason this is so positive is that it increases a sense of control. When individuals believe they are in control they also believe they are responsible. The direct result is that they will work hard to achieve their goals. Holding these workers accountable is easier because they are committed to accomplishing the task. High levels of control are also a critical element in effective coping with stress.  

Organizationally, when individuals handle stress better, the performance is much less likely to deteriorate when pressure rises. In addition, organizations benefit because employees often see problems uniquely. They might be more directly involved with the customers, or they may see a process in their job duties that can be done more efficiently. 

Benefits for employee well-being: higher job satisfaction, higher commitment to the organization, and improved morale. 

Benefits for organizational improvements: higher productivity, lower turnover, less absenteeism. 

2) Employee Growth and Development.

The world has changed during my lifetime. When I grew up, it was common for most workers to spend their entire career working for one company. Today that is no longer the case. This has put more pressure on workers to engage in continuous improvement as they seek to advance their careers. The employee who is willing to update skills and who is committed to lifelong learning is a tremendous value to an organization.  

The top employees at a company look for organizations that will support efforts to advance their training and development. This effort may allow the individual to grow within the company into new positions or it may lead to pursuit of a career in another company.  But the highest quality of work will be found among those who are constantly learning and growing. 

Benefits for employee well-being: lowered stress, higher levels of motivation, and higher job satisfaction. 

Benefits for organizational improvement: Higher effectiveness of the organization, improved quality of products and services, and a competitive advantage in the marketplace. 

3) Work-Life Balance. 

This category was originally called family support and it assessed the willingness of companies to work with employees who have family conflicts to resolve issues without having to choose between being a good employee and meeting the needs of children. A recent study indicated that more than 60% of women in the workplace identified more flexibility to take care of their children’s needs as the number one issue for them in the workplace.  However, even those without family needs (i.e., workers who are single or those whose children are grown) still have a strong need for work-life balance. 

Workers are not commodities. It is not effective to work employees to the limit of capacity and then replace them when they burn out. Effective performance is greatly diminished long before a worker reaches his or her limits. It is also very expensive to replace workers (the average is estimated to be between 4 and 10 times that employee’s yearly salary). 

Benefits for employee well-being: Increase in morale, higher commitment to the organization, and higher job satisfaction. 

Benefits for organizational improvements: Higher levels of productivity, less turnover, and lower absenteeism. 

4) Health and Safety. 

In an era when insurance costs are rapidly increasing this is an area of concern for many employees and employers alike. It has the potential to be divisive but it also has the potential for creative cooperation. Untreated depression and stress increase medical costs by 50% according to recent research. It is estimated that as many as 80% of workplace accidents may be due, at least in part, to psychological stress. Concern for the health and safety of employees is best accomplished when employee and employer work together on an issue that is truly beneficial to both. 

Benefits for employee well being: lower physical health risks, increased commitment to the organization, and reduced stress. 

Benefits for organizational improvement: lower health care costs, fewer accident/injuries, and less absenteeism. 

The Wisconsin Psychological Association will present its awards on April 2, 2004 (in one week). In my next newsletter, I will tell you a little about how these companies created real world psychologically healthy workplaces.

Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. We offer coaching either onsite or by telephone. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a 1/2 hour consultation at no charge.  Or request a price sheet to determine the best value for your organization.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.

About the Author

John Weaver, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist with 25 years’ professional experience working with organizations, groups, and individuals. He has experience leading groups and creating teamwork in organizations. His areas of expertise include executive coaching, conflict resolution, coaching teams and individuals to improve performance under stress, assessing employees and potential employees to ensure the right person for the right job, and training in stress management and "The Vitamin C’s for an Emotionally Healthy Workplace."  He is an experienced professional speaker and published author.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. John Weaver is available for consultation or executive coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. He may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office) or (414) 491-8719 (cell), by e-mail: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or: 

John Weaver, Psy.D. 
Psychology for Business
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188

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Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
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Waukesha, WI 53188

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