last week i attended the 2010 psychologically healthy workplace conference, a conference presented by the american pscyhological association practice organization. as defined by APA, a psychologically healthy workplace is one that builds a strong-performing company by addressing work/life fit, development, engagement, recognition, and health and wellness.
this conference attracts attendees from various functions, roles, and organizations, which makes for a very broad, complex conversation. attendees included researchers, HR professionals, general practitioners, and consultants. they came from universities, health care organizations, think tanks, and large and small companies.
i attended as a speaker and regular attendee, there to soak up all of the knowledge. unfortunately, i was able to attend only one day, which meant that i attended two sessions—one on health promotion program design and another on employee engagement, plus my session on effective communication with michelle james, my co-presenter from intel corporation.
so, what did i learn?
i learned that the biggest nut to crack isn’t how to engage, develop, and reward employees; how to create a workplace wellness program; or even how to communicate any of the above. there are consultants, models, and practical case studies galore. sure, it’s not as easy as picking one off the tree. solutions need to connect with your culture and to focus on the right behaviors and outcomes for each organization, but we’ve options and ideas to work with.
the real hurdle is doing within each company what this conference did with different ones: pull together all invested parties to talk turkey. ideally, company leaders are setting expectations and measuring outcomes based on this type of integration. but we know that not all of them do this because we know they’re at varying degrees of understanding about work/life fit, engagement, wellness, etc being a business strategy and not a nice-to-have.
HR, you still looking for a seat at that table? here it is.
until the day HR uses its influence to bring together internal and external partners to look for areas of overlap, continuity, and connections and to find a way for each to support, not distract from one another, the psychologically healthy workplace is more form than fact for all but a few.
note: who knew barney’s lyrics could be used without a tad of irony?