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 Utah Psychological Association

Psychologically Healthy Workplace


Is your organization the type of place where people want to come to work?

Are employees treated respectfully?

Does your employer go the extra mile to create a positive work environment?

Do workers feel that management is responsive to their work and personal needs?

If one or more of the above is true, we encourage you to apply for the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award (PHWA) sponsored by the Utah Psychological Association (UPA) and American Psychological Association (APA). The PHWA recognize organizations in their efforts to develop the health and well-being of their employees as well as enhancing performance. The award program highlights a variety of workplaces in an effort to recognize the efforts organizations make to acknowledge and foster the development of their workforce.

Why Apply?

Receiving a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award from the Utah Psychological Association gives your organization the recognition it deserves for the value you place on creating a positive work environment.

Award winners may be featured in the media, honored at special award events, recognized by community leaders and nominated for national recognition.  The Utah Psychological Association recognizes honorees with a plaque awarded at our annual awards dinner.

Evaluation Criteria

Awards are made to organizations who show exceptional commitment and/or innovative programs through:

  • Employee Involvement
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Employee Growth and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Employee Recognition

Criteria for this award can be found at Creating a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Utah Award Honorees


National Winner: Utah Foster Care

Utah – Operating under contract with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, Utah Foster Care (UFC) has seven offices in five regions throughout the state. As a nationally recognized nonprofit that finds, trains and supports Utah families who are willing and able to provide a nurturing home for abused or neglected children, UFC’s commitment to family doesn’t end there. The organization takes care of its own with a staff that thrives on respect, rapport and family-friendly policies.

Employee Involvement

Touching lives across the state of Utah involving some of its most vulnerable citizens is both crucially important and highly challenging. The work attracts a special kind of person with an empathic heart, a backbone of steel and plenty to say. This makes regular department and staff meetings – in which employees share successes, receive training and develop professional skills – very lively indeed. Plus, UFC’s CEO and program directors have an open-door policy, so staff know they’ll always be heard.

Health and Safety

UFC’s robust wellness program encompasses the physical, financial, emotional, environmental and vocational. Big-picture benefits include medical, dental, vision and an employee assistance program. But even small adjustments can make a big difference. For example, UFC’s human resources director regularly assesses each staff member’s posture at their desk, leading to ergonomic improvements in keyboard and monitor height, chair adjustments and the use of a footstool, all to lessen musculoskeletal strain. Staff who are sick are asked to stay home and take care of themselves.

Employee Growth and Development

UFC has created a culture in which managers help staff view each other as people, not as objects or barriers that get in the way. This has helped to eliminate gossip, unproductive blaming, not taking responsibility for mistakes, and destructive, time-wasting conflict. In doing so, employees have strengthened their relationships and heightened their productivity at work.

Work-Life Balance

Flexibility works at UFC. Employees may work from home, on the road or in a satellite location for all or part of the work week. New parents and nursing mothers are allowed to bring their infants to work for up to four months. Older children may visit or, in the case of childcare problems, they can spend the day with their parent. First-year employees can accrue up to five weeks of paid time off. Vacations and holidays are intended to be “R & R,” with employees encouraged not to check in with the office and interrupt their well-deserved breaks.

Employee Recognition

Success for one is success for all. A real morale builder occurs at UFC’s tri-annual all-staff meetings, during which employees nominate their peers for performance above and beyond their regular responsibilities. In recognition of their achievements, winners receive a long-stemmed rose with a $50 bill wrapped around the stem. Management is also quick to send out all-staff congratulatory emails for individual accomplishments such as participation in marathons, business recognition, graduations and clinical licensure, as well as monthly acknowledgment and appreciation of employees’ work anniversaries.

The Bottom Line

While employees at UFC find their work incredibly rewarding, the type of work they do means that at times, employees must also contend with sadness and tragedy. UFC won the Utah Work/Life Awards for seven consecutive years, from 2006 to 2012, and it’s no wonder: Staff could not possibly do what they do without taking care of themselves, and each other, as reflected both in policies from the top and in supportive, day-to-day interaction among peers. Employee longevity bears this out. Three-quarters of UFC’s staff have served the organization for more than four years, and a full 20 percent have worked there for 15 years or more.


  • American Express
  • Deer Valley
  • Sahara
  • White Knight


  • Brigham Young University, Center for Service and Learning
  • Gastronomy
  • Green Valley Spa and Resort
  • X-Mission


  • ARUP Laboratories
  • Silverado Senior Living – Aspen Park
  • Ten Thousand Villages


  • ARUP Laboratories
  • Bisys Group, Inc.
  • Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.
  • Earth Studio
  • Merit Medical Systems, Inc.
  • Nicholas and Company
  • The Catalyst Magazine

Application Process

Organizations complete a simple, primarily open-ended application. Finalists participate in an employee survey and site visit. These involve meeting with representatives of management and employees for a few hours each.

If you are interested in nominating your company for an award, contact utahpsych@gmail.com

Additional information about the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award program can be found at:  The APA Center for Organizational Excellence

address: 5442 South 900 East, Suite 512, Salt Lake City, UT 84117 | phone: (801) 410-0337 | emailutahpsych@gmail.com
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