Well-run companies have something in common; they recognize that a healthy culture is rooted in trust and can translate into a significant competitive advantage. Talented people want to work for a management team that supports their aspirations, provides an on-ramp for career advancement and focuses on practical matters like workplace safety. Since 1999, the APA has been recognizing corporations and organizations—both nationally and regionally—that meet certain criteria for a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.”
ACE recently won “Best Practice Honors” as part of the APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award.” To qualify for consideration, ACE submitted a comprehensive application and allowed onsite evaluation to see if they met the APA’s criteria for:
According to ACE CEO Jean Pitzo, “Some of the practices the APA recognizes in their award were already in place at ACE; things like employee participation in decision-making. For instance, at Ace, we are divided into three Value Streams. The teams meet every other week to review metrics, celebrate successes and check the boxes on workflow, team communication and safety. We have what we call our Flow Stopper Award that gives $50 for a suggestion that eliminates any practice that stops workflow.” The Value Streams help team members establish healthy lines of communication and foster a unity of purpose. Says Jean, “These meetings are uplifting for many reasons, but a key benefit is around the ability to share ideas and then see them come to fruition.”
Sharing the wealth of the organization.
Says ACE President, Dale Ball, “A company’s wealth can be measured in lots ways. It’s not just about profit, but about the opportunities we provide for training, continuing education and celebrating milestones, like work anniversaries, birthdays and family.” Citing a number of measures that resulted in the APA’s decision to award them Best Practices Honors, Jean says, “Our employees are well versed in the requirements of modern manufacturing, like lean practices, quality metrics and on-time delivery. Their willingness to deliver every day helped us make a significant decision, to move to Open Book Management. We actually share financial data with our people so they can see and understand what it takes to ‘make the numbers.’ When we meet our financial goals, we pay a quarterly bonus. When we don’t hit it, we don’t pay it. In other words, we’re in this together.”
What it means to the organization.
For ACE, it’s not just about celebrating the award. Says Dale, “Of course we’re proud of being recognized by the APA. But, more important are the benefits of a healthy workplace to the organization. The cohesiveness of the entire team has improved. We have Kaizens for process improvement and on-time delivery. We’ve even invited new applicants to our Value Stream Meetings so that they can see how people work with each other at Ace.”
“And it doesn’t stop there,” adds Jean. Competing for recognition has made us both nimble and energized. Every aspect of our business from employee benefits to Value Streams and job coaching has been impacted. For ACE, this is just the start; we know that when people are happy and engaged, their trust and enthusiasm has a positive impact on their work – and their lives”