5 Happy Places to Work

job perksStaying happy at work is not just good for your health. It's also good for your job performance. At least that's what most employees believe.

The American Psychological Association (APA) conducted an online survey of 1,714 people and found that a whopping 93 percent of those who feel valued by their employers also say they feel motivated to do their best work. But, only 33 percent of those who described themselves as not feeling valued said they are working up to their potential. (The results of the poll were based on an online questionnaire.)

So which companies have the happiest workplaces? Each year, the APA conducts a four-month study through its healthy workplace program. This past year, the APA studied 170 North American organizations, which ranged from private companies to county government offices. So while this study isn't comprehensive, examining every company in the Fortune 500, it does dig deep. Assessments are based on performance in the following categories: work/life balance, employee recognition, communication practices as well as growth and development strategies.

"The biggest message is that many organizations are coming to understand that well-being is tied to success," David Ballard, who conducted the APA study, told AOL Jobs. "It's not just doing the right thing. That's definitely true, but it's also a smart business move to allow your employees to perform at their best."

In speaking to AOL Jobs, Ballard also said these five companies also worked the hardest at keeping workers happy, developing creative, inventive programs.

5 Happy Places to Work
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5 Happy Places to Work
1. Noble-Davis Consulting (Cleveland, Ohio)

A company that manages retirement plans, the firm's 20 employees are responsible for 540 plans worth $850 million in assets. Employees--who manage their own accounts--also enjoy a lot of autonomy. They choose which hours to work and how much vacation time to take. And they have full access to the company's financial information. The company also offers its employees annual health screenings and free onsite yoga classes.

2. ReMed Recovery Care Centers (Paoli, Pennsylvania)

The brain injury rehabilitation center focuses on neuro-behavioral treatment as well as long term rehabilitation living services. ReMed was lauded by employees for its on-going training and development programs. It puts all new employees through a six-day orientation, and continues offering classroom seminars after a new staff member starts work. In total, the 302-member staff participated in 7,335 hours of training during 2010.

3. Certified Angus Beef (Wooster, Ohio)

Certified Angus Beef was the largest company on the list, with business spread across 45 countries at 16,000 restaurants. Workers praised the company for its "open-door" philosophy, which encourage employees to chime in on company practice. Supervisors hold plenty of town halls and offsite employee retreats, according to the A.P.A. The company was also praised for retaining having a psychologist on site, available to employees for whatever issue they might have.

4. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The college, responsible for regulating the province's medical profession, is regularly recognized for its continuous incorporation of employee ideas into company programming. Among the adopted suggestions include a lunch and learning series on health and wellness, summer hours, and a quit smoking help program. The college also stresses to its employees they should be under no obligation to accept a job that might compromise "family togetherness." Finally, the college also offers tuition reimbursement and cross-training opportunities.

5. Coconino County (Flagstaff, Arizona)

The county office maintained employee morale amid the national municipal budget crisis, according to the A.P.A. The county was able to minimize reductions through retirement offers. The county has also pioneered a number of innovative strategies to generate revenue. One novel program offers employees the chance to buy extra days off through a Personal Day Purchase Program. The county has also applied creative thinking in other realms than the budget, specifically worker safety. The issuing of traction cleats to all employees over the past year has led to a reduction in reported slips and falls from 26 to seven on county premises.


Next:Work Driving You Crazy? You're Not Alone.

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