Burgerville, a chain of 39 quick-service restaurants located throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, has been presented with a national Best Practices Honor from the American Psychological Association (APA). Burgerville was recognized for its implementation of numerous programs that promote employee health and well-being including a comprehensive health care plan that is unmatched by quick-service chains of its size. These practices are an example of employee health and safety, one component of a psychologically healthy workplace.
Burgerville’s decision to introduce an expanded health care plan came after an employee survey revealed affordable health care coverage as the number one concern among workers. In 2006, the company unveiled a health care plan for hourly workers who have been with Burgerville for more than six months and work an average of at least 20 hours per week. Burgerville pays 95 percent of the premiums for employees and their dependents. With the security of health care coverage, Burgerville employees enjoy peace of mind knowing they can take care of themselves and their families, which further strengthens their commitment to the organization and its values.
“Our commitment to employee health care comes from the knowledge that happier, healthier employees stay longer, feel a stronger tie to the company, and are more productive in their daily work,” says Jeff Harvey, president and CEO of Burgerville. “Our employees are our most important asset and directly impact our success as a company and the contribution we make to our communities. We are deeply appreciative of the APA for recognizing our efforts. It is our expectation that this recognition of our approach to a creating a psychologically healthy workplace will inspire others to think about their people first when considering the way they do business.”
In an industry that typically has high turnover rates, Burgerville understands that caring for employees’ health more than pays off. The experience and efficiency of longer-tenured employees has raised standards, including speed of service, quality of food, and overall customer satisfaction. Productivity has increased, sales are up and profitability is at an all-time high. A reduction in turnover has saved Burgerville more than $500,000 and the company attributes a large portion of its sales increase to the affordable health care program for employees. Additionally, turnover rates for hourly employees dropped from 130 percent to 54 percent in one year, while management turnover decreased by 18 percent.
“The link between employee health and well-being and organizational performance is clear. Employers who embrace that connection are better able to develop a high-performing workforce that serves as a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” says David Ballard, APA’s assistant executive director for corporate relations and business strategy. “Burgerville’s quality improvements, strong financial and operating performance and low turnover demonstrate the benefits of investing in a psychologically healthy workplace.”
Burgerville was one of only nine organizations to receive the Best Practices recognition at the annual Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards ceremony held on March 9 in Washington, D.C. The Best Practices Honors is a national recognition that highlights those State-Level Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award winners with a particularly innovative program or policy that contributes to a psychologically healthy work environment and meets the unique needs of the organization and its employees. Nominees come from a pool of previous state-level winners and are selected through a competitive evaluation and judging process.