In the News
A Healthy Workplace Is a Thing of Beautyby Dr. Dana Gionta, Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program on 2/28/2011
I first became aware of the extra-ordinary culture of the Paul Mitchell schools through my visit to North Haven Academy, a partner school of Paul Mitchell, in Connecticut. Acting as co-chair of the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award committee in CT, I had the opportunity to interview owners Laura and Mario Landino and receive an in-depth tour of their academy. It was during this tour, and through my conversations with staff and their student ‘professionals in training,’ that I learned of the unique and visionary workplace philosophy, culture and values of the Paul Mitchell training academies.
A fundamental mission of the Paul Mitchell schools is to provide their professionals in training with the knowledge and skills to be successful both at work and in life. They do this with intentionality, by creating positive, professional, respectful and appreciative work environments and through leading by example.
The Paul Mitchell Schools’ psychologically healthy philosophy, principles and practices are strongly influenced by the leadership of Winn Claybaugh, who is the Dean of Education for Paul Mitchell Schools. He shares his principles and work/life philosophy in his book Be Nice (Or Else!), which is required reading for all future professionals. An example of these principles are the Golden Rules, two of which are: Gossip is Not Allowed and Hold Each Other Accountable. These rules, along with the Paul Mitchell mission, values, professional and life success strategies are clearly communicated throughout each Academy. The Paul Mitchell schools impressively use diverse mediums and techniques of communication, such as numerous visual aids, classes, Masters monthly motivational CDs, and spot coaching to educate and reinforce these fundamental principles.
The American Psychological Association has identified employee recognition as one of the five types of psychologically healthy workplace practices in promoting employee well-being and organizational performance. A hallmark practice of the Paul Mitchell Schools that I found unique and impressive in this area is their practice known as “Facing.” This refers to: find what’s working; acknowledge; celebrate; and enjoy. Staff and professionals in training recognize one another for such professional considerations as a job well done, a positive attitude that made a difference and customer/personal support when needed. They also recognize their employees and students through Learning Leader, Day Maker and Student of the Month awards.
Also noteworthy is the Paul Mitchell schools’ simple yet very effective approach to cultivating employee involvement (another healthy workplace practice) and clear, open communication. This is accomplished through each school’s practice of morning meetings, in which daily goals are set, expectations communicated and teamwork fostered. Weekly management and monthly town hall meetings provide additional opportunities for employees and students to provide feedback, collaborate on decision-making and publicly recognize individual, team, management and the Academy’s achievements and successes.
What psychologically healthy workplace practices do you find particularly valuable and enjoyable?
Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/12635485@N07 / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0