Congrats: Dr. Priscilla Marotta of the Florida Psychological Association presents Team Horner President Bill Kent with a Psychologically Healthy Workplace award.
Photo Courtesy Team Horner Congrats: Dr. Priscilla Marotta of the Florida Psychological Association presents Team Horner President Bill Kent with a Psychologically Healthy Workplace award.

In what has to be an industry first, Team Horner won a Psychologically Healthy Workplace award.

The designation comes from the Florida Psychological Association, which analyzed the inner workings of the Fort Lauderdale company.

Team Horner, a pool supplies distributor and manufacturer, took the top spot in the category of “midsize employer.” (The firm has a staff of 400.) President/owner Bill Kent isn’t one to pursue third-party recognition, but was encouraged to apply by his wife’s friend, a psychologist who thought the company’s culture would score favorably with judges.

It certainly did.

Among the three winners in different categories, Team Horner scored the most points. That makes the company a contender for the American Psychological Association’s national award next year.

Diane A. McKay, Psy.D., who is on the FPA committee, assures that this isn’t a “froufrou” award where simply applying is worthy of a plaque. The application process is arduous. When presented with all the hoops the company would have to jump through, “I said, ‘We’re not doing it. It’s too hard,’” Kent recalled.

So his wife, Kim Kent, Team Horner’s wellness coordinator, took the reins.

“I almost fell on my face when I saw the big application,” Kim Kent said. “It’s massive.”

A company must submit essays detailing its culture, leadership, and health and wellness programs. Then a team of psychologists tours the facility, interviews employees and conducts a town hall meeting, followed by an online survey asking employees to anonymously answer questions about the workplace.

Judges evaluate the following areas: employee involvement, growth and development, recognition, work/life balance and health and safety.

“They were really, really impressed on a number of different levels,” McKay said.

Team Horner fosters a family-like environment that encourages team building and open communication, judges noted, and its commitment to instilling a healthy lifestyle is exemplary. Employees are treated to fresh fruit and vitamins and have one-on-one consultations with personal trainers and nutritionists, all on the company’s dime. On-site workout facilities, yoga and meditation rooms, and stand-up desks help keep workers fit.

But simply providing these accommodations isn’t enough.

“If you have a great wellness program, but only 5 percent of your employees are using it, that says something,” said McKay, an organizational psychologist.

Team Horner estimates well over half of its work force participates in its wellness offerings.

“We’ve seen significant changes in people’s lifestyles long term, not just like a diet that works for eight weeks,” Kim Kent said.

Fruit and fitness activities only scratch the surface of Team Horner’s robust workplace benefits package. Kent estimates the company has about 30 programs in place to help keep employees motivated. That’s contributed to a low turnover rate — another factor in the judges’ decision. Kent said about two-thirds of his employees have been with the company for more than five years.

“My goal is that, every morning, every employee gets out of bed and says to themselves, ‘Wow, I can hardly wait to get to work today,’” Kent said.