Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it has achieved silver-level recognition in the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) 2020 Workplace Health Achievement Index. AHA developed the Workplace Health Achievement Index for organizations to comprehensively assess the health of their workplace and their workforce. AHA’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows organizations to qualify for bronze, silver, or gold-level recognition based on their total index score.
This year was different than most due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, PRA is known for its innovative approaches to wellness and developed new ways to support the health and wellness of its employees while working remotely. Through these innovations and our culture of wellness, PRA achieved its third consecutive silver-level recognition!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
To ensure the psychological safety of its staff members and to foster a culture of wellness and inclusion, PRA has expanded its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) beyond the scope of its Equity and Cultural Responsivity Committee (formerly known as the Cultural Competence Committee). With guidance from iOpening Enterprises, PRA has developed a DEI action plan that maps out the ways in which PRA can be a more inclusive and equitable workplace for employees. Activities in this plan include developing definitions, values, and guiding principles of DEI for PRA; hosting seminars and Equity Chats for staff members to discuss different aspects of DEI; establishing concrete actions for transforming the workplace with an equity lens, such as policies, procedures, and norms; and creating DEI-specific strategic plans within each of our program areas.
Enhanced COVID-19 Leave and Related Family Leave
To enhance New York’s Paid Leave for COVID-19, PRA supplemented coverage for those who needed to take a leave of absence if they or their dependent family members contracted COVID-19. PRA doubled the period of coverage and if leave coverage did not fully cover an employee’s paycheck, PRA was able to make that paycheck whole so they could focus on getting well. In addition, PRA extended COVID-19-related leave coverage, and retroactively applied this coverage to any staff members who used their personal time off earlier in the year to care for children who were out of school or were otherwise affected in the early stages of the pandemic.
PRA has kept a focus on mindfulness throughout the year. To help employees stay focused and mindful, PRA hosted a seminar for employees led by a co-owner of Root3d, a holistic health center based in Albany, New York, that walked staff members through different mindfulness techniques. PRA encourages all meetings to start with a “mindful minute” to ensure all employees are calm and focused for their meeting. PRA Well-Being also released a helpful infographic as a follow-up to the mindfulness seminar that offers an at-a-glance look at mindfulness techniques. In addition, all employees are encouraged to take strategic renewal during the day, a period of time when they can take a break from work, stretch, and rest. To respond to the schedule and care disruptions caused by the pandemic, PRA has expanded its flexible scheduling options, so employees can take care of their families, themselves, and their work in a way that best suits their schedules.
All employees have been working from home since March of this year to help keep one another safe and healthy and to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Because not everyone may have been equipped with the needs of a home-office space, PRA provided a stipend to all employees who transitioned to remote work so they could outfit their homes with any needed equipment. This way, all staff could feel comfortable and confident working from home.
PRA offers a Wellness Reimbursement benefit for employees, reimbursing 50 percent of wellness-related purchases up to $600 per year, with a maximum annual reimbursement of $300. This reflects an increase in this benefit for 2020. Wellness-related expenses can include workout equipment, fitness classes, new sneakers, and more!
Flu Shot Clinic
PRA hosted a flu shot clinic in September for its employees to have easy access to the flu vaccine and get ready for the coming flu season. The clinic uses the insurance offered by PRA’s employee benefits and helps ensure that employees who are interested can receive this year’s vaccine.
Employees from all different program areas make up this wellness committee, which is responsible for organizing wellness programs for staff, maintaining the wellness page on PRA’s Intranet, soliciting blogs on the different domains of wellness, and creating a wellness board. Programming this year has included challenges to enhance staff member’s social wellness and sleep goals.
Policy Research works hard to foster and maintain a culture of wellness in our workforce and is proud to be awarded for the fifth year in a row. Thank you to the American Heart Association for recognizing us!