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  • Headquarters

    Pewaukee, WI

  • Number of Employees


  • Industry

    Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Fortune Taps Quad/Graphics As the “Best” and So Does U.S. Government

Fortune magazine rated Quad/Graphics as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2006. It’s probably no coincidence, then, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (specifically, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—SAMHSA) identified Quad/Graphics as a model large company and profiled Quad/Graphics in its publication A Mental Health-Friendly Workplace.

SAMHSA singled out two programs at Quad/Graphics: its employee assistance program (EAP) and its employee advocate program.

Quad/Graphics’ EAP

Early in its development, Quad/Graphics placed a strong emphasis on employee welfare, which led to the creation of QuadMed, an internal medical division that provides employees with complete wellness coverage. Quad/Graphics’ EAP is administered through QuadMed.

The philosophy at QuadMed’s EAP centers on life skills and workplace functioning. It addresses mental health, as well as many other issues.

Because QuadMed features comprehensive onsite services, it is able to position the EAP as a focal point for most any issue that may be affecting work performance. For mental health, QuadMed’s EAP provides initial counseling and diagnoses and makes off-site referrals for longer-term cases. The EAP also offers screening and stress management classes throughout the year.

Training Managers

When Quad/Graphics’ EAP first introduced a mental health component as part of its workplace wellness training for managers, it found that managers often wanted to diagnose employees or, worse still, serve as ad hoc counselors. In response, QuadMed retooled its materials to focus more on identifying issues and referring employees to the EAP as warranted. The revised materials avoided terms like “depression” and “anxiety” and focused on the manifestation of behavior rather than the cause.

EAP counselors also taught managers to speak with employees from the position of workplace performance rather than trying to tackle behavioral issues themselves. According to one of QuadMed’s employee assistance counselors, managers now receive a working script and a series of do’s and don’ts, which they find useful.

The EAP also has modified the training to include group leaders and supervisors, who are not managers technically but do have some employee oversight in a team-based setting.

Employee Advocate Program

The Employee Advocate program has been particularly successful at Quad/Graphics. Employee advocates are long-term employees who serve as liaisons between workers and management and handle grievances through mediation and other services.

Quad/Graphics and QuadMed capitalized on this program to address the following potentially serious situation at work.

An employee was having what appeared to be a psychotic episode. Many employees noticed disturbing changes in this employee’s behavior, which eventually involved the company’s internal security due to concerns about safety.

An Employee Advocate became involved to ensure that the individual was treated fairly and in accordance with the law. With the advocate’s help, Quad/Graphics was able to get the employee evaluated by the EAP and referred to needed mental health services.

During the employee’s absence, EAP staff made sure the individual’s disability payments were maintained. QuadMed also worked with the employee on how to handle questions about the absence from work, how to minimize any unwanted attention, and how to maximize confidentiality. When the employee returned to work, managers brought in a temporary employee to assist with the workload and brought the employee back to work on a Thursday to give the individual time to readjust before starting a full workweek.

As a result of these actions, the employee had a smooth return to work, is still working at Quad/Graphics, and has reported no social consequences from the absence.

Quad/Graphics’ leadership in returning disabled employees to work earned it the CNA Insurance Company’s first-ever CNA Disability Accommodation Award in 1995.

About Quad/Graphics

Quad/Graphics was founded in 1971 with 11 employees in Pewaukee, WI. Today Quad/Graphics is the largest privately held printing company in the world, employing 12,000 and spanning more than 20 print-production facilities on three continents. Among its customers are Architectural Digest, National Geographic, BusinessWeek, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Newsweek (which named it Printer of the Year in 2005 for the 20th straight year).

Last Updated: July 2006


  • Fortune magazine: 100 Best Companies to Work For. (accessed October 30, 2006).

  • A Mental Health-Friendly Workplace. Section IV, “Profiles/ Portraits of Mental Health-Friendly Workplaces,” includes the full story on Quad/Graphics. This document also highlights Coffee By Design, “a small business that provides mental health support and benefits,” and Highsmith Inc., “a mid-sized company with mental health-friendly policies that have paid off.”

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