Tag Archive for: psychological safety

The Importance of Psychological Safety to Your Workforce

When employees are afraid to speak up about new ideas or safety issues, it doesn’t foster a positive or productive work environment. More efficient work gets accomplished when people feel like they are part of a team. The idea of psychological safety at work has begun to receive more attention in recent years. Here’s what that means and the benefits of making it a priority for workers. 

What is Psychological Safety at Work?

Psychological safety is the belief that employees won’t be embarrassed or punished for speaking up with questions, ideas, mistakes, or concerns. In the workplace, there is a common expectation that management and fellow workers won’t reject or humiliate others for taking risks, sharing ideas, or asking for feedback. 

Psychological safety doesn’t mean everyone in the workplace is nice to each other all the time. However, it does mean that people can freely voice ideas, share feedback, challenge the status quo, and work through disagreements without fearing any negative consequences. 

The Importance of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Effective workplaces prioritize psychological safety just as much as physical safety. Creating a culture that values a psychologically safe workplace has many benefits for businesses. 

1. Improves Employee Engagement

When team members feel safe in the workplace, it’s easier for them to engage, whether it be solving problems or working with peers. A 2017 Gallup report concluded that if organizations focus on psychological safety, it makes employees more engaged and can boost productivity by up to 12%. 

2. Encourages Inclusive Workplace

Making all employees feel included is more important than ever. The best way to get diverse teams is to have safe workspaces where every worker feels part of a united and connected front regardless of their background. 

3. Fosters New Ideas and Creativity

Team members who feel safe expressing themselves are more likely to be creative on the job. Conversely, many employees may avoid sharing some of the best ideas or reporting things that should be addressed because they don’t feel safe sharing. 

4. Boosts Employee Well-Being

Mental health is a contributing factor to overall well-being. When employees believe their organization cares about their mind and body, it’s easier for them to deal with everyday stressors and perform at the highest possible levels. 

5. Reduces Employee Turnover

High employee turnover can be costly for a business. Employees overwhelmingly want to work for an employer that cares about their well-being. One recent study revealed that workers who feel psychologically safe in the workplace are less likely to leave. 

6. Creates Brand Ambassadors

Having employees name your business as a top place to work is a goal of many companies. Creating a psychologically safe workplace is one of the best ways to transform team members into brand ambassadors. 

7. Increases Team Performance

When your employees are engaged and feel safe, they will deliver top performance. Google studied its employees to determine “what makes a good team,” and researchers discovered that psychological safety was the most important quality for success. 

Psychological Safety Requires Specific Actions

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies had to focus more than ever on safety, both physical and psychological. Part of many processes for businesses was to shift the way individuals were empowered within the workplace. 

Many businesses today are focusing more on ways to add value to the employment experience. Instead of just collecting a paycheck, workers should feel safe, fulfilled, and valued at their place of employment. Some of the ways to accomplish this include:

  • Acknowledge that every worker is an individual
  • Proactively invite input from every employee
  • Create an understanding of what work your business does and why everyone’s contribution matters
  • Respond positively to all input
  • Encourage team members to ask management and each other for help
  • Invite input about difficult issues and problems

In the context of workplace safety, psychological safety is invaluable. When workers feel valued and “heard,” they will be more likely to report small safety issues before they become larger problems that can lead to injuries and accidents. 

Offering a Safe Workplace for Employees

When employees come to work, they should feel as if their employer cares about their safety and well-being. When physical safety becomes a priority, this has psychological benefits for employees and can even boost business results. 

Employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace that protects employees from harm, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To learn more about these rights and responsibilities, contact OSHA Injury Attorney directly.