The Employer of Choice Social Purpose Working Group comprises individuals from various job roles and backgrounds across the organization who share a common interest and objective: improving the working environment for all team members and enhancing our reputation as a great place to work. The group collectively identifies topics of interest and conducts in-depth discussions on these subjects during their monthly meetings.
In a recent meeting of the Employer of Choice Working Group, led by Laura McBride and Jenny Vandehey from First Onsite, the spotlight was on the theme of Psychological Safety. You may have heard the term “psychological safety” and may be wondering what it means.
Psychological safety is the belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. At work, it’s a shared expectation of team members that teammates will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedback. People who work in psychologically safe environments feel comfortable showing up to work as their authentic selves, they feel secure that their contributions are valued and that they can be respectfully open and honest without risk of embarrassment or punishment. Cultivating a psychologically safe work environment begins at the top. It is essential that leadership model the behavior they wish to see from their team members. After all, the actions and behavior of the leadership team set the tone for the entire organization.
It should come as no surprise that psychological safety at work is crucial to employee happiness, engagement and well-being. It is the foundation for a culture that fosters diversity, inclusion and belonging. It has important impacts to the bottom line as well, as it also drives team performance.Research has shown that psychologically safe teams are more effective, more likely to remain with the organization, more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their team members and, ultimately, bring in more revenue because they are empowered.
We’ve all been in meetings where people may not feel psychologically safe. One example of this is when a presenter asks for questions or feedback and in response gets crickets. Often all it takes is one person to speak up and signal to others that it is safe to follow.
To prep for the recent meeting, Laura shared a brief video with the group, Better Leadership and Learning with Psychological Safety, by Trevor Ragan featuring Amy Edmondson.
This video is a must-watch if you are interested in learning more about psychological safety and how and why leaders should care about creating psychologically safe workplaces.
What are some ways to identify whether your team members feel psychologically safe? One way is to deploy a simple, anonymous survey asking team members to rate their level of agreement (strongly agree to strongly disagree) to four statements:
Here are a few things leaders can do to foster a psychologically safe environment:
We hope you enjoyed this introduction to psychological safety in the workplace.
Want to learn more? Here are some suggested resources you might find helpful:
The Fearless Organization, Amy Edmonson
Crucial Conversations, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler