Have you ever been an employee in a workplace where you just don’t feel comfortable? You feel as though you aren’t listened to, can’t ask questions and the thought of making a mistake might raise your blood pressure? 

Psychological safety in the workplace is creating an environment for all employees and staff, regardless of background, whereby ideas can be shared and developed, questions bounced off each other without judgement and where mistakes don’t lead to humiliation or retribution. It’s about contribution and participation from all staff to ensure everyone feels valued and respected. 

Benefits of Psychological Safety

Research has shown that when there is a strong sense of psychological safety in workplaces, employees are more productive, innovative, and engaging. Part of this is creating diversity in a workplace which has many benefits including greater client satisfaction, greater job satisfaction, increased career development opportunities and increased innovation. 

Psychological wellbeing enhances employee engagement by creating a safe environment to engage and interact with. This could be increased engagement in team meetings, more collaboration or greater outcomes for customers and clients. It also decreases the risk of presenteeism and absenteeism, whilst increasing creativity and inspiration. 

Mental health largely contributes to overall wellbeing, work participation and work satisfaction. When employees are mentally healthy, they are more likely to improve their wellbeing, improving their performance and reducing stress. 

By creating a psychologically safe workplace, where employees feel safe, you are more likely to create ambassadors and leaders who will express their positive experiences whilst working for the business. With this, comes an increase in quality candidates when hiring, and reduced turnover. 

How to Create Psychological Wellbeing 

  • Promote self-awareness: self-awareness allows us to figure out how we think, behave, react and what biases we may have that could be impacting our peers and employees. 
  • Demonstrate concern for your peers: practicing empathy and checking in on people in your team shows genuine concern and interest. This makes people feel more comfortable and appreciated for them as a person, not just their role in the company. 
  • Actively seek out questions; in meetings and discussions, ask for questions and different viewpoints. By seeking discussion and questions, others can further formulate their ideas and engagement in the workplace. 
  • Increase communication mediums; Some people don’t feel comfortable speaking in person but will give great insight via email or over a phone call. By providing different avenues of communication, you can maximise collaboration and formulation of ideas. 
  • Show appreciation and value; by showing value and appreciation for ideas and achievements, increases employees job satisfaction and establishes psychological safety. 
  • Promote positive discussion; using positive affirmations such as “You can do this” or “I know you are capable” can employ a positive mindset in employees and empower them. 
  • Be transparent; being clear with information, expectations and commitments helps employees with trust. 
  • Own up to mistakes; when we own up to our own mistakes, it helps others feel confident in owning their slip ups. It also provides an opportunity to learn from these mistakes, and making employees realise they won’t be punished for their mistakes.