Creating Psychological Safety in Organizations and Businesses

psychological safety in the workplace

Does your business or organization foster an environment that places psychological safety in the foreground? While plenty of workplaces will claim to have a healthy dynamic at play, oftentimes, we neglect to consider the importance of valuing psychological safety. As a vital part of team growth, development, and retention, creating a space that’s safe and inclusive has been proven to have long-lasting payoffs for everyone involved in the company or organization. If you’re looking to boost your retention, reduce tension in the workplace, and train your leadership team to excel, it’s time to take a closer look at how closely you prioritize psychological safety.

Below, we’ll take a look at what safe workspaces look like, and why some teams face high attrition rates compared to others. Learn more below!

What is Psychological Safety?

If you’re wondering what you mean when we say “psychologically safe” workspaces, you’re not alone. In the professional realm, creating psychological safety simply means creating an environment where team members of all levels share the belief (and value) that it’s okay to take interpersonal risks as a group. While this will look different in practice for every team, at the core, psychological safety starts from the top down with executives and key leaders within your organization choosing to foster an environment that allows your team to venture out of their “safety zone” and share creative ideas, voice their concerns and identify problems, and continue to grow together.

Study after study has shown that having this kind of environment is remarkably beneficial to both staff and leadership, with high-performers, by and large, preferring to stay in environments where they feel heard and valued. If you’ve noticed a recent spike in top-talent leaving, or are wondering why you’ve been struggling to onboard new team members, you may want to look at how your leadership practices the following:

Actively Being Engaged

The last few years have presented us all with some unique challenges and stressors, and it’s more than understandable that many of us may find that we’re less engaged in the workplace than we’d like to be some days. With that being said, if your leadership doesn’t engage with their team members or make them feel heard when they voice their opinions/concerns, you’re in danger of creating a bad dynamic to crawl back. Coaching your leadership on how to actively listen to employees and ensure they feel valued is essential to creating a safe space and fostering future growth.

Exercise Empathy and Understanding

In addition to engaging team members appropriately, the best leaders know how to make sure they’re in alignment with their people. Don’t just say you understand, ensure you’re displaying empathy on all fronts, from avoiding closed-off body language or quick, dismissive replies, to taking the time to clarify any points you may be unsure of and making sure the individual you’re interacting with knows you’re trying to meet with them on their level.

Banish the Blame Game

Blame doesn’t get anyone anywhere, plain and simple. While you may have to identify certain responsibilities where things went wrong, you can do so without turning it into a chance to single someone out for making a mistake. Turn the moment into a learning opportunity for the whole team, take accountability where you need to, and ask everyone, “how can we do this better next time?” Removing the fear and stigma associated with errors helps to reassure your team of their worth, and will make them far more likely to continue giving their all in the future.

Say “No” to Negativity

Nothing kills a healthy work environment like negativity. From gossip to cliquey behaviour, constantly shooting down ideas, and aggressive sarcasm that takes away from productivity, there are plenty of ways that negativity can rip your team apart and set a bad standard for newcomers. As a leadership team, the only way to deal with negativity is to swiftly, and firmly, nip negativity in the bud. Speak with anyone who may be displaying negative behaviours and let them know that such actions will not be tolerated and that the goal is to build each other up, not tear them down.

Inclusion and Communication

Finally, one of the biggest components of building a psychologically safe workplace is ensuring that inclusion and communication are at the front of everyone’s mind. You can achieve this by practicing and encouraging self-awareness, dedicating time to team building and development, and making sure your team always has a valid opportunity to voice their mind.

Create Safe Workspaces with Pivot HR

At Pivot HR, we know that creating the ideal workplace can be a bit of an undertaking, especially if you’re just getting started with building your team or are in the process of adapting and restructuring for the future. Based in Vancouver BC, we’re proud to partner with businesses and organizations across Canada to give you access to the HR support and tools you need to succeed. From executive coaching and leadership training for mid-upper management, employee workshops, workplace investigations and more, our team is here to help you grow safely and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more!

What Our Clients say about us

Read more testimonials