What Is Psychological Safety in the Workplace and Why Is It Important?

Close your eye for a moment and try to think of the element you believe to be the most vital to a healthy and functional workplace. Moving as much product for a profit as possible? Achieving perfect customer service?

Chances are psychological safety didn’t make the cut of your top factors. But it’s growing so valuable Google even found it to be the most important factor required to make a strong team in a 2015 survey. But what is psychological safety, and how does it benefit your workplace?

Well, we’re here to answer your question with our complete guide to psychological safety!

But enough preamble! Let’s jump into it!

What is Psychological Safety?

Psychological safety refers to the idea that an employee can express their thoughts, questions, and ideas to their co-workers without fear of repercussion. For example, let’s say a new hire asked a bevy of questions to their co-workers that seemed rudimentary to veterans. A workplace without strong psychological safety would see the more seasoned co-workers mock or talk down to the new hire for their “stupidity”. 

This also refers to pointing out issues in how a company functions to a higher-up. If Joe from accounting can’t tell his boss their filing system needs a major overhaul without getting called lazy and thrown out of the building, the workplace isn’t psychologically safe. 

Why is Psychological Safety Valuable In the Workplace?

The main reason that every workplace needs psychological safety is that it helps every employee to feel that their voice is valued and appreciated. Many studies have shown that employees who feel valued within their company have higher rates of job satisfaction. As such, they are more likely to stay with a company for longer. 

This also helps push employees to work harder, since they can engage with the work more without fear of missteps equaling disaster.

Psychological safety also helps promote teamwork and brew creativity within the workplace. In an environment where any idea someone doesn’t like gets shot down, the company will never have the chance to grow and change into something more. Companies that don’t grow can’t keep up with evolving customer markets, meaning you’re poised to lose more and more business.

Tips and Tricks

So how do you start implementing psychological safety into your workplace? For starters, try obtaining a survey from somewhere like https://www.leaderfactor.com/psychological-safety-team-survey and distributing them to your employees. This way, you can see in what areas of your company you lack this safety.

Once you’ve determined your problem areas, start guiding your employees to view things differently. Where a failed product once conjured cries of blame and anger, redirect that energy to figuring out what went wrong and how you could fix it in the future. Teaching people how to give constructive criticism and creating a firm set of rules around conflict management will also help here.

A Workplace In Harmony

And there you have it! Now that you know all about psychological safety and how it can help you in the workplace, you’re ready to start implementing it today! And for more tips on running a harmonious and successful business, make sure to check out the other posts on our website!