In today’s fast-paced and competitive work environment, creating a culture of openness and trust can be challenging. However, as a leader of a team, prioritising psychological safety is crucial to unlocking their full potential. In this blog, we’ll explore why psychological safety matters in the workplace. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the benefits of psychological safety and how you can create a safe and productive work environment for your team.
As a leader, you have a significant impact on the work environment and the productivity of your team members. One important factor that contributes to an environment for successful, high-performing teams is psychological safety. When employees feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to be engaged, innovative, and collaborative.1 See below for examples of why psychological safety should be a priority for your team, and our top tips on how you can achieve it:
Teams with high levels of psychological safety perform better!
According to a study by Google, high-performing teams share one common trait: psychological safety.2 Teams that felt psychologically safe were able to take more risks, be more creative, and solve problems more effectively. They were also more likely to meet their goals and objectives. One way you can achieve high levels of psychological safety by promoting diversity and inclusion through training on unconscious bias, and creating initiatives that encourage diverse perspectives and initiatives.
Psychological safety reduces employee turnover.
When employees feel safe to speak up and share their opinions, they are more likely to feel valued and engaged in their work. This, in turn, can reduce turnover rates. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that employees who felt psychologically safe were 12 times more likely to stay with their organisation.3 You can reduce turnover by conducting regular one-on-ones to check in on their wellbeing and offer support. Additionally, you can reduce turnover by investing in individual mentorship, further education or clear career pathways.
It fosters a culture of innovation.
Innovation requires taking risks and trying new things. When employees feel safe to take risks and share their ideas, they are more likely to come up with innovative solutions to problems. In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 72% of employees felt that innovation was important to their organisation’s success, but only 25% felt that their organisation was truly innovative.4 You can achieve a culture of innovation that emphasises learning over blame by reframing mistakes as learning opportunities for growth and improvement. Additionally, leaders can foster innovation by providing space for autonomy and ownership – further empowering your team to innovate.
Psychological safety leads to higher job satisfaction.
When employees feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their job and their workplace. This can lead to higher levels of engagement, motivation, and productivity. A study by the American Psychological Association found that employees who experienced high levels of psychological safety reported higher levels of job satisfaction and lower levels of stress and burnout.5 You can create higher levels of job satisfaction by balancing the collective workload. This can involve delegating tasks, providing resources, or re-evaluating priorities as they shift to reduce stress or burnout.
It promotes diversity and inclusion.
Creating a psychologically safe work environment is especially important for promoting diversity and inclusion. When employees feel safe to share their unique perspectives and experiences, it can lead to more diverse and inclusive teams. A study by Deloitte found that organisations with inclusive cultures were six times more likely to be innovative and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.6 You can promote diversity and inclusion in your team by leading by example. This can look like role-modelling inclusive behaviour, using inclusive language, and actively seeking out feedback from team members with different backgrounds to stimulate debate and discussion.
Psychological safety is a critical factor in creating a productive and healthy work environment. Teams with high levels of psychological safety are more likely to perform well, be innovative, and retain top employees. By prioritising psychological safety and creating a culture of openness and trust, you can help your team members feel valued, heard, and engaged in their work, leading to organisational success and high performing teams.