3 Reasons For Psychological Safety At Work

Welcome back!

 

I’m really excited to dive into this content with you and start this conversation about what it means to feel psychologically safe at work. 

 

The other day, one of my “business fraternity brothers” (I’m a DeltaSig) hit me up after seeing the newsletter release and asked me about my PhD studies in Business Psychology and Psychological Safety. 

 

She was saying how excited she and her team were to see my newsletter pop up because that is a big area of focus for them right now. 

 

And I made the comment, “Who would have thought people want to feel heard and seen and safe to be human at work? What a headliner! “

 

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But that’s really what it feels like sometimes when I start talking about the concept. 

 

Like we really thought having people show up to work and leaving who they actually are in the parking lot was going to work in a time where we are speaking up about our needs, advocating for our mental health, demanding respect, and leaving toxic work environments in droves. 

 

See: The Great Resignation. 

 

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I’m personally here for it. 

 

People want to feel psychologically safe. People deserve to feel psychologically safe. 

 

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.

 

It’s an understanding between members of a team that others on the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for speaking up.

 

And the lack of it has some SERIOUS repercussions for our work environments. 

 

Last week, I mentioned a few signs that you may be lacking psychological safety at work. Here’s the recap: 

 

  • Not asking as many questions during meetings 
  • Avoiding difficult conversations 
  • Rarely requesting or receiving feedback 
  • High absenteeism & turnover 
  • Not owning up to your mistakes and throwing people under the bus 
  • Not asking for help when you know you need it 
  • Relationships are all professional, none personal 
  • Leadership dominates meetings, leaving little room for you to contribute ideas 

 

This week, I want to share just a few reasons (beyond the obvious) for why it’s so important that we get intentional about increasing the presence of psychological safety in our work environments. 

 

✌️TURNOVER

 

Again, The Great Resignation. We’re seeing skilled & valuable employees leave their roles at alarming rates and while people are enjoying their most liberated selves, companies are taking a costly hit. When a person leaves their job we have to consider things like: 

 

💰 Leaving Costs

 

💰 Searching Costs

 

💰 Hiring Costs

 

💰 Training Costs 

 

And according to SHRM, it can take about 6-9 months of an employee’s salary to replace them. 

 

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YIKES.

 

And that’s just *some* of the tangible costs. What about the intangible costs??

 

Like when ⬇️

 

💰 Productivity decreases with the absent role OR

 

💰 Morale & performance with the remaining team decreases AND

 

It’s important to mention that not only is turnover costly, it’s contagious. 

 

When employees see their colleagues leaving and even hear their colleagues talking about leaving, it can set off a chain reaction. 💰💰💰

 

So, what does this have to do with Psychological Safety? The lack of Psychological Safety has been found to be a significant predictor of voluntary turnover within an organization. 

 

🎨 INNOVATION & CREATIVITY 

 

What’s a successful company without new ideas, new ways to drive growth, and new ways to bring value to the organization? Exactly. 

 

If you want employees that are willing to push the bar not only for themselves but for their teams and the overall company, you have to provide the space for trust and ideas to flow. 

 

So, what does this have to do with Psychological Safety? Well psychological safety is positively related to creativity when there is enough knowledge sharing between members. 

 

Makes sense. I mean, how creative are you when someone is breathing down your neck, judging your every move, and taking credit for your ideas? Not. Very. (I’d assume)

 

🌱 WELLBEING 

 

To create Psychological Safety within your team is to also consider the individual’s wellbeing. Our well-being is a combination of where we are physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. 

 

We can’t continue to ask employees to show up and abandon their needs in the name of our bottom lines. 

 

Well, we can, but I’m telling you, that’s a big part of why so many of our employees are scaling back, leaving companies, and speaking out. 

 

People are tired. But being intentional about psychological safety in your workplace has the potential to energize your workforce. 

 

And you know what? We don’t have to make this a big, daunting, task and initiative. 

 

🖤 Start right where you are. 

 

Here’s a few ideas. 

 

🔑 The way you communicate with your colleagues. Be a little more present. 

 

🔑 The conversations you’re having. Keep them kind and know that everyone’s doing their best at the moment. Know that their best may not be your best and allow consideration for the things you don’t know this person carries with them to work each day. 

 

🔑 And when you make a mistake, which we all do, own it and learn from it. And keep that same grace and energy for those you work with each day. 

 

 

Quick Question: What questions do you all have about Psychological Safety? What are you most excited to learn about? I can keep rambling but would love to make this as intentional and engaging as possible. Let me know in the comments! 

 

Create a Great Day, 

 

Amanda + Team Makomindfulness