What are some of the challenges one might face in establishing a safe workplace?
One practical challenge is during high-stake projects or projects with tight deadlines. Here, the priority is often to complete things quickly. In these situations, the voice of the leader, the most vocal team member, or the star employee is prioritized.
At the same time, there is little room for mistakes. In such situations, with excitement, anxiety, and stress an employee may be penalized or humiliated for a mistake.
What is the importance of a psychologically safe workplace?
Innovation is a priority at every organization. When an organization is psychologically safe, employees are more open to learning on the job and proactively look for solutions to ground-level problems that a leader may not have access to.
When an employee sees the value they are able to add to the organization, it ensures retention.
How can leaders make it a priority?
- Be explicit that you value respectful communication within the team and when dealing with vendors, partners, and clients
- Encourage Hackathons or Experiment Days where employees have time set aside to showcase new ideas and innovations that will benefit the team
- Hold people accountable if they have been reported for being disrespectful
How to establish a psychologically safe workplace in a hybrid model?
Two best practices in the hybrid model include,
- Creating channels for offering regular employee feedback (positive and negative)
- Conducting regular project check-ins to reduce miscommunication
The practices for managers and HR are different.
What can managers do to increase psychological safety within their teams?
- Be open to speaking about your own mistakes and how you learned from them. This will make employees feel safe to take risks themselves
- Ask open-ended questions
- Explicitly acknowledge ideas from junior employees, interns and other new joiners
- Give credit where it is due. This is important to motivate employees to speak up.
- Be open to asking for help
How can we measure psychological safety in the workplace?
At Serein, we have designed a standard tool that measures psychological safety in the workplace. A few of the parameters are,
- Ability to bring up problems and uncomfortable issues.
- Appetite for risk-taking
- Perception and experience of respect at work
- Exit rate of minority groups
How does a psychologically safe workplace enhance employee engagement?
Very similar to the question on the importance of a psychologically safe workplace – employees who are heard are more likely to be focused, driven, find contentment at work and stay longer or aspire for internal development opportunities in the organization.
How can HR teams proactively take psychological safety ahead?
- Draft a policy on respect at work
- Encourage a culture of speaking up
- Provide redressal for issues of disrespect at work
- Encourage internal mentorship programs
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