Psychological safety is the measure of how safe and supported people feel to express their opinion, to show initiative, and to suggest better ways of doing things at work.
In general, people play safe when they don’t feel safe in speaking up in the workplace. On the other hand, encouraging people to speak up and share novel ideas can bring tremendous positive results.
Our team at Human Capital Realisation has created a video series that tackles the multiple benefits of psychological safety in the workplace. And in this article, we compile these videos to give you an overview of how improving psychological safety in the workplace can benefit your organisation:
1. Psychological safety has quantifiable financial benefits for the organization.
2. Psychological safety supports a wide range of other KPIs. These Key Performance Indicators or KPIs include those related to physical safety and wellbeing.
3. It promotes employee engagement. It also enables you to finally achieve the promised return on investment from all your work implementing diversity and inclusion.
4. It is clearly the right thing to do!
Video 1: The Benefits of Psychological Safety
Video 2: Financial Benefits of Psychological Safety
When psychological safety is high, employees are more likely to take ownership and to put in more of their own effort that leads to:
- Faster learning
- Better problem solving
This relates directly to many indicators of success in business, including financial return.
A large Australian clothing retailer found that their sales conversion rates were strongly influenced by the psychological safety of their staff.
When they focused on improving psychological safety the result was an increase in per store revenue by over $30,043 each month, or a potential revenue increase of $21.8 million every year. All for an investment of a fraction of that amount.
Psychological safety works at the level of the individual, the team and the whole organisation. It can be measured by a simple and brief survey, and it can be improved by targeted coaching.
Video 3: Psychological Safety and your Performance
Psychological safety impacts many Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and therefore brings improvements to multiple areas of organisational performance. Where psychological safety is high so are the following:
Innovation: Not only good ideas, but also their successful implementation
Employee engagement: All HR professionals know the benefits of that
Physical safety: Accidents and injuries are reduced when people feel safe to raise concerns
Learning and development: L&D is improved when employees can learn from their mistakes
Diversity and inclusion: This happens when everyone feels safe to contribute to workplace success
Employee mental health: This can lead to a 400% return on the investment spent on improving Psychological Safety
Video 4: Employee Engagement and Psychological Safety
Psychological safety can have a massive and positive impact on employee engagement.
As leading researcher in psychological safety, Amy C. Edmondson, sums it up:
In healthcare, it has been found that psychological safety of workers is not only related to patient safety but also to employee engagement. Research has also shown that the positive effects of psychological safety on engagement were even higher for employees who are from diverse or marginalised groups.
This means that psychological safety can help you finally realise the full benefits of diversity and inclusion. And it’s obvious why psychological safety leads to greater employee engagement.
If employees know that their input is valued, they will be more engaged and will find it easier to perform at higher levels.
Video 5: It’s the Right Thing To Do
Simply, it’s the right thing to do. Would an employer knowingly take risks with the physical health of their employees? Of course not. In fact, it most countries that would be illegal.
An employer has a duty and responsibility to provide a safe working environment – and that includes psychological safety. It’s as simple as that.
But did you know that studies have found that just by improving a business’ ethical reputation that business can increase its return on assets by an average of 7%.
That’s because ethical conduct not only improves conditions for employees but also improves the business’s relationships with customers and suppliers. And employees not only benefit psychologically, but materially also.
A 10% improvement in ethical behaviour is associated with a 1% improvement in mental health and a 2.7% increase in wages.
So psychological safety in the workplace has financial benefits, it supports a wide range of Key Performance Indicators, and it leads to greater employee engagement.
Want to measure and improve psychological safety in your organisation?
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