How creating a psychologically safe environment in the workplace can be the key to forming high performance teams.
There's nothing new about the idea that there's a strong link between employees' happiness and a company's productivity. For decades, HR and Learning & Development directors have been working on plans and programmes for their teams that ensure their employees remain content, well-resourced and motivated when they come to work.
Reading the HR articles and features over the last 12 months, you might be aware that there's been some recent developments on this theme with the concept of Psychological Safety.
Psychological Safety within a group of people is the belief that the environment is safe for those people to express themselves appropriately, and that they feel able to speak up when needed with relevant ideas, questions or concerns without the fear of being shut down in some way.
We all know that recruitment is expensive and time consuming so there's now an even greater emphasis on employee retention. Could creating psychological safe environments be the key to retaining good people and driving company performance?
As I've touched on above. individuals, teams and organisations need environments where their unique talents and differences can be expressed and leveraged. Teams with high psychological safety foster greater trust, creativity, collaboration, and innovation. The ultimate goal could be described as the Fearless Organisation.
Psychological safety is a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. Too many organisational cultures and systems prevent people from challenging the status quo, speaking about blunt truths and difficult issues, admitting that mistakes were made, offering new ideas, taking risks, or trying new approaches to challenges faced. Without sufficient psychological safety at work, individuals and teams are not leveraging their full potential.
It can therefore be suggested that Psychological Safety can improve employee loyalty and be a key factor that influences someone to remain with a company rather than look to the market for more opportunities. So, as a business leader or a manager of a team, what steps can you take and what behaviours can you encourage to create this type of environment:
Talking to your teams and line managers about these simple steps can be a great starting point to creating a psychologically safe environment. Try it out in your next team meeting. Demonstrate that it's OK to make mistakes and only through failure can we learn from the experience collectively and put processes in place to avoid them happening again.
Once these ideas are woven into the fabric of your organisation, notice the difference it makes. Monitor how your employees and teams work together and the positive impact it has on employee happiness, motivation levels and productivity.
Richard Reid is the CEO & Founder of Pinnacle Wellbeing, a business that offers a personalised range of health & wellbeing services for businesses & their employees. From 1-2-1 coaching to training and therapy, they help businesses build a bigger picture of their potential, performance and wellbeing.