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Numerous studies have shown that businesses can thrive when they prioritize collaboration and foster a sense of belonging among their employees. Research indicates that companies with a strong sense of belonging can experience a 56% increase in productivity and a 50% reduction in employee turnover.

However, many companies do not fully understand the importance of psychological safety in creating an environment that encourages collaboration. To create high-performing teams, it is crucial for companies to invest in psychologically safe work environments.

This article will explore what psychological safety is, why it is important, and how leaders can promote it in the workplace.

Psychological safety refers to the feeling and belief that one can express their thoughts, opinions, and ideas without fear of degradation or shame. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, safety is a basic human need. Creating psychologically safe work environments is critical for fostering high-performing teams and retaining employees.

The term "psychological safety" was coined by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, who defined it as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. Establishing norms is critical to success and participation when it comes to creating psychologically safe environments, according to Edmondson and Harvard Business School professor Jeff Polzer.

Leadership reactions and responses to team members are more important than speaking out for creating a psychologically safe environment. Psychological safety can act as a buffer against undermining behaviors that drive people away from various industries.

Developing a psychologically safe work culture has numerous benefits, including enhanced employee engagement, fostering an inclusive workplace culture, encouraging creativity and new ideas, improved employee well-being, creation of brand ambassadors, reduced employee turnover, and boosting team performance.

7 reasons psychological safety is Important at Work

An effective team values psychological safety as much as they do physical safety and performance standards.

Developing a psychologically safe work culture has many benefits, including:

Enhanced employee engagement

When team members feel safe at work, it’s easier for them to engage. This could be in a team meeting, solving problems, collaborating on projects, and engaging with their customers and peers. Additionally, safe teams inspire employees to be fully present at work versus dozing off or counting the hours until the workday is over.

Fosters an inclusive workplace culture

It’s more important than ever to make all team members feel included. Safe workspaces welcome diverse teams. They allow all team members to flourish regardless of gender, colour, race, background, or political preferences. The result is a rich give-and-take experience where everyone feels connected and part of a united front.

It encourages creativity and new ideas

In order for creativity and ideas to flow organically, team members must feel safe expressing themselves. Imagine how many inspired ideas were never shared because a team member didn't feel safe sharing.

Improved employee well-being

Mental health highly contributes to overall well-being. When employees are mentally healthy, it's easier for them to perform at an optimal level and avoid stressors that keep them from doing their best.

It creates brand ambassadors

Creating a psychologically safe workplace is one of the best ways to inspire team members to constantly brag about you. Team members can’t help but gush about how wonderful work is when they’re being treated right.

Reduced employee turnover

A recent study reported that team members who feel psychologically safe at work are less likely to leave. In the end, why leave a company that treats you with respect and makes you feel safe and valued?

There are horrendous costs that come with interviewing, hiring, and training team members (among other costs). High employee turnover isn’t sustainable for successful businesses.

Boosted team performance

When you have got highly engaged employees that don’t want to leave, teams perform. When you have an inclusive workplace culture, brand ambassadors, and inspired ideas, teams perform. When you have healthy employees in addition to all of the above, you have got a winning recipe for boosting team performance.

In summary, creating a psychologically safe work environment is essential for developing high-performing teams and retaining employees. Leaders can promote psychological safety by establishing norms and reacting positively to team members.

The benefits of a psychologically safe workplace are numerous, including enhanced employee engagement, increased creativity, and improved employee well-being.


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