When you create a workplace that is psychologically safe, you free your employees up to take risks, fail forward, and feel comfortable enough to bring their full selves to work.
Without that sense of psychological safety, employees won’t feel comfortable stepping out of their comfort zones or revealing hidden parts of themselves, which is important if you want to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels empowered to reach their full potential. Without psychological safety, it’s impossible to create an effective listening culture or build strong and trusting relationships with your employees.
Some ways to create psychological safety for your employees include:
Acknowledging when your employees speak up
When you’re in a group meeting and somebody at the table expresses an opinion that differs from the dominant narrative in the room, take the time to not only acknowledge that person’s perspective, but listen to what they have to say – especially if they indicate that your organization is not on the right path.
If you don’t allow for all voices within your organization to be heard, but only the obvious ones, those with countering views won’t feel safe because they will know that your organization is not inclusive of someone like them.
2. Inviting people to speak up
One thing you can do as a leader to create a sense of psychological safety is to invite feedback – and be open to all the feedback you receive, even if it makes you uncomfortable or reflects changes you, personally, need to make.
Remember, there is no perfect leader and, while no leader seeks out or welcomes mistakes, inviting your employees to be honest about their thoughts and fears and hopes, and encouraging them to speak up when they see or hear something that needs to change, can help you improve your approach as an individual and as an organization.
By offering a clear invitation for your employees to speak up, or by creating boundaries around how and when they should feel free to speak up, you can help direct employee feedback in the most beneficial and valuable way.
3. Considering who you’re asking to speak up
It’s also important to consider who you are inviting to speak up. Have you invited the “right” people to the conversation? Are you being inclusive of all perspectives? Who is seated at the table? Who is not in the room who perhaps should be?
When you’re thinking about how to create psychological safety for your employees, you have to ask yourself how inclusive your listening culture is now, and how much more inclusive it could be.
Are you inviting people who identify in different ways, or who perhaps don’t share the same experiences or perspectives as other people in the room?
How are you giving them the opportunity to share their feedback on a specific issue or initiative?
Creating a culture of listening is more important than ever in these unprecedented times – and organizations who safeguard the psychological welfare and wellbeing of their employees, and who invite two-way conversations and feedback, will be the organizations that survive and ultimately thrive in the next normal.
As experienced HR consultants, we at Employee Fanatix understand how easy it can be to leave employees out of the loop when you’re seeking clues to underlying problems in your organization.
If you’re interested in learning how you can empower your employees to share their knowledge, while simultaneously improving their morale and efficiency, get in touch with us today