You have the right to feel psychologically safe at work

Published December 5th, 2022 - 08:41 GMT
You have the right to feel psychologically safe at work
At the end of the day, Psychological safety at the workplace is not a nice to have, it is a must-have. (shutterstock)

ALBAWABA - Feeling safe and validated at work is perhaps one of the most crucial yet underrated aspects of a healthy workplace. In fact, at a time when stress and mental health issues are on the rise, it is imperative that organizations and leaders ensure that their employees are feeling safe at the workplace. 

Taking care of employees’ mental well-being is not only crucial for employees but is also pivotal to the success of companies. Research has shown that poor mental health can cause significant losses to companies. In its mental health research, Deloitte highlights that poor mental health has cost UK employers up to £56B in 2020-21 losses compared to £45B in 2019. 

Poor mental health can greatly affect the well-being of both employees and organizations. Therefore, nurturing psychological safety and ensuring that all employees are feeling safe and well is instrumental.

Defining psychological safety

In short, psychological safety is feeling safe when sharing your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs without fearing judgment or shaming. When psychological safety is present, employees are more likely to feel confident being themselves and showing who they truly are. 

The term first came to life back in 1999 by Amy Edmondson and sheds light on the fact that all employees have the right to feel safe when feeling vulnerable and authentic. 

“Psychological safety means an absence of interpersonal fear. When psychological safety is present, people are able to speak up with work-relevant content.” - Amy Edmondson

Why is psychological safety important? 

The success and growth of organizations are integral parts of making it in the business world.
But what many leaders and companies are failing to see is the important role that psychological safety plays in the success of their organization. In fact, Google’s Aristotle Project reports that what sets apart successful teams from other teams are five dynamics, with psychological safety being the most important. 

When employees feel a sense of belonging, equality, and safety at work, they will be more productive and motivated to give their best. Creating a high level of psychological safety and respect will encourage employees to bring forth innovative ideas, collaborate, and ultimately reach their full potential. This will also help build trust and honesty with employees and help companies retain top talent. 

On the other hand, companies that fail to foster psychological safety are setting themselves up for real business repercussions that can cause significant losses. For instance, a lack of psychological safety can trigger depression and anxiety in employees, both of which have a negative impact on employee performance. 

Ultimately, psychological safety is a right that every employee should have access to. Because at the end of the day, Psychological safety at the workplace is not a nice to have, it is a must-have. 

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