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Cultivating Psychological Safety at Workplace - Know the Benefits and Techniques

Posted by Sunny Morgan
Cultivating Psychological Safety at Workplace - Know the Benefits and Techniques

Have you ever felt uncomfortable while trying to share your opinions, concerns, and viewpoints in your workplace? The fear of being judged or grabbing unnecessary attention from everyone makes you reluctant towards making an approach. Anyway, psychological safety at the workplace is a concept coined by Amy Edmondson (Harvard Business School Professor) that emphasizes the mental peace of employees.

●It is a well-versed notion and its evident in many cases, whenever an employee feels psychologically contentful, he/she is more likely to be productive, open to suggestions, collaborative, and contributive to problem-solving scenarios.

●When an organization allows the employees to feel safe and comfortable, they feel less hesitant towards admitting their mistakes, seeking feedback, or asking for assistance or guidance in a challenging scenario.

●Psychological safety at the workplace fosters trust, respect, and coherency in the workplace. Plus, it improves the overall performance of the team. Employees manifest their true selves and be honest about their work; also they feel satisfied.

●The criticality of this concept is even more in the case of call center services where work pressure is generally high. Also, the agents are often required to deliver high performance and demonstrate their skillset.

●When employees feel absolutely secure at their jobs, they accept challenges and risks voluntarily, share ideas, strategies, and insights and genuinely display their concern in the quest for the overall success of the organization.

●When a company neglects the psychological safety of its employees, it is likely to incur some detrimental effects on the health and welfare of employees. Employees shouldn’t worry about the fear of judgment or being ridiculed at any given point.

Many experts agree after paying close attention to the lack of psychological safety in the workplace, that employees don’t share their valuable input. It can, in many cases lead to missed opportunities and a decline in productivity. Also, it is linked to stifle in creativity and innovation. In a nutshell, negligence to psychological safety can create a toxic workplace.

Employee’s Psychological Safety Positively Contagious

In the pursuit of fostering proper psychological safety at the workplace, the leaders and managers are the first ones to take the necessary initiatives. They need to be proactive in their efforts to keep their subordinates and team players contentful. There are a couple of things a manager does to raise a culture that is harmonious.

●First of all, it requires diligent and steady efforts, communication is the first key. The managers are obliged to listen to their team and value their perspectives.

●Managers must encourage constructive criticism and feedback. Meanwhile, they should also be radical and observant enough to conduct rewards and recognition fairly.

●Modeling the vulnerability of employees, which is addressing their limitations and strengths is important. Constructing strategies based on that helps a lot.

There are a few practical strategies that every manager can implement to enhance psychological safety in their workforce. For instance, establishing crystal expectations from the team, rendering undeniable support and resources, embracing a learning culture, motivating everyone to be collaborative, and strictly condemning acts of bullying and harassment at all costs.

Summary:  Having all said, psychological safety in the workplace is important enough and not something that can be neglected. It is necessary for leading a healthy and productive work environment. On our own personal note, it is the duty of every employer to make every individual feel safe, secure, and supported in their jobs.

Employees should make themselves personally and professionally involved in their jobs. Only then we can expect an enhanced workforce. Therefore, team leads should regularly conduct training programs, team-building efforts, and informal discussions that will allow the employees to feel free and work seamlessly.

For instance, in a call center service like order taking call center, team leads can help the agents by making them aware of common technical issues susceptible during order processing. They can also share some insights related to the common problems faced by customers while processing orders so the agents can be better prepared.

The Criticality of Psychological Safety in the Workplace

The productivity and success of your company are directly influenced by the psychological well-being of your employees. When your workforce experiences dissatisfaction or stress, their actions are typically twofold: they either leave the organization or, in a more detrimental scenario, they remain but disengage, leading to decreased productivity and profitability.

Below are additional advantages that highlight the importance of prioritizing psychological safety in the workplace:

Embrace Openness in Communication

Promote transparent communication. The foundation of psychological safety in the workplace lies in cultivating an environment where team members engage in open and honest dialogue. Improved communication paves the way for enhanced collaboration, which is of utmost importance in team-based endeavors.

For instance, if you are running an order-taking call center, you should communicate every feature of the order-processing portal. As a beginner, you must have had some challenges with processing the order initially. Share your experience as a beginner so agents can relate and make improvisations. These are some effective communication methods so far.

Reduction in Employee Turnover Rate

Minimize employee attrition. One of the crucial elements that encourage employees to remain in a company is feeling recognized and esteemed. Establishing a psychologically safe workplace can contribute to reducing employee turnover and retaining exceptional talent. This can significantly improve the overall wellness of your organization. Especially, in the cases of call center services.

Encourage Creativity

Enhance innovation. Psychological safety facilitates an environment where employees feel comfortable exploring unconventional approaches and generating imaginative solutions. By fostering a sense of psychological safety, your team will be more inclined to take risks and venture into uncharted territories, thereby potentially gaining a competitive advantage in your industry. Several BPOs, marketing agencies, and call center services can benefit from this.

Improve Employee Engagement

Elevate employee involvement. When employees experience a sense of security in expressing their thoughts and ideas, their engagement levels rise significantly. This increased engagement fosters stronger connections among colleagues, leading to enhanced collaboration, creativity, and productivity within the workplace.

Invite for Problem-Solving

Enhance problem-solving capabilities. A workplace that promotes psychological safety empowers employees to openly express their perspectives and opinions, resulting in more effective decision-making processes. When individuals feel at ease contributing their ideas, they are better equipped to identify problems and collaboratively devise solutions, ultimately fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Improve the Mental Fitness

Enhance employee well-being. When employees experience a sense of comfort in the workplace, they are less prone to stress and anxiety, more inclined towards motivation and dedication, and less susceptible to burnout. Additionally, a psychologically safe work environment plays a crucial role in preventing or managing mental health challenges by minimizing stressors that could otherwise exacerbate these issues.

Cultivate Innovative Minds

Stimulate innovation. When employees feel secure in expressing their ideas, they are empowered to question the existing norms and explore unconventional approaches, ultimately fostering the emergence of fresh and imaginative solutions. Moreover, psychological safety supports a culture of learning from mistakes and encourages risk-taking, enabling employees to embrace experimentation and drive innovation.

Inclusivity in Talent Acquisition

Attract top-tier talent. When employees experience psychological safety, they cultivate a sense of trust and loyalty towards their employer. The recognition and support they receive contribute to the cultivation of a positive work environment, leading to improved employee morale. Consequently, such an environment becomes appealing to prospective talent, increasing the likelihood of attracting exceptional individuals to join the company.

Henceforth: Paying attention to the psychological well-being of your employees is a vital consideration that should not be overlooked. Surveys indicate that more than 80% of employees prioritize good mental health over pursuing a high-paying job, underscoring the significance of cultivating a healthy work environment. This highlights the growing recognition that a mentally rewarding workplace is crucial for fostering the overall well-being and satisfaction of employees.

Tips for Psychological Safety in Workplace

"Psychological safety is something that is earned and cannot be demanded or expected from leaders."

Experts emphasize that attempting to impose or coerce a psychologically safe environment actually has the opposite effect. Building a culture of psychological safety requires time and consistent effort, but it can be easily destroyed in a short period.

Also, creating and sustaining cultures of psychological safety necessitates deliberate actions, not just words, and it requires continuously modeling the desired behavior. In essence, behavior is not something that is instructed; it is exemplified through actions.

Envision Psychological Safety in Your Narrative

Convey the importance of psychological safety to team members and its benefits for all. Clearly articulate acceptable behaviors and provide explicit expectations and guidelines. This establishes the groundwork for interactions within the organization and delineates which behaviors will not be tolerated.

For instance, it is essential for teams to refrain from harboring grudges regarding mistakes or ideas put forth by colleagues. Similarly, workers should embrace open-mindedness towards suggestions from others. However, it is not sufficient to merely state these desires and hopes for the best. Be open to different narratives of the best workplace too.

Consider incorporating these policies directly into your company's mission or core values and devise a plan to measure their effectiveness, enabling necessary adjustments to be made. Make a conducive environment that fosters the most productivity.

Let Your Employees Be Forthright

During team meetings, observe the participation of individual team members—whether they actively seek clarification, volunteer for projects, or share their opinions. If you notice a consistent lack of engagement during such instances, it could be attributed to feelings of shyness or self-consciousness.

Instead of assuming that your team will naturally provide input or ask questions, it can be beneficial to directly encourage their involvement by posing inquiries such as:

●Is there anything that requires further clarification?

●Does anyone have any questions regarding this matter?

●Would anyone like to take the lead on this project?

●Does anyone feel they need assistance with their tasks this week?

Experts suggest that hesitancy to contribute can serve as a warning sign and indicates the need for improvement in your approach. It might be beneficial to incorporate trust-building exercises to foster an environment where teams feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. Additionally, providing resources such as productivity and communication tools like Slack, Google Docs, and Zoom can facilitate seamless team collaboration.

Teach Mental Health Practices

The majority of health insurance plans currently include coverage for mental health services in addition to traditional physical health services. If you incorporate this coverage into your employees' health plans, it is important to educate them about the benefits available to them. For instance, many call center services such as order-taking call centers, conduct meditation sessions to overcome the overwhelming flow of orders.

When employees are aware that their policy covers mental health services, they are more likely to utilize them. This is significant because mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression, can have direct and indirect impacts on work performance. By offering resources to support employees in managing these issues, you can foster greater productivity, increased engagement, and other valuable benefits.

Advocate the Necessity for Team-Building Practices

Teams that engage in recreational activities together foster growth together. It is worth exploring team-building exercises that extend beyond the workplace, such as organizing enjoyable events like bowling, flag football, softball tournaments, and similar activities that encourage teamwork.

When employees develop positive relationships and camaraderie outside of work, it significantly enhances their ability to collaborate effectively within the office environment. By creating opportunities for shared experiences and team bonding, you enhance the likelihood of a cohesive and productive team dynamic.

Normalize Constructive Criticism

Negative criticism intended to belittle others is generally unwelcome. However, constructive criticism can serve as a valuable tool for addressing performance issues while maintaining respect for employees. It is important to foster an environment where employees feel encouraged to give and receive critiques that are both helpful and respectful.

Leaders should also be open to receiving feedback from their employees, empowering them to contribute to their leaders' growth and improvement. When offering feedback, it is crucial to frame it in terms of how the task or performance can be enhanced, rather than focusing on what the person did wrong.

For instance, encourage team members to provide one another with constructive feedback, creating an environment where everyone can learn and develop. Over time, individuals will become more comfortable expressing their thoughts freely. Establish regular meetings for teams to discuss their goals, progress, and any obstacles they may be facing.

Rewards and Recognition

Acknowledging the importance of recognition in nurturing psychological safety within the workplace is crucial. Expressing appreciation for employees' hard work can significantly contribute to creating a culture where psychological safety thrives, leading to increased engagement and retention of top performers.

●To achieve this, it is beneficial to recognize individuals for their specific accomplishments or efforts, ensuring they feel valued and respected by their colleagues and leaders.

●According to a Workhuman survey, employees reported higher levels of psychological safety when their managers checked in on them.

●However, only 29% of respondents stated they have weekly manager check-ins, and the report revealed that just 51% of respondents received thanks from their managers in the past month.

●It is essential to prioritize recognition by encouraging management teams to acknowledge employees' efforts, not just their achievements.

Positive reinforcement plays a significant role in promoting psychological safety. Consider offering public rewards, awards, and tokens of appreciation to recognize both teams and individuals when they meet goals or reach milestones. Celebrating small victories and successes helps build trust, fosters team building, and cultivates appreciativeness.

Finally: Instead of punishing failure, it is important to encourage team members to take risks and engage in innovation. Celebrate the dedication and effort of employees, even when they don't fully achieve a goal. It is crucial to foster an understanding that failure is not a final outcome but rather an opportunity for learning and growth.

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