Psychological Safety for a Post-pandemic Workforce
Employees who don’t feel safe and cared for can’t concentrate
Psychological safety is the core of a successful business, especially considering current events. Employees who don’t feel safe and cared for can’t concentrate, and their hearts just aren’t in their work. On the other hand, when workers are in a culture of psychological safety, they are 50 percent more productive and the company enhances revenue growth by 5 percent to 10 percent. It’s not easy to do, but it makes good business sense.
So how can HR create a culture of psychological safety?
1. Get clear on the definition
Start with making sure that management is clear on the core principles of the idea. In the 1990s, Dr. Amy Edmondson of Harvard University coined the term “a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.” When business gurus got hold of psychological safety a few decades later, the definition evolved to an easier-to-remember “Freedom to fail,” encouraging teams to “fail fast, fail often, and fail forward.” Or, as the Scrum master crowd popularized it; “Fail fast, learn faster.”
Having the freedom to fail is a deceptively simple concept – saying “you won’t get in trouble” isn’t enough. The culture must meet the team’s needs to feel physically safe, emotionally safe, and a sense of belonging before psychological safety can begin. Understanding psychological safety, and its foundation, is core to its practice.
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