How to Cultivate Psychological Safety in Your Workplace

GPTW UK

Author

If you want a highly engaged, productive, happy workforce then you have to invest in your people. You’ve got to create this psychologically safe culture. It’s got to be created in your line managers, hiring executives, in the leadership, it’s got to permeate through this institution. And you know it pays back in so many ways.”

– Professor Dame Carol Black

 

What is psychological safety and why is it important?

Psychological safety is defined by a person’s ability to feel that they won’t be shut down, punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes in the workplace. This extends to their ability to innovate, to speak out against injustices and campaign for changes.

For the individual, it translates to less stress, more job satisfaction, and greater confidence. But businesses also reap the benefits.

“We know from research that if somebody goes to work and feels that they are going to be taken care of, they are going to do much better at work,” says Michael Bush, Global CEO of Great Place to Work®.

Mounting research backs these claims, including a two-year study by Google that revealed their highest performing teams all have one thing in common: psychological safety.

Great Place to Work® has also been amassing a wealth of data on the topic. By surveying employees for 30 years, we have been able to track the successes of companies that score highly in this area.

“We found that psychological safety is the biggest driver of earnings,” says Mr Bush. “Of our question set, it is the most important predictor of profitability.”

Less stress among the workforce has a direct correlation with less absenteeism and higher retention. Data also shows that creating environments of high psychological safety will make organisations more productive and have higher levels of customer advocacy.

 

It all starts with trust

Feelings of trust and psychological safety are interwoven. You cannot talk about one without talking about the other.

To quantify psychological safety, Great Place to Work® has been measuring “trust” through employee surveys for 30 years. “It’s become a new thing for a lot of people, but for us it’s been decades of research knowing that trust is the foundation,” says Mr Bush.

The research shows that trusting and caring for those on your team, and feeling it in return, is what drives exceptional performance and pride in their work. “That’s what causes somebody to double check their work, or triple check their work,” Mr Bush continues. “It’s not the hourly wage, it’s not stock options. Exceptional work comes from people caring.”

 

psychological-safety-statistics-trophy

 

Download more insights and best practices in our ‘Safe for work’ report

 

The secret sauce: culture

 

“Our energy around psychological safety starts with our culture — and it’s real, it’s not just a word, it genuinely influences the way we practice in our business here.”

– Brent Hyder, President & Chief People Officer at Salesforce

 

Companies interviewed in our ‘Safe for work’ study all achieved high rankings and special recognition for being a great workplace with an excellent record of psychological safety. When asked about how they grew and achieved their positions, they pointed to their workplace culture.

“Culture” may seem a cop-out because the term can seem vague and unquantifiable. But through our unique diagnostics, our clients can measure their employee experience and benchmark it internally and externally to continuously make gains in the right direction.

Organisations recognised as one of Europe’s Best Workplaces™ consistently speak to the unique tangibility culture has in the everyday workplace. It’s the organisational values and subsequent leadership behaviours that align employees’ mindset and unite them behind the mission. And in great workplaces they are reinforced day after day.

 

“We intentionally take culture, sense of purpose and our principles off the page and live it in everything we do.”

– Kate Menzies, Vice President of People & Organisation at Mars, Inc.

 

Increasing psychological safety even in a crisis

As Covid-19 spread across the globe, nearly all companies found themselves rushed to create physically safe environments for both frontline and office workers. At great places to work psychological safety has become even more top of mind.

“Psychological safety is more important to us than ever. We invested in the health and wellness of our associates including pay protection and ensuring associates had the right set up at their home given personal circumstances. We are not letting that go,” says Ms Menzies.

“We have a number of new programmatic efforts to support our staff members,” adds Michael Egermann, Amgen’s Head of HR in Europe. Egermann. “But at the end of the day, at the core of it is communication to make sure you talk to people and listen…From this we recognised that people were struggling to find the boundaries of work.

“Many were getting up early and finishing late. So where possible we mandated that everyone take a vacation over Easter. Initially a lot of people weren’t pleased, but after we heard great feedback. Some people didn’t realise how tired they were.”

 

Click here to read the full study and learn how you can start improving the psychological safety in your workplace.

GPTW UK

Author

CTA GOES HERE

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from