This article is on the 5 benefits a workplace may experience from having a psychologically safe environment:
- Comfortable asking questions
- Giving and receiving feedback
- Openly discuss mistakes
- Comfortable to experiment and fail
- Unorthodox ideas, opposing perspectives
As the world has started to tackle the stigma around mental health, people have started to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. So, what are some of the benefits of experiencing psychological safety in the workplace, and how does that impact mental health? Let’s take a look at what benefits your workplace could experience or may already be experiencing if psychological safety is present.
If you are looking for an explanation of what exactly psychological safety is, read our article “What is Psychological Safety in the Workplace”.
5 Benefits of a Psychologically Safe Workplace
When a psychologically safe environment is present in the workplace there are many benefits that can be seen. Here are the top 5 benefits of a psychologically safe workplace:
1. Comfortable asking questions
Having an environment where staff members feel comfortable enough to ask questions helps with gathering important information, as well as promoting collaboration. Questions also show that the person is engaged and interested in the conversation or topic. Asking questions also shows peers that the person will not sit on a problem for too long due to embarrassment or pride, which promotes getting things done more quickly and effectively by asking for help when it is needed. Just remember – questions lead to answers!
2. Giving and receiving feedback
A workplace where feedback is openly given and received helps people learn from their mistakes, clarifies expectations, and also allows for confidence to be built. When employees receive feedback from their colleagues and managers it helps them become more self-aware of their areas for improvement, their strengths, and also how the people in their environment perceive them. With that information, employees are able to work towards their own personal growth which is vital to an employee’s ongoing development in their role. Feedback also increases engagement as it can motivate staff to perform better and increases communication within the team.
3. Openly discuss mistakes
Openly discussing mistakes in the workplace helps employees work harder to improve. Too often mistakes are received with denial, excuses, and burial when they should be met with analysis, truth, reflection. It is important to learn that mistakes can be seen as the catalyst of change and growth. While praise feels very nice, all the praise in the world is sometimes not enough to create much needed change in the workplace. More broadly, mistakes include bad habits and unproductive traits, not just small errors and omissions. Until an employee understands and owns their own mistakes, the path to improvement will remain hidden.
4. Comfortable to experiment and fail
These two concepts go hand in hand as employees will be reluctant to experiment and take risks if they are unwilling to fail. When a workplace allows for a certain amount of failure, experimentation is encouraged, which means innovation will follow as failure often reveals different opportunities for success. Think of it this way, learning what doesn’t work has proven a necessary step in learning what will work long-term to eventually stand the test of time. Trial and error is considered one of the most effective approaches for innovation, and innovation can lead to great success!
5. Put forward unorthodox ideas and opposing perspectives
New perspectives can lead to new opportunities. Each person’s perspective is limited by their own experience, so the more perspectives you allow to be presented, the less limitations exist. When employees are in a work environment that encourages them to contribute their ideas and perspectives, they will be more likely to share those ideas and perspectives – which is especially important if the ideas they share are unorthodox or oppose the viewpoint of their work peers. When employees do not feel safe enough in their environment, they are less likely to share a differing point of view. Creating a trusting environment where staff members can share productive ideas, no matter how unusual they may be, will allow for some of the most unique and otherwise hidden ideas and solutions to come forth.
Safety that Benefits Everyone
As you can see, psychological safety is not something that should be taken lightly in the workplace. There are many benefits that lead to further success and favourable performance traits that can be achieved through supporting a psychologically safe workplace environment. Ultimately, the presence of this safety will benefit everyone in the business! We hope this reading has allowed you to consider the safety status of your workplace environment. Here is our final question to leave you with: are your employees comfortable and trusting enough to be themselves in your workplace environment?
Interested in some tips to promote psychological safety in your workplace? Check back for our 3 part series on “Tips for Building Psychological Safety in Your Workplace”.