What is Psychological Safety?
“Psychological Safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.” – Amy Edmondson (Harvard Business School Professor). She was the one who coined the term and told that psychological safety is crucial for developing good and productive teams.
There are a lot of psychosocial factors which hinder in creating a mentally healthy and safe workplace. Psychosocial factors are the elements which affect the psychological response of employees to work and work conditions, potentially leading to psychological health problems.
Factor 1: Lack of Psychological Support
A work environment where co-workers and supervisors are not supportive of each other regarding work or any other concern affects one’s psychological health which ultimately leads to lower job satisfaction, job involvement, and low psychological safety.
Factor 2: Lack of transparency in Organizational Culture
Organizational culture is one of the important factors for psychological safety. When there is a lack of trust and transparency between employees and supervisors, this affects the confidence level of employees and they fear to take any risky decision or speak their mind out. This lowers the psychological safety of employees.
Factor 3: Role Ambiguity
When an employee is not clear about his job role, it creates a sense of insecurity and he/she feels unconfident and this affects their psychological health. Lack of direction and support from peer and supervisor affects the motivation level of the employees. They feel unsafe and fear to ask everything from the supervisor.
Factor 4: Lack of Respect and Civility
A work environment where employees are not treated in a considerate and respectful manner leads to a lack of psychological safety. Lack of civility leads to low positive attitude, low teamwork, and poor job satisfaction of employees. All these lead to employees feeling unsafe in the organization and can create psychological health problems. Moreover, it also leads to lack of confidence and teamwork.
Factor 5: Lack of Recognition and Reward
A work environment where employees are not recognized or rewarded, their motivation level reduces which affect their psychological health and well-being. Demotivated people are not even confident enough to share their thoughts about work and processes. This makes the environment psychologically less safe.
Factor 6: Improper Workload Management
When employees are overburdened, they can’t achieve their targets efficiently which creates pressure and affect psychological health. Huge amount of work is one of the biggest workplace stressors. This directly reduces the job satisfaction level of employees and there are high chances that employees might leave the organization.
Factor 7: Engagement
When employees don’t feel part of the organization, this affects their psychological health. Employees are not welcomed properly and are not involved in organization’s activities feel aloof and sad. Usually new a lot of employees are not asked for their opinion. This led to psychological unsafe environment and reduces the psychological safety of the company.
These are some of the factors which reduce psychological safety in the organization. If these factors are reduced, organizations will become more psychologically healthy and safer.