Psychological Safety at work is increasingly becoming a priority for employers. According to the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness or addiction problem. The Covid-19 pandemic has added a layer of stress since some employees have been worried about change such as returning to work, getting laid off or learning new tools to work from home. Some employees have also experienced anxiety about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work. Including a focus on mental health in your leadership strategy is no longer optional, but a necessity in 2022. As an employer, it’s important to evaluate your workplace’s psychological safety, as not prioritizing it can lead to health costs for your employees, higher recruitment costs, and turnover.
When analyzing your workplace, here are the 13 psychological factors that you should be evaluating. It’s important to note that these factors are all intertwined and influence one another either positively or negatively.
- Psychological Support – The environment is understanding of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns, and has resources in place to respond appropriately.
- Organizational Culture – The work environment is defined by trust, honesty, and fairness.
- Clear Leadership & Expectations – The leadership team is effective and there is support in place to help employees know the expectations of the position and the impact of their work in the organization.
- Civility & Respect – Employees treat each other with respect.
- Psychological Competencies & Requirements – The requirements of the role and the employees competencies match up well.
- Growth & Development – The team environment is encouraging and supportive about other employees development or growth of interpersonal, emotional or job-related competencies.
- Recognition & Reward – Employees are acknowledged and their efforts are praised in a fair and timely manner.
- Involvement & Influence – Employees are involved and valued in discussions about how their work is done and how major decisions are made.
- Workload Management – Time frames given to achieve tasks and responsibilities are reasonable.
- Engagement – Employees are driven and motivated to accomplish tasks and do them well.
- Balance – There is an understanding of work-life balance while employees balance between work, family, and personal life
- Psychological Protection – Employees feel like they can speak freely without fearing negative consequences. This includes asking questions, looking for feedback, suggesting a new idea, or owning up to a mistake.
- Protection of Physical Safety – Appropriate action is taken when needed to protect employee’s physical safety.
These factors were developed by Guarding Minds @ Work (www.guardingmindsatwork.ca). This is a fantastic and comprehensive website with downloadable resources if you’re interested in exploring this further. This site provides a detailed, free assessment to help you understand how psychologically safe your workplace is, as well as resources and tools on how to prepare for, assess, evaluate and implement these principles in your workplace.