Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers discuss psychological safety in the workplace. People often associate a safe work environment with physical safety. However, mental safety is an equally important component of a safe workplace. As organizations face increasing consequences of negative psychological effects concerning their employees, they are placing more emphasis on creating psychologically safe workplaces. Employees who are psychologically well can think, feel, and act in a more productive way than those who are not. Many employees who are suffering psychologically are frequently absent from work and are not performing effectively. Certain organizations have up to 45 percent of absences due to psychological factors such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

Wellbeing Works Study

Wellbeing Works, a consulting firm that helps organizations achieve optimal performance by improving employees’ wellbeing, has been working with several organizations to improve their psychological safety. Organizations who act to ensure that their workplaces are psychologically safe experience higher engagement levels, as well as a lower turnover rate and amount of absences. Wellbeing Works has developed a four-stage method that determines what psychological safety means for that organization, how to think differently, analyzing actions and behaviors, and implementation.

The study was recently implemented at Barts Health NHS Trust, a company where staff reported high levels of stress, low levels of autonomy, and lack of recognition by managers. Staff surveys were collected and used to determine the causes, source, and scale of issues at Barts Health NHS Trust. Managers were trained on psychological safety and given a framework to implement changes. They were directed to focus on factors such as:

  • Establishing openness to challenge
  • Engaging in supportive dialogue
  • Equitable distribution of work
  • Providing positive feedback
  • Creating a sense of belonging
  • Recognizing employee accomplishments

After four months of initial evaluation, Wellbeing Works reported that employees were receptive and appreciative of the changes. Staff survey scores changed for the better with 16 improving and 41 stabilizing. Employees commented that they noticed managers putting more focus on resolving problems and that Barts Health NHS Trust had become a much better place to work.

In psychologically safe workplaces, employees are more likely to rise to challenges because they are rewarded for their efforts. They are more comfortable seeking help and have the liberty to make suggestions for improvement because they do not fear retribution. Wellbeing Works founder, Hamish Moore, believes that psychological safety should be a board-level item that organizations should recognize for the well-being of employees and for the optimal functioning of the organizations.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Injured Workers

South Carolina workers are entitled to safe workplaces. If you have been injured on the job physically or psychologically, contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We represent injured workers throughout South Carolina, including in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 to schedule your free consultation.