Event Recap: Psychological Safety – Creating Safe Spaces At Work
21st April 2021
On Wednesday 21.04.21 we held a lively conversation about psychological safety and how to create safe spaces at work with some of our expert business psychologists and a special guest speaker from Green Park. It is a challenge faced by many organizations and crucial for performance, wellbeing and inclusivity.
Pip Gwynn is a business psychologist and the Director at Insight HRC.
Ffion Jones is a development consultant, certified team coach and accredited strengthscope facilitator.
David Sayers is the Partner – CFO & Board Practice at Green Park Executive Search.
Here’s a look back at some of the highlights and key information shared during the event:
Understanding Psychological Safety
Ffion set the scene sharing the basics of psychological safety and how it brings rewards for teams and organisations.
Psychological safety is a smart, fast way to build that foundation of trust in your team, and is now the critical behaviour sought in teams. It’s a group behavioural norm that has been found to be the No.1 characteristic of High Performing Teams in various studies.
It is essentially a team environment, agreed by the team, in which everyone feels safe to speak up with new ideas, concerns, challenges or personal issues affecting their work.
Ffion took us through examples of psychological safety in practice and shared her thoughts on what the term isn’t. Psychological safety is not nice and it’s not the same as trust (although linked). It should create an environment for safe conflict.
For leaders wanting to build this environment of safety, this three step toolkit from Amy Edmonson is a great foundation:
- Set the stage – shared expectations and meaning
- Invite Participation – welcome every voice
- Respond productively – take action and set steps for continuous learning
Psychological Safety in Teams vs Individuals
“If I had to summarise everything I know about human psychology in one sentence then I would say that human behaviour is about managing risk.” – Pip Gwynn
Pip explored the link between risk and reward and how our conscious and unconscious brain respond to both and lead us to behave in certain ways. She explored with participants some of the psychological threats that prevent people from speaking up. Change in this area begins best at an individual level before expanding organisation-wide.
An interesting observation is the in-groups vs outgroups that form in work circles and how they contribute to employees ability to speak up and feel accepted. This is where bridging social capital and crossing to people outside your community becomes increasingly important and the evidence suggests that in wider society the levels of bridging are reducing.
Pip also explored the significance of high levels of self-awareness to build psychologically safe teams so that individuals can manage the behaviours and beliefs that can get in the way of trusted collaboration.
Psychological Safety & Wellbeing
We welcomed David’s candid conversation about safety at the work and impact of mental health. David shared his story which he had talked openly about within Green Park. It sparked a huge response and led to the implementation of a number of initiatives to support mental wellbeing internally.
Creating safe spaces is multi-linear because having good mental health is multi-linear.
The business case for mental health is solid. According to a recent Deloitte study, for every £1 spent on mental health there is average £5 return on the bottom line – investing in people’s wellbeing has been shown to have an impact on your organisation’s results.
David highlighted important stats demonstrating the sliding scale of wellness that everyone experiences. 90% of people who experience negative mental health learn to manage it themselves or with intervention. Organisations owe it to their employees to understand and manage the causes that impact on mental health, creating safe spaces to discuss what that means at work, and continuing to chip away at the stigma.
Thank you to our guests, speakers and team for another great event. To receive invitations for future events sign up to our newsletter -you’ll find this in the right hand column on this page.
For any hybrid working management support discover our hybrid teams development workshops.
If you’d like to discuss any workforce challenges you’re facing now or in the future, Insight HRC is here to help. Request a callback today.