Psychological Safety Serves As An Enabler For DEIB, Resilience And Innovation.

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Psychological Safety

Originally coined by Edgar H. Schein and Warren G. Bennis in 1965, the concept of psychological safety gained important insights from Dr. Amy Edmonson’s 1999 definition. Her emphasis on confidence in welcoming candor and vulnerability, highlighted in the June 22, 2021, HBR article ‘4 Steps to Boost Psychological Safety at Your Workplace’ co-authored by Dr. Amy Edmonson, reshaped its understanding.

Over decades, it has manifested in two key behaviors prevalent in excellent workplaces: celebrating team errors and fostering individual authenticity.

The concept of ‘Not All Failures Are Created Equal’ underscores how Psychological Safety through Celebration of Errors (CoE) supports employees in embracing their work’s purpose. Here, both success and failure contribute to their journey of improving the business. This environment encourages stepping out of comfort zones, challenging conventional approaches, and fostering innovation without fear of reprisal or criticism for acknowledging errors or mistakes.

Coca-Cola Beverages believes in cultivating an environment where employees aren’t afraid of making mistakes and know that imperfection is acceptable. Leadership sets an example, encouraging everyone to voice opinions and take calculated risks. The aim is for everyone to trust that even in failure, leaders will support them, aiding their learning and growth.

Psychological Safety serves an an enabler for DEIB.

Diversity encompasses the representation of different individuals within an organization, while inclusion ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute and influence every aspect and level of the workplace. Belonging, on the other hand, ensures that everyone feels secure and can bring their complete, unique selves to work.

The relationship between Psychological Safety and DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) was initially addressed in 1999 by Dr. Amy Edmonson. She expanded the definition of psychological safety to encompass ‘a shared belief among team members that the team is a safe space for interpersonal risk-taking.’ In her 2020 article, ‘The Role of Psychological Safety in Diversity and Inclusion,’ she emphasized that psychological safety is crucial for leveraging the benefits of diversity, enabling the realization of inclusion, and fostering candid communication.

At Disco Hi-Tec, Performance Innovation Management (PIM) fosters self-development initiatives through friendly competition. Departing from the traditional top-down approach, all employees are encouraged to conceive enhancements themselves. They have the freedom to present their ideas to the entire company, modifying work processes or proposing entirely new concepts.

Psychological Safety serves an an enabler for resilience and innovation.

Resilience has now become a frequently mentioned term in business, seen as a way forward post-COVID. Recent articles in the Harvard Business Review suggest that whether it’s an inherent personal trait or a skill that can be cultivated, resilience—the ability to thrive amidst change—has ascended to the forefront of many leaders’ agendas. It is no longer viewed merely as a cost or a risk mitigation strategy but is recognized as a driver of value for businesses. Analysis spanning a 25-year period highlights how resilience delivers distinct long-term performance value.

In the HBR article ‘Resilient Organizations Make Psychological Safety a Strategic Priority,’ three critical cultural dimensions for resilience are highlighted: Integrity, Innovation, and Inclusion. Psychological safety forms the core of these dimensions, and any breach erodes their foundation. Fear of retaliation compromises integrity, stifling creative ideation leads to stagnation, and disrespectful interactions disproportionately impact engagement and belonging.

DHL Express’s Code of Conduct and Human Rights Policy Statements include policies against sexual harassment and bullying. Additionally, all employees undergo extensive training on interpreting and applying the organization’s Code of Ethics through mandatory Code of Conduct sessions. This training encompasses recognizing ethical dilemmas and understanding the available channels/resources for safely reporting issues or violations.

Validate Psychological Safety and Enhance Employee Experience in Your Workplace.

Highlighting the nexus between DEIB, resilience, and innovation, psychological safety emerges as a fundamental factor. Analysis from the Great Place To Work Survey correlates high psychological safety with positive experiences in statements such as:

  • Management recognizes making honest mistakes as part of doing business.
  • Management makes its expectations clear.
  • I can be myself here.
  • We celebrate people who try new and better ways of doing things, regardless of outcomes.

Creating a culture of psychological safety can transform employee experience. By fostering an environment where individuals feel secure to express themselves, share ideas, and take risks without fear of judgment or reprisal, workplaces can significantly enhance employee satisfaction, engagement, and overall well-being.

Ready to Validate Your Employee Experience? Contact us for an Emprising Demo to discover how Emprising™ can help you gauge and enhance your employees’ experiences.

Schedule a demo today to explore the power of insightful tools that elevate psychological safety, engagement, and workplace satisfaction.

Ha-Minh Chau

Chau spent most of her 28 years working experience as a change and transformation facilitator in all four areas of organisation development interventions.

In addition to designing and managing learning roadmaps and certification pathways, she has developed training materials and conducted thousands of training and coaching hours to participants with diversified learning and development objectives for both internal and external customers in Vietnam, Malaysia and Korea. Chau is the first Vietnamese to be awarded the prestigious Intel Corporate award High Performing Instructor. Her heart is all about community commitment as she initiated, managed and co-delivered career counselling workshops for students. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Chau organised webinars on mental health and Diversity & Inclusion topics for a mixed group of professionals. Her relaxation approach is a combination of a cold beer over a Korean or Taiwanese drama or a Hollywood rom-com.

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