There is little doubt the past two-and-a-half years of pandemic life have contributed to employee stress and burnout. ‘Quiet quitting’ – a term popularized on social media – is the latest pandemic-driven debate in the workplace, pointing to burnout as a cause of low productivity and engagement. ‘Quiet quitting’ is a response to hustle culture; employees set boundaries and avoid going above and beyond, especially when they feel there are psychological threats in the workplace.
The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. It’s where we build relationships, develop skills, and pursue goals. Whether we’re working from home or the office, it’s important to feel engaged. One way for companies to combat ‘quiet quitting’ and improve employee engagement is to foster psychological safety.
Psychological safety is a shared belief that team members will not be rejected, embarrassed, or punished for speaking up with questions, concerns, or ideas. In a psychologically safe workplace, managers are open to feedback, and build trust by being transparent. In these environments, employees feel heard, listened to, and supported.
Workplace culture that promotes psychological safety makes it acceptable to fail; making mistakes is okay and often essential to improvement and growth. Employees feel empowered to take risks and aren’t afraid to share their ideas, even if they don’t turn out as hoped.
An effective team prioritizes mental health and psychological safety as much as they do physical health and performance standards. Psychological safety contributes to healthier, more productive, and inclusive workplaces.
When employees feel psychologically safe at work, it’s easier for them to engage. Safe workplaces inspire team members to be fully present at work as opposed to counting the minutes until they’re done for the day. Team members who feel psychologically safe are less likely to leave.
Psychological safety contributes to an inclusive workplace culture, where diversity is valued, and team members feel included regardless of gender, race, colour, background, or political preferences.
Creating a safe place to work also improves wellbeing, inspires creativity, and encourages team members to promote their organization as a great place to work.
Here are a few ways leaders can promote psychological safety in their workplace culture:
Psychological safety is an important but complex topic that needs time and consideration. We can help you connect what’s important to you to benefits that can make change in your approach to work and life. We’re here to help and invite you to contact us for additional information.