Boosting productivity by focusing on psychological safety for employees
Sr. Content Writer
We have read plenty of articles on how to accelerate the revenue by bringing in more tools, techniques, software, pushing employees for longer hours, or automation. If we take a step back and look at the above tactics, we can understand that we are depending on external factors and the management of the employees to improve their ROI.
Leaders are now looking at the narrative that improving the employee working conditions can help improve the organizations’ productivity comprehensively. Better working conditions and work environment is proven to improve employee enthusiasm and loyalty.
The strategy should be leveraged right from the first step, i.e. when an employee joins the company. Make them feel welcome. It might be an ambitious step, but leaders can ensure its success by building a safe workplace. Employees can feel free to share their ideas, raise concerns, etc., without hesitating under the fear of humiliation or punishment.
Psychological safety: Responsibility of leaders
Time and again we have witnessed the success of organizations that have robust values, ethics, and employee-friendly corporate structure. The pandemic also highlighted the fragility of human nature and how stronger relationships were forged by organizations when they adapted to the remote workforce by giving priority to employee safety. Below are some tips on how leaders can help boost psychological safety and thus contentment in working for your enterprise.
Building a space for transparency
Leaders acknowledge that psychological safety is possible when the employees experience a sense of belonging. It’s a basic need that every human being craves. The feeling can be missing in a corporate structure if the employees feel they are lacking visibility to the vital discussions and decision-making processes of their company.
The below two pointers have been proven effective to remedy this situation:
1. Openly sharing with the employees on important business decisions rather than them getting to know via other sources
2. Co-creating systems that help improve the transparency of the entire enterprise
Both the steps take a lot of time but are beneficial in the long run. Scheduling weekly calls, a central system that shares details of client projects, current staffing scenarios, team structure, and business forecasts are all ways to make employees feel included.
Help people collaborate and connect with colleagues
Only knowing what’s going on in the company doesn’t bring in the feeling of belongingness. Employees should feel a connection with one another as well. Yes, technology has helped us bridge the gap especially during the pandemic, but it is not enough. Small things go a long way when trying to build camaraderie during hybrid times.
Developing a feedback culture with routine habits
To develop the comfort level in employees for voicing their opinions, it is vital to make it a daily/regular practice. Collecting feedback on daily tasks- for eg: a short feedback session after every sales meeting with the clients. It helps the team understand how the meeting went, did they succeed, what can be done better the next time around, and most importantly, what was the key takeaway?
Of course, companies use various methods to routinely collect feedback, however, the short daily routines are powerful in helping everyone develop the skill of receiving and giving feedback and also that their views are valued.
The ability to accept criticism if not love it
Leaders acknowledge that one of the biggest hurdles for them is to accept negative feedback and opinions different from theirs. Its human nature to exhibit defensiveness as the first reaction when faced with criticism or try and justify why their viewpoint is correct. To build a psychologically safe environment, leaders must learn to accept and appreciate all opinions, even when they are different from or oppose their views.
It’s always good to start with a genuine “thank you” and tactfully let the colleagues know that while you may have a hard time accept the different viewpoint but you wish to revisit it at a later time.
Be ready to intervene
Lastly, the most important responsibility of a leader when developing psychological safety is to inculcate the courage to speak up and take action when an inappropriate activity is detected. This is regardless of the person’s position in the organizational hierarchy.
We have all faced the situation when someone passes an offensive comment or joke and everyone seems to uncomfortably ignore it. It is such situations that test the integrity of the leadership. It is a clear opportunity for the leaders to take a stand and make the offending individual understand that rules are being broken.
This intervention is important as otherwise, it sends across the message that the silence was approval to the offensive comment or culture or discrimination. Building a psychologically safe work environment will help retain employees in the long run and thus boost revenue.