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Safety. But not as you know it

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It’s time to challenge traditional concepts of “safety” at work; while avoiding slips and falls and taking care when lifting heavy items is important, what about psychological safety?

 

What is psychological safety?

 

Amy Edmonson, Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, defines psychological safety as:

 

“a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.” (Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams, Edmonson 1999).

 

Why does this matter at work?

 

Research into USA-based workplaces, undertaken by Gallup, found that psychological safety at work is linked to a number of benefits, including a:

 

·         40% reduction in workplace safety incidents

·         12% increase in staff productivity

·         27% reduction in staff turnover

 

Overseas research also shows that organisations and teams with high levels of psychological safety featured these positive characteristics:

 

·         Improvements in staff work quality and learning behaviour

·         Higher levels of staff retention

·         Enhanced staff performance and productivity

 

Getting to safe workplaces

 

Organisations can build safe workplaces by:

 

·         Empowering staff to seize on opportunities and make a valued contribution

·         Creating a culture where sharing ideas is supported

·         Encouraging people to learn, even to learn from mistakes

 

Creating psychologically safe workplaces is about building a positive, engaging and healthy workplace culture. You can get tips and advice on creating safe workplaces, including support across developing leadership skills, setting culture and managing change, by visiting our website or by calling 1300 OUR EAP (1300 687 327).

 

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