The Benefits of Psychological Safety
What are the benefits of psychological safety?
Whether your organisation is a startup, a global enterprise, a charity, or governmental body, building psychological safety will reap huge rewards.
The tangible benefits of building psychological safety in your organisation range from improved innovation, better ideas, and products that excite your customers, through to reduced risk of failures, breaches, and non-compliance.
Psychological safety results in happier teams that take more intelligent risks, raise concerns sooner, stay on the team longer, are more resilient to change and external threats, and ultimately result in a real improvement to the bottom line of your business or organisation. Whether your organisation is more risk-averse and cautious, or fast-moving and innovative, psychological safety will help you achieve your goals and create happier, more engaged teams.
Whether you work for a private company, non-profit organisation, a government agency or a sports team, building psychological safety and working through this action pack will return real benefits:
1- Increased Innovation
You won’t hear ideas unless people feel safe enough to say them out loud (or write them down). When we suggest ideas, we’re making ourselves vulnerable, because we’re opening up the idea for critique, and that idea is part of us – it came from our own mind.
Increasing psychological safety increases the likelihood of successful innovation, through intelligent risk taking and lower fear of failure resulting in quicker time-to-market and improved products and services.
2- Better Reliability and Performance
Higher psychological safety results in increased quality and reliability, however that looks in your field. Maybe it’s more reliable software, better patient outcomes, or safer aeroplanes.
Psychological safety improves outcomes primarily via two mechanisms. Firstly, admitting a mistake provides the opportunity to mitigate the impact of it sooner rather than later, if at all.
Secondly, admitting a mistake allows the whole team to learn from it, and make changes to process, systems, or capabilities in order to reduce the chances of it happening again – or of it does happen again, the impact is reduced.
Carrying out exercises such as blameless retrospectives results in fewer problems or outages, higher quality, and improved governance, compliance and controls.
3- Better Health and Safety, and Security
Improved psychological safety results in a higher likelihood of proper reporting of concerns and security issues, resulting in decreased risk of security, health and safety or non-compliance incidents.
4- Higher Employee Retention and Lower Churn
Psychological safety results in happier teams, increased employee engagement, and improved raising of genuine concerns to employee wellbeing, which results in lower churn rates and decreased costs related to recruitment and absenteeism.
5- Improved Company Reputation
This is a result of higher performing and happy teams, who promote their team and organisation from within. Team members who work in happy, high-performing teams will do your recruiting for you, by encouraging other great people to join.
6- Increased Profitability and Bottom-line Improvements
As a result of all of the above, from improved performance and faster delivery, higher quality, reduced re-work, safer workplaces, lower recruitment and sickness costs, fewer security issues and faster innovation, the financial performance of your organisation will be improved. Whether the organisation is private, public, charity or government, improving psychological safety will have a dramatic effect on organisational performance.
7- Most importantly, happiness.
Fundamentally, building psychological safety is not only the right thing to do for members of your teams, but it’s the right thing to do for your business or your organisation. High performing teams aren’t happy because they’re high performing, they’re high performing because they’re happy.
Psychological safety is important not just because it creates create outcomes for your organisation, but because it’s the right, the human, thing to do.
Measure, build and maintain psychological safety in your organisation by downloading the psychological safety action pack.