How To Promote Emotional Safety In The Workplace
Emotional safety is referred to as psychological safety, where employees feel secure enough to put their ideas on the table without worrying that others might judge them or give negative reactions. It encourages employees to speak openly about their concerns without worrying about what others might think. They can talk about their insecurities, opinions regarding certain topics and pitch in their ideas.
Importance of Emotional Safety
An effective team values emotional safety as much as they value physical safety and meet the company's standards.
- Enhances Employee Management
When team members feel safe at work, it is easier for them to engage in team meetings, solve issues, collaborate on projects, and talk with their peers and customers. It also inspires employees to be present at work and not doze off during the working hours
- Inculcate an Inclusive Workplace Culture
It is mandatory to make all the team members feel included. Safe workspaces allow all their team members to flourish regardless of their gender, race, color, political background, or preferences.
- Inspires Creativity and Ideas
For creativity and ideas to come organically, team members should have the emotional safety not to be judged for what they express. Imagine how many inspiring ideas would have gone down the drain because the team member did not feel like sharing.
- Improves Employee Well Being
Mental health is now considered after a long time, contributing to overall well-being. When the employees feel emotionally safe, it is easier for them to perform at an optimal level and avoid any kind of stress.
- Creates Brand Ambassadors
Having an emotionally safe environment inspires the employees to brag about their company. The team members can not stop talking about how they are being treated right and their valuable opinions.
- Reduces Employee Turnover
It is reported that the team members who feel emotionally safe at work are less likely to leave the firm. In the end, why would anybody leave a company that treats you with respect and makes you feel secure? High employee turnovers are not sustainable for successful businesses. There are loads of money going into interviewing, hiring, and training new team members.
Benefits of Emotional Safety in a Workplace
- Increased Innovation
Nobody would speak up if they did not feel secure. Increasing emotional safety increases the chances of having successful innovations, and there will be less fear of failure resulting in quicker marketing time and improvement in products.
- Better Reliability and Performance
Higher emotional safety results in increased quality and reliability. It improves outcomes as the employees will not be afraid of accepting failure and admitting a mistake so that the others learn the same and pitch in their opinions on how to save the project.
- Better Health and Safety
Improved emotional safety results in higher reporting of concerns, may it be physical or mental, security issues and results in decreased risk of health and safety.
- Increased Profitability
As a result of the above things, emotional safety improves performance and faster delivery, reduced re-work, fewer security issues, and the financial situation of the organization improves. Whether the company is public, private, or a charity, improving emotional safety will drastically affect the company’s performance.
- Boosts Team Performance
When the team members are highly engaged and do not want to leave, it boosts team performance as they are being valued and put in their efforts.
How to Promote Emotional Safety?
All firms should move towards making emotional safety a part of their culture as it leads to higher engagement, increased motivation, more opportunities for growth and development, and not to mention improved performance. Here are a few ways to promote emotional safety in the workplace.
- Be Empathetic
Encouraging open communication in the workplace and addressing issues like employee burnout, anxiety, depression, etc. Employees should know that they are being supported emotionally and they can express themselves. The employees should not feel isolated and disconnected.
- Encourage Risk-taking
Letting employees complete their tasks and make decisions according to their understanding. Giving them tasks with challenges and fulfilling opportunities put them out of their comfort zone. Letting employees speak about their incomplete work or failed attempts will help them learn and develop further. Emotional safety is all about ensuring that employees feel safe and comfortable discussing everything from their success to their areas of improvement.
- No Blame Culture
In multiple companies, employees are afraid of being held responsible if a project or a decision goes south. A no-blame work culture allows employees to feel safe from getting blamed and get support in finding a solution.
- Promote Active Listening
Only one-third of the employees' opinions matter at work in the United States. Managers should devote time and resources to connect with their employees and hear their opinion. Everyone likes to be heard, and by doing this, the managers show that they are invested in the success and growth of their employees and encourage the employee to share their opinion in future
- Set an Example
Managers should hold themselves to a higher degree of optimism. If someone has made a mistake, do not be scared to admit it, instead, encourage them to accept their mistakes and feel emotionally secure rather than being judged. The most powerful technique is to teach employees to embrace their failures and learn from their mistakes.
How Leaders can Promote Team Emotional Safety
To have a safe environment, leaders must consistently have inclusive behavior and build new norms for the team. Here are some ways in which a leader can promote emotional safety
- Practice Genuine Curiosity
Ask the team members to put in their thoughts and suggestions. It is important to do this because sometimes their opinion might challenge your thinking. Ask team members for feedback. Don't presume that the team members are wrong because you disagree.
- Recognize Courageous Acts
When a team member offers a new idea, asks a question, or shares a mistake, acknowledge and appreciate them for showing courage. If not, acknowledge them, at least do not make them feel embarrassed, unheard after expressing their concerns.
- Lead by Example
You can not expect a team member to act a certain way and feel safe when not leading by example. The teams' members and the supervisor should apologize when making mistakes, show empathy, asking for help.
- Promote Respect
If a member engages in shaming or any sort of behavior that discourages others from opening up by saying, ‘it does not make sense, do not ignore this sort of behavior. Intervene and share how these statements can intervene in creativity and innovation.
- Embrace Vulnerability
It is said that when the leaders accept their mistakes and apologize for the same, it allows team members and the firm to learn and improve. This shows a willingness to improve and encourage open and honest feedback.
- Foster Candid Conversations
Pay attention to how teams work. Whether everyone is speaking or not. Use ice breakers and calm environments to get over any awkwardness. Plan company outings or virtual hangouts so that the team can feel free and comfortable.
In a nutshell, focusing on employees' emotional safety is much more essential than in the past. A lot of companies are incorporating emotional safety culture that can enhance their workplace, fostering trust and a sense of belonging to boost the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the employees.