Why psychological safety is critical

24 December 2021
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As we all enter the holiday period, the word uppermost in most peoples’ minds is “safety.“ In the midst of a new COVID-19 outbreak, we are alert for warning signs of dangers which may impact anyone in our home, social environment or workplace.

But as we look forward to 2022 there is another form of safety which is just as critically important for the well-being of those who work. That is “psychological safety.”

A team and its members feel psychologically safe when they are absolutely satisfied that there can be no threats to their status or standing if they express ignorance, ask for help, seek feedback, voice disagreement or admit mistakes.

We know that even in normal times, as demonstrated by Google’s Aristotle Project, that psychological safety, is an essential element for teams to operate at optimal capacity. Where psychological safety prevails team members operate in an atmosphere of trust, security and stability and are not distracted by untoward outside pressures.

These same elements will be sought after as employees venture back into the workplace in 2022 with COVID-19 hovering behind them inevitably. Employees who feel psychologically safe will be endowed with trust and confidence that leaders can navigate the business and its stakeholders through a rapidly-changing and uncertain work environment.

They will then be assured that both their physical as well as their psychological needs are being protected. In that healthy environment, employees will feel free to express concerns, ambivalence, uncertainty or even disagreement with the way decisions are made to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and new ways of working.

We, at Symmetra, are confident that the many global clients we work with will continue to be highly responsive to the changing needs of their people and that the hard work they have been doing with us will ensure recruitment and retention of the best, brightest, and most diverse talent in 2022.