Psychological safety is an increasingly common factor identified as being important for successful businesses and for allowing employees to bring their best to work. At its most simple, it means providing an environment in which employees feel comfortable to be themselves, take risks and share more all in the knowledge that this won't come back to bite them in the ass (or arse if you're on the UK side of the Atlantic).
Think of being psychologically safe as the difference between the quality of having a nap at home (where you are psychologically safe) and having a nap in your local park on a sunny day (where you are not as psychologically safe). In the park, you'll never rest as easy as you would at home; you'll be worried that someone might steal your bag or you might be asked to move on or a dog may run all over you - there's a lot of things that mean that you invariably don't rest as well.
Environments that aren't psychologically safe are proven to lead to higher employee turnover, lower productivity and reduced creativity. I have worked in environments like these and they just become toxic; one of the few times I've not looked forward to going to work.
Now there are lots of components that create psychological safety (flat structures, clear vision and goals, open leadership, constructive and regular feedback, the list goes on...) but nothing destroys psychological safety like a lack of diversity and inclusion.
It's not just about having more of a balance of genders, nationalities, cultures, religions, ages, races, disabilities, sexual persuasions, class backgrounds, styles, etc. Yes, these a great and we should continue to support the work done on these but these are just the start.
Fundamentally it's about:
letting employees be themselves (not having to curb diversity differences to fit in)having visible role models that are like them who are succeeding in the firm (it can't be an identikit leadership team - quite often a group of male, pale and stale extroverts from one of 10 universities)identifying and removing hidden barriers to diversity (these can be deceptive; like the use of certain language and beliefs in performance reviews or the prevalence of unconscious biases in recruitment processes).
Without doing these, a business is adding to their 'focus costs' and impacting their, and their employees', likelihood for success. Yet so often, diversity and inclusion is not given the meaningful attention it deserves (far, far too often it's a side of a desk, half-hearted, lip-service approach). This can be because the business lacks the necessary EQ to be aware of it or even if aware of it, leaders decide it's not sufficiently important to tackle.
Our belief, at Shiageto Consulting, is that unlocking/improving/focusing on diversity and inclusion will greatly improve EQ, FQ and IQ.
We have worked with firms to do just that, providing independent assessments of culture, hidden barriers to performance and unconscious biases. We have come up with strategies to drive diversity and change the balance of workforces. We have developed improvement measures to increase psychological safety and provided training to improve team EQ and ways to integrate better.
It's not an overnight solution but it is certainly worth the effort and focus. Just think about all the benefits your business can have from increasing psychological safety by improving diversity and inclusion; all that before we even take into account the growing body of empirical evidence that greater diversity and inclusion adds to a company's profits, range, good deeds and employee happiness.
Why not drop us a line to discover more?