WORKLAB 2023: Psychological safety in the workplace
Slovak Academy of Sciences was represented at the international workshop of occupational psychologists WORKLAB 2023, which took place on November 2-4, 2023 in Valencia, Spain.
The event was organized by the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology EAWOP - European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology and among the thirty participants was Denisa Fedáková from the Centre of Social and Psychological Sciences SAS, v.v.i..
The aim of the workshop was to facilitate discussion for building and maintaining a psychologically safe environment at work. Psychological safety is where people feel relaxed in expressing their opinions, where collegial support and information sharing are present. The first step to action is raising awareness (this post was also created for this purpose) and awareness of what is happening in the workplace. In this way, we can prevent an unhealthy, dysfunctional or unsafe work environment (or relationships within it) from becoming an accepted norm and part of the organizational culture to such an extent that it will be difficult to recognize that something is wrong.
In order to build or maintain a psychologically safe workplace environment, it is important to show that safety matters to us, that it is a value that we jointly care for. There is nothing wrong with exposing mistakes in workplace culture, the important thing is that we can detect them and take steps to correct or improve. Where mistakes are not talked about in workplaces does not mean that they are not there...
It is important to create a psychologically safe workplace together. Participatory is a good example that keeping workplace safe should not be a battle between two or more groups, but the prerogative of one common environment.
There are many practices on how to create a safe environment, here are some of them:
- creating healthy workplace conditions, for example: an ergonomically friendly environment; flexible working arrangements, possibilities for recuperation or disengagement from work;
- accountable and transparent procedures not only for the selection of employees, but also for their placement or promotion
- not to underestimate teambuilding activities and strengthening team cohesion;
- develop psychological resilience (resilience) and self-confidence;
- (if necessary) provide professional intervention or training.
A final note: If there is a perception in the workplace that "we" perceive the environment as safe, without a space for open discussion, we will not know whether it is perceived as such by all employees of the organization.
Text a foto: Denisa Fedáková, CSPV SAV, v. v. i.