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How to Build Psychological Safety

Have you ever witnessed something at work that just didn’t sit right with you? Did you voice your concern or keep it to yourself? How easy is it sharing feedback with your colleagues?

Your answers to these questions are largely dependent on the amount of psychological safety present in your team. Harvard professor Amy Edmondson defines psychological safety as “a shared belief that I can bring my full self to work, that I will not be humiliated or made to feel less good about myself if I speak up with ideas, with questions, with concerns, and yes, even with mistakes.”

And as the world of work evolves, psychological safety only becomes more critical. In fact, Google’s People Operations team conducted an internal study of more than 250 attributes of more than 180 Google teams. They found the number one driver of successful teams is psychological safety – feeling safe to take risks and be vulnerable at work.

Let’s bring this concept to the current work landscape. More than a year into a global pandemic, how are employees feeling? What impact do those sentiments have on psychological safety in our organizations? Are there opportunities to improve? The Workhuman research team set out to answer these questions and more in a survey administered to more than 3,000 U.S. workers in March 2021. This report summarizes those findings.

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