Many of you have probably heard of psychological safety. It refers to a culture of trust in the work community and the organization. In such a culture, every member of the work community is able to feel valued and welcome. People feel comfortable sharing their concerns, dare to ask for help and can admit their mistakes without fear of being humiliated or belittled. We may recall an occasion when our psychological safety in our work community was not optimal. You may have felt that it was impossible to raise a concern, or telling others about an accidental mistake may have brought a lump to your throat.

A high level of psychological safety is known to support creative thinking, innovation and renewal. Without trust, an employee may, for example, fail to share a fresh idea or innovation for fear of repercussions or because they are not committed to the work community. Psychological safety also contributes to learning, as thoughts and ideas are freely expressed and mistakes are reported. A great deal of potential may be lost if learning is compromised and members of the work community are afraid to ask questions. There are no silly questions, and you can and should ask any question that comes to mind. In a work community, it must also be possible to express differing opinions without fear of displeasing a colleague or superior, for example.

A high level of psychological safety has a positive impact on performance and efficiency. Job satisfaction is also boosted, and people are more committed to the organization and their work. Therefore, when there is psychological safety, we can think of a work community as a team playing for a common good and a shared goal. Everyone in the team supports each other and shares the belief that they can also take some risks, if necessary to succeed.

Support from a cultural etiquette

I just started at Murata a little while ago. I felt genuinely welcome. I have found the working atmosphere to be one of trust, and I have been able to ask about anything on my mind without having to worry about whether it is okay to ask or if my question is somehow perceived as silly. We spend a large part of our waking hours at work. Therefore, it is important that you can be yourself in the workplace, so that you do not have to leave your private self at home and come to work wearing a “work mask.”In a psychologically safe workplace, this too can be achieved without compromising productivity and efficiency.

Murata has just launched a cultural etiquette that strongly promotes the maintenance and strengthening of psychological safety. Psychological safety can be a driving force behind a successful work community and team. Therefore, it is worthwhile for the work community to work together to build a high-quality workplace culture in order to achieve psychological safety. The role of managers is important in creating an open atmosphere, but each of us can make a positive contribution to the work community and help strengthen the culture of trust. A team needs each and every player to make a goal possible.

Wanda Pirinen
Wellbeing Specialist & Partner