By Steve Moran

A few weeks ago I was chatting with Brett Landrum, the CEO of Procare HR (a Foresight partner) about the importance of psychological safety, and that conversation led to a little poll on LinkedIn. Here are the results:

One one hand, 39% at the highest level is a pretty decent number. On the other hand, that means that nearly 60% of workers feel not all that psychologically safe.

One of my favorite uses of AI is for research. I went to ChatGPT looking for information on psychological safety in the workplace, asking it to talk to me about what makes the workplace safe and unsafe. The output was super depressing. The reason is that all of the AI models regurgitate data from the internet, so a higher prevalence of any particular data means it is more likely that I will get that in my AI results.

What AI tried to tell me was that the ways to get more psychological safety were things like having better staffing levels, having a better designed workspace, protecting team members from physically and behaviorally problematic residents, and providing more training.

While none of that is bad, you can do all of those things and have low psychological safety.

What Works

With all due respect to AI and the internet, here is what works:

  • Team members need to know they are valued as human beings and not just as money-producing cogs in a machine.
  • They need to know that their leaders care about their happiness and their families’ happiness.
  • They need to know they are part of something special and unique. That they are making a difference in the world.
  • They want to have a say in how things are operating. They have ideas — great ideas — about how to make their jobs better, their communities better. They have great ideas about how to make lives better for residents and resident families.

Many but not all want a path for advancement. The big thing they want is for you to ask them how they are doing — how their jobs and their lives could be better.

Finally, they want to know that when things go wrong, they will not be pounded for mistakes that inevitably happen.