A global study about the psychological health and safety of today’s workplaces recently caught my attention.
There is some good news in this study: 47% believe their workplace is safe and healthy. That is higher than expected given the results of studies and articles regarding workplace satisfaction during the global recession.
26% of surveyed workers in the Ipsos study are on the fence; they did not feel one way or the other. Is this “middle of the pack” ranking a good thing? No. These scores (5-6 on a 10 point scale) indicate respondents do not believe their workplace is awful, but it is not, in their minds, psychologically safe.
The Benefits of Psychological Healthy Workplaces
- Increased job satisfaction
- Higher morale
- Better physical and mental health
- Enhanced motivation
- Improved ability to manage stress
. . . and these benefits to organizations:
- Improved quality, performance, and productivity
- Reduced absenteeism and turnover
- Fewer accidents and injuries
- Better ability to attract and retain top-quality employees
- Improved customer service and satisfaction
- Lower healthcare costs
Creating Psychologically Healthy Workplaces
Despite the powerful benefits to employees and organizations listed above, most organizations focus primarily (some exclusively) on getting products and services delivered. Too few organizations pay close attention to the environment employees exist in while trying to deliver those products and services.
How can you improve the psychological healthy of your work environment? The responsibility falls on the shoulders of the organization’s leaders, from senior leaders through supervisor ranks.
Leaders at all levels of an organization must pay equal attention to employee performance AND employee work passion. If day-to-day practices, policies, and procedures erode employee well-being, that organization will not be perceived as a psychologically healthy workplace. In fact, if only a FEW day-to-day practices erode employee well-being, your organization will not enjoy the benefits noted above.
- Positive Emotion
- Positive Relationships
- Positive Meaning & Purpose
- Positive Accomplishment
- Positive Physical Health
Each of these elements contribute strongly to workplace psychological health. Let’s look at the impact that the first two of these have on psychological safety.
Emotion is a huge driver of the perceptions of workplace health. At work, if an employee feels fear, exclusion, taken advantage of, anxiety, or frustration due to the behaviors of others, those diminish and even quash personal well-being. Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, awe, appreciation, and serenity – create personal well-being and lead to greater trust, respect, and application of discretionary energy in the workplace.
Relationships are the most important driver of personal well-being. If one’s work relationships are based on interactions that validate, honor, inspire, and enable, there are immediate benefits not only to well-being but to productivity, creativity, and cooperative interaction, as well.
The Ipsos study revealed that 47% of employee surveyed believe their workplace is psychologically safe and healthy . . . and (therefore) 54% did not. Organizational leaders should strive for a work environment that is seen as psychologically healthy in every way by 100% of it’s members.
What is your experience with psychological workplace health? Add your comments below.
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