At our most recent event we had two brilliant speakers covering topics which sparked lots of conversations around psychological safety in the workplace and the power of speaking up. Henry, founder of 106 Comms introduced the morning with a case study on building trust within an organisation. Anglo American demonstrated their commitment to people over profit when it closed a mine, despite it making $8mm per week, because there had been 200 deaths in two years. They introduced a concept known as Lekgotla to encourage the sharing of ideas, which asked employees “what do we need to do?” and gave them the opportunity to speak, uninterrupted, for as long as they needed. It started implementing small actions quickly, such as fulfilling requests for fresh water and tea facilities for workers on site. This simple action helped to build trust because employees could see that their feedback could make a difference.
Katherine – NHS National Freedom to Speak Up Guardian’s Office
Katherine spoke about making employees more aware of actions that have been taken, even if these were preventative. If things are happening behind the scenes, employees may not be aware and could think that the company is sitting back and doing nothing. For example, if things have been done to prevent an issue from developing, share this, because it is a good news story about taking action and nipping something in the bud.
People can submit postcards with things that are going well, things that aren’t going well, potential issues that should be avoided, and issues that have been avoided. One of each is shared on a regular basis, either in team meetings or in an email. This encourages people to share things before it’s too late so that preventative measures can be taken.
Michael – Tootoot founder
Michael shared an incredible story about his journey to setting up Tootoot. Having been bullied as a child, he has first-hand experience of the shortcomings of reporting bullying. One thing that stood out to him was that although he spoke to Childline and found them very helpful, they did not feedback to his school to help them address the wider issue of bullying.
Tootoot has developed an app that has reduced bullying by half in the test areas of Birmingham and Cornwall, and to date has received 60,491 disclosures. There are Incidental benefits too such as reducing racism and other negative behaviour, for example one student felt comfortable enough to post about how much they were struggling with exam pressure, which meant that her school were able to offer support quickly.
Michael has adapted the app for the workplace, and it takes a holistic approach to wellbeing, for example by asking how many hours sleep an employee has had, or how much water have they drunk. Dehydration results in lower productivity, so if dehydration becomes a trend, organisations can ensure everyone knows where the water fountains are situated or even introduce more to the workplace.
Michaels’ three key steps to improving psychological safety at work:
- Listen to your employees
- Measure the impact – evidence improvements in employee engagement (physical feedback stations for example)
- Make evidence based decisions – implement evidence based interventions
A truly insightful morning with lots of ideas around ways to improve feelings of psychological safety in the workplace and empowering people to speak up. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming events!