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Psychological Safety

For employees to start owning their own engagement at work, there first needs to be psychological safety within a team.


Google’s HR team discovered that psycological safety is the number one factor in determining employee effectiveness.

Step 1: We’ll help you gather feedback

Employees need a simple and confidential way to share the truth about their work experience with the leaders who can make a difference. Your engagement strategy is only as strong as the data you collect, so we take that off your plate.

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Step 2: We’ll help you discover insights.

A good survey will confirm a few hunches and uncover some blind spots, but expert data analysis will reveal the story beneath the surface. Trust your Employee Engagement Consultant to read between the lines.

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Step 3: We’ll help align your leadership team.

Even with clear insights, execution will fail if senior leaders aren’t aligned. Your Employee Engagement Consultant will present a 3rd party perspective on wins and risks to your entire leadership team so they walk away unified with clear action priorities.

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Step 4: We’ll help you empower managers to act.

From executives to frontline managers, we ensure all leaders have the coaching and resources they need to take action within their own teams. You can’t do their job for them, but you can make it easier.

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Psychological Safety

What is Psychological Safety?

Psychological Safety Definition

Defining psychological safety is important for any workplace, because it’s not just about physical safety when people work together. It’s also about mental health and well-being, and making sure that the people who work there aren’t being damaged by their job or workplace in some way. There’s plenty of workplace bullying and other types of issues that can take place, and the more those are reduced or eliminated the easier it will be for the employees and management to get along and remain productive. There are some jobs that are simply psychologically harder than others, and a psychological safety quiz could help determine which jobs might not be the right fit for some people.

Another option is to participate in a psychological safety workshop, where everyone can talk about what this kind of safety means to them and why it’s important. While there’s not one specific definition, there are a lot of different interpretations that any company may want to talk about with its employees. What could be damaging to one person might not be a problem for another. When a person figures out what they need to feel safe and secure, they can even work on psychological safety exercises that will help them focus their efforts on setting boundaries and finding a company and a work environment that respects those boundaries the right way.

Because of the different feelings and tolerances people have for psychological triggers or issues, it can be easier for some people to find the right company than it can for others. But that doesn’t mean anyone who wants a good quality work environment should give up on trying to find that. There are a lot of different companies, industries, and career paths out there, and if one option doesn’t work for someone there are always other opportunities. The biggest thing people should focus on is finding out what works for them, and then choosing to enforce good boundaries to protect their psychological safety.

Benefits of Psychological Safety

The biggest benefit to psychological safety is the impact it has on mental health. People who don’t feel mentally or emotionally safe can really struggle in their workplace environment, mostly because they’re always worried about what might happen next. They could have concerns over getting fired, or they might be fearful of the way their coworkers or a new boss might treat them. Maybe they’re had a bad performance review, or they had to take some personal time off and are worried about the ways that will impact their potential for a raise or advancement. Employees may worry about a lot of things, but whether they’re psychologically safe in their own workplace shouldn’t be on that list of concerns.

psychological safety book is a good choice for both management and employees, because these kinds of books are part of a set of tools that can be used to ensure a good understanding of how to stay psychologically safe – and also how to make sure other people in the workplace feel safe, as well. Psychological safety training is another good option, as it teaches people what to look for and how to potentially address anything that’s keeping them from feeling safe in their workplace. It might not be easy for a person to speak up, but it can be easier when they’ve learned the best way to do that. When people know how to speak up and what they can say that works, they’re more likely to say it.

Improving Psychological Safety

In most companies, improving psychological safety at work might not be on the agenda – but that doesn’t mean it’s not important or doesn’t matter. It’s often more of an unspoken issue. Unfortunately, all too often people aren’t committed to speaking about it because there’s still a stigma around mental health issue. But psychological safety in the workplace matters, and it’s also a matter of law in some cases. The snide comments of a coworker aren’t illegal, but creating a damaging work environment – what the law often calls a hostile work environment – can be trouble for an employer. It’s best for everyone involved if the company reduces the problems caused by this type of environment, and discourages anything that could be psychologically damaging to the majority of employees.

There will always be outliers in that some people are simply more sensitive than the rest of the average population. Additionally, some companies and industries have more difficult types of work than others, as well. These careers may not be for everyone. A psychological safety definition should be part of the company’s handbook, though, along with instructions on who to reach out to if this safety is becoming a problem or there are other serious concerns. Employees who are asking what is psychological safety should be able to get good answers from the information provided to them by the company. That reduces the chances of “accidentally” overlooking a rule or requirement regarding how to treat others.

Psychological Safety Survey

A big question for companies that frequently have people working on projects together is how to build psychological safety in teams. Sometimes, teams are made up of people who don’t necessarily get along or who have a lot of differing viewpoints on things. These teams are also problematic when someone who’s a part of them tries to bully others or is triggered by others in the group. The team members may be able to be adjusted or reassigned, but in some cases that’s just not possible. It’s during those times that it’s most important to make sure that psychological health and safety is handled correctly. Without proper handling, teams can become toxic and even psychologically dangerous places for some employees in the workplace.

Using a survey to ask employees what is psychological safety at work and what it means to them can help keep everyone on the right track with how they should be treating one another. Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams can come from this kind of survey, as it can open up a discussion. It all starts with the question what does psychological safety mean, and it gives individual employees the chance to answer the question for themselves. Since it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, having a survey makes it easier to start a dialogue that can lead to mutual understanding.

Psychological Safety Software

Creating psychological safety in the workplace can be helped along by software options that encourage certain types of behavior and discourage others. The goal is to create a program that makes interaction easy and enjoyable, and that reduces the chances that people will interact in ways that are inappropriate or damaging to their coworkers. There’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of workplace bullies, but a company-wide definition of psychological safety and a zero-tolerance policy can help. Software can add to the value of that, by providing training and information that’s accessible to everyone.

When companies really wonder how to promote psychological safety the best way, quite often the answer is through the use of training and informational software that will give employees the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. This also helps protect the company from liability of one employee does something damaging to others or there is any type of lawsuit or related issue. Making sure the rules and expectations are clear and easily accessible is an important part of addressing psychological safety, and when that information is right there on all the company computers it’s far more difficult for an employee to claim they didn’t know or to be unsure how to conduct themselves.

Psychological Safety Strategies

From psychological safety at home to its value in the workplace, companies and individuals have a responsibility to themselves and to one another. By taking a psychological safety survey, it’s clear that employees are given the information they need to make choices going forward. If they choose to violate company policy or attempt to psychologically harm their coworkers, there are actions that can be taken against them. Making sure the rules are strong and direct, though, is really the only way to protect employees as much as possible. Otherwise it’s too easy for an employee to claim that they didn’t know they were doing something wrong, or that it shouldn’t have been a problem for more people.

Another good strategy for psychological safety in the workplace is to make sure that employees all exercise good boundaries and that the company encourages them to do so. Saying no should be possible in the workplace, especially if there’s a very valid reason for it or the employee is simply being asked to take on too much. Companies that don’t overwork their employees and demand too much of them will generally find that their employees are more willing to work harder and take on projects because they want to, not because they feel obligated or fear for their jobs.