Psychological Safety – How to assess (Part 3)
How to Assess the Psychological Safety of Your Workplace – 5 Questions to Ask
1. Commitment: Does psychological health and safety play an integral role in all operations of your organization? Do all workers, including managers, have a role to play, and visible commitment and ongoing support from leaders?
2. Planning: Have you taken the first step by identifying the issues? Do you provide workers with a safe environment in which they can discuss issues, aspirations or concerns? Once issues have been identified, is there a planning stage to determine how they will be addressed? Engaging the workforce in both of these stages can improve both the process and the outcomes; as can encouraging active participation from those whose concerns are being addressed. Together, this increases the chances of long-term success. Refer to B.4.3 (page 26) in the Standard for a list of resources.
3. Implementation: Do you then turn your plans into actions? Do you create an implementation stage to ensure that the changes are communicated effectively and that the process of implementation does not cause undue stress or harm? If done well, this process can create a sense of belonging, building positive relationships and securing commitment (a great boost to psychological health and safety). Refer to B.4.4 (page 27) in the Standard for assistance in implementing.
4. Evaluation and corrective action: Are you evaluating your success? As with so many initiatives, without monitoring and measuring there is no way to determine whether or not the strategies implemented have been successful. Additionally, without the stats to back up your success, the initiatives may be at risk of being usurped by other priorities.
5. Management review and continual improvement: Has your psychological health and safety plan been integrated at the senior level – is it part of all strategic and operational plans, policies and practices? Frontline staff and middle management work hard to make improvements to the psychological health in the workplace and without senior management being aware of these changes, there is a risk that their actions might inadvertently decrease the gains made. Keep them updated on progress made with the initiatives to ensure continual improvement.
As mentioned previously, the Standard recommends organizations improve things gradually according to their size and need.
Following an assessment, you may choose to use the Standard as a starting point and focus on creating policies and practices to promote mental health, or you may determine that several aspects are already in place and use it to build upon existing efforts. Alternatively, you may use it to help create training programs.
The MHCC has created a detailed Action Plan to help you get started (download pdf).
Watch for Part 4 next week – How to Create Change – the P6 Framework