Want to make your company the best place to work? In the first video in this series, ic3 consulting discusses how safety and trust are crucial and the foundation of authentic employee engagement.
The ACE Model
safety & trust
◾️ awareness + alignment = insightful companies
◾️ communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
◾️ lasting employee engagement = intentional culture
But, before you can even reach these positions in your company, you have to establish safety and trust. So, what are safety and trust (psychological safety) within the workplace and why are they so important?
Safety is the starting place. It is the requisite foundation and is what is needed for people to feel open to bringing their whole-selves to work, which is necessary for a fully functioning and engaged workforce. When employees feel safe, they feel like they can share their ideas – even the ones that aren’t always implemented.
Trust is established through transparency, or clearly defined expectations and established and practiced effective communication patterns practiced by all. This is the launching pad for happiness at work.
Imagine a workplace bully. (Unfortunately, this usually is not too hard to conjure.) When employees start to feel threatened by a co-worker, especially if the company is small, they begin to dread coming to work for fear they will be insulted and provoked, or that their job is in jeopardy if that person is in a position of power. Suddenly, you no longer have a team that is working together. Employees do not feel safe or trusting. Rather, they are working from a place of fear and anticipation.
So, what is going on in the brain that necessitates safety being the starting place?
As we evolved, so did our brains. A human brain has parts that are similar to reptiles and other mammals. The brain didn’t begin again with each evolutionary hurdle but rather built upon what was.
The most ancient part of our brain is located at the base and includes the brainstem (in blue). It controls automatic functions such as heart rate and breathing and is concerned with safety and survival. If we are consumed with trying to satisfy our need for safety, we can never function fully from our higher mental states such as abstract thought, language, empathy, and imagination.
Take this moment and truly pause. Reflect. How many people and/or teams can you identify that are currently operating from a place of fear – not having their needs for safety met? (If this question is difficult for you to answer, click here for more information about awareness at work.)
Quick Tips for safety, transparency and trust in the workplace to address high turnover, low productivity and lack of innovation.
• How confident are your employees that their job is secure for the next year? If not, and their has not been communication around this point, it is likely that your employees are not fully engage. Not feeling secure often lends itself to a dramatic reduction in engagement. What would your employees need to feel more secure at work?
• Are there established methods of effective communication that are practiced and reinforced regularly within your workplace? If not, use this as a starting point.
• Do you know what all your employee’s roles and responsibilities entail? If not, learn something new about a co-worker each day with this simple question, “Hi, my name is ___. I work here as a ____. It is my desire to learn more about my coworkers at ___ company (where you work). Do you mind sharing with me about a typical day at work for you?”
This Week’s Action Steps:
• Make note of what you do in your company to instill safety & trust?
• What is one thing can you do to increase safety & trust within your company this week?