icare (Insurance & Care NSW) and R U OK?, a suicide prevention charity has recently launched a world-first study into psychological safety in the workplace showing that frontline lower income-earning staff fell less safe and are permitted to take risks at work compared to higher income-earning workers.
The study, The Australian Workplace Psychological Safety Survey examined 1,176 Australian workers and found that only 23 percent of lower income-earning frontline employees felt their workplace was “psychologically safe” to take risk than 45 percent of workers on higher incomes.
“This is the first time a country has ever measured psychological safety in the workplace,” said R U OK? Board member and workplace mental wellness expert, Graeme Cowan.
“Google’s research of its own workforce revealed that psychological safety was the most important team norm for high-performing innovative workplaces – those norms are: Psychological safety; Dependability; Structure and clarity; Meaning and Purpose; and Impact.
“While all five norms are important to team performance, psychological safety has been shown to be the most important attribute – if this attribute is strong, the other four norms are so much easier to achieve.
“If CEO’s want their organisation to thrive in today’s digital economy, team psychological safety must be paramount, as well as striving for and monitoring of employee wellbeing,” he said.
icare CEO Vivek Bhatia said 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime.
“Employee mental wellbeing must be at the top of every CEO’s agenda. Untreated mental illness costs Australian business $ 11 billion every year off their bottom line from absenteeism, lost productivity, stymied business growth and compensation claims,” he said.
“An investment is psychological wellness is an investment in now and the future.
“Employers should also recognise that this investment extends beyond their employees. We all bring our work home with us, including our state of mind.
“Mental wellbeing is not isolated to the individual – it has a flow-on effect to families, loved ones, and friends, who are at the heart of our social fabric.
“I urge all employers to ensure their people have a mentally safe environment to work in, one which respects differences, welcomes diversity and encourages employees to feel comfortable talking openly about how they’re doing.”