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Psychologically Safe and Inclusive Workplaces

SAFETY at work 

Psychological safety at work is about creating an environment where staff can speak up, share ideas, ask questions and make mistakes without fear of humiliation or retribution.

Psychologically Safe and Inclusive Workplaces

Psychological safety at work is a critical inclusion competency which will provide access to diversity of thought and the foundation required to embed a speak up culture in your organisation.

Creating this environment supports genuine participation and contribution by all staff as they feel valued and respected.

Psychological safety is important for all staff but is heightened for those from under-represented groups who are more likely to have experience of negative consequences and inequities.


Making Sure Good Ideas Don't Die

Faced with increasing demands to inoculate your organisation against disruption, mitigate against ethical lapses in decision making and position leadership to be ready and willing to call out inappropriate behaviour, embedding psychological safety has become a non negotiable leadership competency. 


Creating a Safe Workplace

Creating psychological safety at work to spur greater performance and innovation
We give you the tools and know-how to create an organisation in which your teams have a safe and supporting environment to tap into their full potential.


Challenging the Status Quo

Our assessments help you spot where you need new people. Together, we can get the right talent into those roles through internal moves or external hires.

Leadership and Coaching Programs

Based on the outcomes of the Psychological Safety Survey or our other assessments, leaders will understand organisational/personal strengths and challenges. Our coaches then debrief the results and support leaders through the process of improving psychological safety. 


Workplace Teams and Individual Facilitation

Building or rebuilding psychological safety in a team can be a sensitive discussion for which leaders require support. Diversity Australia delivers a facilitated discussion, based on the assessment results, supporting accountability and further development.


Psychologial Safety in The Workplace:

Generating New Ideas. Solving Big Problems

To tap into greater performance, innovation and creativity, psychological safety is crucial. When it exists, people feel safe to speak up, challenge the status quo, experiment with new ways of working, and openly talk about and learn from mistakes.

Today, we know the specific behaviours that lead to a safe workplace driven by diversity, equity and inclusion.   All of these behaviours can help you create a place where your teams feel motivated to contribute to common goals, feel safe to make mistakes and learn, and discover their full potential. 

We help you deepen your team’s understanding of psychological safety, build awareness about strengths and gaps across your organisation, and discover techniques that enhance this quality in your culture.


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Why we are different

Psychological safety at work is a key component of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Diverse opinions, experiences, and knowledge can be better leveraged if team members feel comfortable speaking up and are accustomed to considering alternate viewpoints.

Highly inclusive teams are empowered to share their unique perspectives with each other and are better positioned to reap the benefits of having a diverse team.

When it comes to performance, creating a trusting environment is essential. The Harvard Business Review has shared multiple studies that describe workplace psychological safety as an important factor in high-performing (and hybrid) teams, and the teams who are most effective at problem solving have been shown to share two common traits: cognitive diversity and psychological safety.

Not only does psychological safety at work improve your team’s performance, it also enhances employee engagement. When team members feel that their insights are appreciated they:

  • Feel like a respected part of their team
  • See the value of their work
  • Feel accepted for who they are and the unique strengths they bring

How to measure psychological safety AT WORK

One way to measure psychological safety in your organization is through employee surveys. However, traditional psychological safety assessments tend to focus solely on perceptions at the team level. Consider asking questions that measure employees’ perceptions of psychological safety both at work and within their team.

Leverage a pulse survey template to ask the right questions about whether team members feel that they can share their opinions, take risks, and make mistakes.

When reviewing your results, focus your data analysis at the team-level, rather than within the organization overall. While it’s valuable to have an understanding of the level psychological safety throughout your organization, any action that you take to improve psychological safety will be most effective within teams.

We help y0u to create psychological safety at work

Now that you know what it is, why it matters, and how to measure it—how do you transform your team environment and create psychological safety at work?

Let us create for you strategies to create psychological safety at work.

What Is Psychological Safety at Work? (2023)

A Detailed Info-Guide


Welcome to Diversity Australia’s mini-course about Psychological Safety at Work!  We estimate this is about a 10-minute read to give you a broad overview of the following Contents:


I. Introduction


A. Definition of psychological safety
B. Importance of psychological safety in the workplace
C. Objectives of promoting psychological safety


II. Key elements of psychological safety


A. Trust
1. Building trust among team members
2. Trust in leadership


B. Open communication
1. Encouraging honest feedback
2. Active listening and empathy


C. Inclusivity and diversity
1. Respecting different perspectives
2. Supporting underrepresented groups


D. Encouraging risk-taking and innovation
1. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity
2. Rewarding creativity and experimentation


III. Strategies for fostering psychological safety


A. Leadership commitment
1. Leading by example
2. Training for managers and supervisors


B. Establishing clear expectations
1. Defining team values and norms
2. Reinforcing positive behaviors


C. Providing support and resources
1. Employee assistance programs
2. Mental health awareness and training


D. Monitoring and measuring psychological safety
1. Regular employee surveys
2. Identifying and addressing issues proactively


IV. Overcoming challenges


A. Addressing resistance to change
B. Ensuring sustainability of initiatives
C. Adapting to changing workplace dynamics


V. Conclusion


A. Benefits of a psychologically safe workplace
B. Long-term impact on organizational success
C. Commitment to continuous improvement and growth


Read on below…

I. Introduction

Psychological safety at work can be defined as the shared belief that employees can freely express themselves and take interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences. In other words, a psychologically safe environment allows employees to be open about their ideas, opinions, and concerns without feeling threatened, embarrassed, or judged. This sense of safety is essential in the workplace, as it has been linked to higher job satisfaction, increased employee engagement, and improved collaboration.

Workplaces that prioritise psychological safety often see lower turnover rates, as employees feel valued and are more likely to remain with the organization. Additionally, a psychologically safe environment promotes innovation and creativity, as employees are more willing to share their ideas and take risks without fear of failure.

The objectives of promoting psychological safety in the workplace are numerous. The primary goal is to create a work environment where all employees feel respected, valued, and included. This involves fostering a culture of trust and open communication that encourages employees to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. Another objective is to enhance employee well-being by providing support and resources that help manage stress and promote mental health. Lastly, promoting psychological safety aims to improve overall organizational performance by unlocking the full potential of every employee and fostering a culture of continuous learning and development.

II. Key elements of psychological safety at work

A. Trust

Building trust among team members:
Trust is the foundation of strong relationships among team members. When employees trust each other, they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, knowing that their colleagues will listen and respect their perspectives. To build trust within a team, it’s important to encourage open communication, provide opportunities for team members to get to know each other on a personal level, and create an environment where individuals can rely on each other to complete tasks and support one another. Additionally, promoting a culture of transparency, where decisions and processes are clearly communicated, can help establish trust among team members.

Trust in leadership:
Equally important to trust among team members is trust in leadership. Employees need to feel confident that their leaders have their best interests in mind, are competent in making decisions, and are dedicated to the organization’s success. Leaders can foster trust by being transparent in their decision-making processes, genuinely listening to employees’ feedback and concerns, and demonstrating empathy and understanding. Furthermore, leaders should be accountable for their actions, admit when they make mistakes, and take steps to correct and learn from them. By modeling trustworthy behavior, leaders can create a psychologically safe workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and secure in their roles.

B. Open communication

Encouraging honest feedback:
Open communication is essential for fostering psychological safety, and one of the key aspects of open communication is encouraging honest feedback. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions without fear of retaliation or judgment. To create an environment that encourages honest feedback, leaders can initiate regular check-ins or feedback sessions where employees have the opportunity to discuss their experiences and share their ideas. It’s also crucial to create a non-threatening atmosphere where employees can be candid about both their successes and challenges. By demonstrating that feedback is valued and acted upon, leaders can strengthen the culture of open communication and support continuous improvement.

Active listening and empathy:
Another crucial aspect of open communication is active listening and empathy. When employees feel heard and understood, they are more likely to trust their colleagues and leaders and be more engaged in their work. Active listening involves giving the speaker your full attention, asking clarifying questions, and paraphrasing their message to ensure you have accurately understood their point of view. Empathy, on the other hand, is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and genuinely understand their feelings and perspectives. By practicing active listening and empathy, leaders and team members can create a supportive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, ultimately fostering a psychologically safe workplace.

C. Inclusivity and diversity

Respecting different perspectives:
Embracing inclusivity and diversity is vital for creating a psychologically safe workplace. When employees feel that their unique perspectives are respected and valued, they are more likely to contribute their ideas and engage in open discussions. To promote respect for different perspectives, leaders should encourage a culture of curiosity, where employees are open to learning from one another and appreciate the diverse experiences that each person brings to the table. By fostering an inclusive environment, leaders can help team members understand that their individual differences are an asset to the organization and can lead to more innovative and well-rounded solutions.

Supporting underrepresented groups:
Actively supporting underrepresented groups is an essential aspect of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. This support can take many forms, such as implementing diversity and inclusion training programs, promoting mentorship opportunities, and establishing employee resource groups. By creating a more equitable workplace, leaders can ensure that all employees feel valued and have equal opportunities to succeed. Supporting underrepresented groups not only fosters psychological safety but also contributes to a more innovative and dynamic organization that is better equipped to address a wide range of challenges and opportunities.

D. Encouraging risk-taking and innovation

Embracing failure as a learning opportunity:
Fostering a psychologically safe workplace involves creating an environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks and exploring new ideas. This means embracing failure as a learning opportunity rather than a setback. Leaders can encourage this mindset by openly discussing their own failures, analyzing what went wrong, and highlighting the valuable lessons learned. By normalizing failure and reframing it as a stepping stone to success, employees will be more willing to take risks and think outside the box, ultimately driving innovation within the organization.

Rewarding creativity and experimentation:
In addition to embracing failure, it’s crucial to reward creativity and experimentation. When employees feel that their creative efforts are recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to contribute innovative ideas and solutions. Leaders can demonstrate their commitment to creativity by celebrating employee successes, providing resources and support for new projects, and offering incentives for those who take calculated risks. By cultivating a culture of experimentation and valuing unconventional thinking, organizations can unlock their employees’ full potential and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive business landscape.

III. Strategies for fostering psychological safety at work

A. Leadership commitment

Leading by example:

One of the most effective ways to foster psychological safety in the workplace is for leaders to lead by example. This means demonstrating the behaviors and attitudes that create a safe and inclusive environment. Leaders should actively practice open communication, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and show genuine empathy and understanding toward their team members. By modeling these behaviors, leaders can set the tone for the entire organization and encourage employees to follow suit, creating a culture of psychological safety that permeates all levels of the company.

Training for managers and supervisors:

In addition to leading by example, it’s essential to provide training for managers and supervisors on how to create and maintain a psychologically safe environment. This training should cover topics such as active listening, empathy, effective feedback, and strategies for fostering trust and open communication within their teams. By equipping managers and supervisors with the necessary skills and knowledge, organizations can ensure that psychological safety is consistently promoted and supported across all departments.

B. Establishing clear expectations

Defining team values and norms:

To create a psychologically safe workplace, it’s important to establish clear expectations around team values and norms. This involves collaboratively developing a set of shared values that reflect the organization’s commitment to psychological safety, such as respect, trust, open communication, and inclusivity. These values should be clearly communicated and reinforced through regular team discussions, performance evaluations, and decision-making processes. By defining and upholding these values, teams can create a strong foundation for a psychologically safe work environment.

 Reinforcing positive behaviors:

Another crucial aspect of establishing clear expectations is reinforcing positive behaviors that contribute to psychological safety. Leaders and managers should recognize and reward employees who demonstrate these behaviors, such as offering constructive feedback, actively listening to others, or showing support for their colleagues. By celebrating and acknowledging these positive actions, organizations can encourage more employees to adopt these behaviors, creating a virtuous cycle that further strengthens the culture of psychological safety.

C. Providing support and resources

Employee assistance programs:

Implementing employee assistance programs (EAPs) is an essential strategy for fostering psychological safety in the workplace. EAPs provide employees with access to confidential counseling, support, and resources to help them navigate personal and work-related challenges. By offering these services, organizations demonstrate their commitment to employees’ well-being and create a supportive environment that promotes psychological safety.

Mental health awareness and training:

Raising awareness about mental health and providing training on topics such as stress management, self-care, and resilience is another crucial aspect of fostering psychological safety. By educating employees about mental health and equipping them with the necessary tools and resources, organizations can reduce stigma, promote well-being, and create a more understanding and empathetic work environment.

D. Monitoring and measuring psychological safety

Regular employee surveys:

To ensure that psychological safety remains a priority, it’s essential to monitor and measure its presence in the workplace. Regular employee surveys can provide valuable insights into employees’ perceptions of psychological safety, including their sense of trust, open communication, and overall well-being. These surveys can help identify areas where improvements are needed and track progress over time, ensuring that efforts to promote psychological safety remain effective and targeted.

Identifying and addressing issues proactively:

A key aspect of monitoring psychological safety is identifying and addressing issues proactively. This involves creating a culture of continuous improvement, where employees are encouraged to speak up about any concerns or suggestions for improvement. Leaders and managers should be responsive to these concerns and take prompt action to address any issues that may be undermining psychological safety. By demonstrating a commitment to proactively addressing problems and continuously improving the work environment, organizations can maintain a strong culture of psychological safety that benefits employees and contributes to overall organizational success.

IV. Overcoming challenges

A.  Addressing resistance to change:

Change can be difficult for many individuals, and fostering psychological safety may require significant shifts in workplace culture and practices. To overcome resistance to change, it’s important to communicate the benefits of psychological safety clearly and demonstrate how it aligns with the organization’s mission and values. Involving employees in the development and implementation of psychological safety initiatives can also help foster a sense of ownership and increase buy-in. By being patient, supportive, and persistent, leaders can help employees embrace change and create a more psychologically safe and thriving workplace.

B.  Ensuring sustainability of initiatives:

To maintain the positive impact of psychological safety initiatives, it’s crucial to ensure their sustainability over time. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing and updating policies, practices, and training programs to reflect the evolving needs of employees and the organization. Engaging employees in continuous improvement efforts and soliciting their feedback can also help identify areas for growth and refinement. By staying committed to sustaining psychological safety initiatives, organizations can continue to reap the benefits of a more engaged, innovative, and productive workforce.

C. Adapting to changing workplace dynamics:

The modern workplace is continually evolving, and organizations must be adaptable to maintain psychological safety amid these changes. This may involve adjusting strategies and practices to accommodate remote or hybrid work environments, embracing new technologies, or responding to shifting employee demographics. By staying attuned to emerging trends and challenges, leaders can ensure that their psychological safety initiatives remain relevant and effective, supporting employee well-being and organizational success in an ever-changing landscape.

V.  Conclusion

A. The Benefits of a psychologically safe workplace:

By investing in psychological safety, organizations can unlock numerous benefits, including increased employee engagement, higher job satisfaction, and enhanced collaboration. A psychologically safe environment also fosters innovation and creativity, driving organizational success in today’s competitive business world.

B. The Long-term impact on organisational success:

Fostering psychological safety at work can lead to long-term benefits for organizations, such as reduced turnover rates, improved employee well-being, and a more inclusive and diverse workforce. These factors contribute to a stronger, more adaptable organization that is better equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the future.

C.  Commitment to continuous improvement and growth:

Promoting psychological safety is an ongoing process that requires dedication, persistence, and adaptability. By remaining committed to continuous improvement and growth, organizations can maintain a psychologically safe work environment that supports employees’ well-being, unleashes their full potential, and ultimately drives lasting success.


Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350-383. Retrieved from

Delizonna, L. (2017). High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Duhigg, C. (2016). What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from


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