It’s time to rethink workplace safety. As it relates to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, organizations must take the safety of employees a step further than simply ensuring their physical safety in your environment, we must also consider interaction safety. We want all employees to speak up, be creative and make their strongest contributions but are we providing environments in which employees feel they can do so safely without criticism and judgment. Are you creating environments where all employees feel safe enough to soar?
Interaction Safety – Do Your Employees Feel Safe Enough to Soar?
In order to leverage the talents of all employees, organizations must be intentional on creating work spaces where all employees feel safe enough to interact.
It is the responsibility of all levels within the organization to ensure you maintain an environment where team members have the support of others that allows them to soar.
Interaction safety is best defined by Katz and Miller as an environment that supports people to feel safe enough to share not just their best ideas and thinking, but their still-in formation thoughts and ideas.
When employees feel safe enough to soar you have a more inclusive environment, productivity increase, trust is accelerated and you have more collaboration amongst individuals, teams and departments.
Employees are more likely to speak up when they feel everyone is on the same team and that ideas – even in the formation stage – can be brought to light without others tearing them down.
It allows team members to building upon the ideas of others. There is value in knowing that you achieve more together as a team then as individuals.
According to the book, Safe Enough to Soar, there are four levels of interaction safety.
Level One: On your Own
There is little focus on interaction safety. People are basically on their own, trying to survive with little support or recourse.
Level Two: Lip Service
The organization has some focus on interaction safety. The organization may begin to recognize that it is important but does little to make it a reality in the interactions between people or those in leadership roles.
Level Three: Islands of Safety
The organization places a great deal of focus on creating interaction safety and are actively working toward making it a reality.
Level Four: Way of Life
The organization is focused on ensuring that interaction safety is sustained and is constantly working to improve the culture to enable individuals and the organization to soar.
Where is your organization today and what steps are needed to take you to the next level?