How to Create Psychological Safety for New Team Members
It's that time of year again! The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down, and businesses are starting to think about their fall hiring needs. If you're in charge of onboarding new employees, you may be wondering the best way to have your new employees integrate into the network of any already established teams. Well, we are here to help–the best thing to focus on to achieve this is how to create a psychologically safe environment for them.
If you are not already familiar with psychological safety, it is the belief that one will not be punished or ostracized for taking risks or speaking up with ideas, concerns, or questions. In order to create a psychologically safe environment, leaders need to focus on many things, but in reference to new employees inviting participation, focusing on situational humility, and ensuring all voices are welcome are especially important.
One way to create psychological safety is by inviting participation from all team members, regardless of tenure or title. This can be done in a number of ways, such as soliciting input during team meetings or sending out regular surveys to get feedback on company policies. By opening up the floor to everyone, you will signal that all voices are welcome and that everyone's opinions are valued. Additionally, this will help build trust within the team as people feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and thoughts, truly helpful for new and senior employees alike.
Another way to create psychological safety is by maintaining situational humility. This means approaching each situation with a beginner's mind-set and being open to learning from others, much like your new employees will be feeling. Leaders can model this behavior by being open to feedback and admitting when they do not have all the answers. Additionally, they should encourage team members to frequently ask questions and offer suggestions. By maintaining situational humility, leaders send the message that it's “ok” to not know everything and that everyone can learn from each other.
The third way to focus on psychological safety for your new team members is by ensuring that all voices are welcome in the conversation. This means creating an environment where everyone feels like they can be themselves without judgment or repercussions. Leaders can do this by encouraging open communication and creating safe spaces for difficult conversations. Additionally, they should make an effort to get to know each team member so that they can create personalized relationships built on trust and mutual respect.
Truly, creating a psychologically safe environment is essential for onboarding new employees. By inviting participation, focusing on situational humility, and ensuring all voices are welcome, leaders can signal that all team members are valued and that their opinions matter. Creating psychological safety will help build trust within the team and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable speaking up with ideas, concerns, or questions.