Article: Building psychological safety in a toxic workplace? It doesn’t have to be hard


Building psychological safety in a toxic workplace? It doesn’t have to be hard

Learn practical steps to transform a toxic culture into a thriving, motivated, and productive environment. Your journey to a healthier and happier workforce starts here.
Building psychological safety in a toxic workplace? It doesn’t have to be hard


Creating a workplace that fosters psychological safety is essential for employee well-being, motivation, and productivity. 

However, this can be a significant challenge, especially when dealing with a toxic workplace undergoing a cultural change. 

Studies have shown that toxic workplace environments can lead to increased stress, decreased job satisfaction, and even physical and mental health issues for employees.

According a 2020 research by the Workplace Bullying Institute, approximately 19% of U.S. employees had experienced bullying at some point in their careers.

Read: Red flags of a toxic hybrid workplace

Worse, 61% of the respondents said their employers either ignored or minimized the issue, instead of doing proactive measures to eliminate workplace bullying. 

The American Psychological Association also reported that workplace stress costs employers in the United States billions every year due to absenteeism, employee turnover, and decreased productivity. 

Ways to build psychological safety

But how can office managers build psychological safety in a toxic workplace? Believe it or not, it’s simpler than most people think. 

Acknowledge the problem

The first step in addressing a toxic workplace culture is to acknowledge its existence as Ignoring or denying the issue will only perpetuate it. 

Office managers should openly recognize the challenges their workplace faces and demonstrate a commitment to change.

Lead by example 

Office managers need to set the tone for the workplace, which means behaving in ways that promote respect, inclusivity, and open communication. 

When employees see their leaders demonstrating the desired behaviors, they are more likely to follow suit.

Implement clear anti-bullying policies

Establish comprehensive anti-bullying policies and procedures within your organization.

Make sure employees understand these policies, and provide clear guidelines for reporting any incidents. Encourage employees to report issues without fear of retaliation.

Read: How to resolve conflict at work

Foster open communication 

Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns and ideas. 

Regular team meetings, feedback sessions, and suggestion boxes can help facilitate this. 

Ensure that employees' voices are heard and that their feedback is acted upon.

Offer training and education 

Provide training programs on topics like emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and diversity and inclusion. 

Equip your employees with the skills they need to navigate challenging situations and understand the importance of respect and empathy.

Promote work-life balance

Toxic workplaces often lead to excessive stress, so encourage a healthy work-life balance as it can significantly reduce the risk of burnout and related mental health issues. 

Flexible working hours and remote work options can also help employees achieve this balance.

Address issues swiftly

When toxic behavior or conflicts arise, address them promptly. Delaying action can exacerbate the situation and negatively affect other team members. 

Take a proactive stance in resolving issues to create a healthier workplace.

Encourage empathy and support

Promote empathy and support among team members. 

Encourage employees to help one another, whether through mentorship, offering a listening ear, or collaborating on projects. 

Recognize and reward acts of kindness and teamwork.

Monitor and measure progress 

Regularly evaluate the workplace culture and measure the effectiveness of your initiatives. 

Use employee surveys, feedback, and key performance indicators to assess improvements and make necessary adjustments.

Seek professional guidance

In cases where the toxic culture is deeply entrenched, consider seeking the assistance of workplace psychologists or consultants who specialize in culture change. 

Their expertise can be invaluable in guiding the transformation process.

Addressing a toxic workplace culture and building psychological safety is a long-term process that requires dedication, consistent effort, and a commitment to change. 

But starting with simple, realistic, and doable things can help you implement your vision better. 

Never hesitate to invest in programs to build psychological safety and prevent workplace toxicity as it will help increase your growth in ways you can’t imagine. 

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Topics: Culture

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