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Psychological Safety in Today’s Global Workforce

Amid mounting pressures and unprecedented challenges across the globe, psychologically safe workplaces have become a necessity for building organizational resilience and sustainable success. Leaders at every level recognize that they need to cultivate cultures of trust, openness, and inclusivity, where every voice is heard, valued, and respected.  

The financial consequences are straightforward: psychological safety is the lynchpin of employee engagement and the heart of bottom-line business results. The benefits range from talent retention and enhanced innovation to better customer service and stronger brand value. 

As the largest independent provider of customized and localized well-being services, with more than 116,000 clients serving 79 million people, Workplace Options has deep insights on global psychological safety, derived from data via the human-to-human counseling the company’s clinical team has conducted in nine countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, and the United States.  

“A culture built on psychological safety has immense value,” says Alan King, president and CEO of Workplace Options. “Deep-rooted employee engagement leads to greater creativity, innovation, and an environment where people can be their authentic self in every aspect of their life. The results from this study will help leaders and organizations make a transformative difference in people’s lives by building resilient cultures focused on well-being.”  

Key findings from the study can be found below.  

  • Australia’s top workplace concerns include lack of recognition, work-life balance, and job performance.  
  • Canada’s top concerns are daily work activities, job performance, conflict of values with the company, and conflict or tension with managers.  
  • In China, the top workplace concerns are daily work activities, lack of recognition, and lack of professional development.  
  • France’s top workplace concerns include lack of professional development, job performance, and concerns with daily work activities.  
  • Germany’s top concerns are work-life balance, job performance, conflict with managers, and concerns with daily work activities.  
  • India’s top workplace concerns include tension with managers, job performance, work-life balance, lack of professional development, and concerns with daily work activities.
  • Mexico’s top workplace concerns include job performance, concerns with daily work activities, lack of recognition, and conflict with managers.  
  • In the U.K., top concerns include lack of recognition, work-life balance, and concerns with daily work activities.  
  • In the U.S., the top workplace concerns include work-life balance, job performance, and conflict with managers.  

Given the constantly shifting global business environment, leaders must create workplaces centered on psychological safety, which is a cornerstone of inclusive leadership. Teams that feel psychologically safe are more innovative, productive, and resilient in the face of adversity.  

“As part of an overall corporate wellbeing strategy on a global scale, it is important to create a framework that allows the cultures and practices to be considered and recognized at the local level,” says Mary Ellen Gornick, founding partner at WPO Consulting Group. “The study gives leaders the information they need to create inclusive cultures in the locations where they have operations. But they should also keep in mind that variances might exist in how strategies are implemented at the country level.”  

According to the report, the benefits of psychological safety in the workplace include the following:  

  • deeper employee engagement; 
  • improved team performance; 
  • increased employee engagement and retention; 
  • enhanced problem-solving and decision-making; 
  • greater employee well-being; 
  • enhanced organizational resilience; and  
  • improved customer satisfaction.  

The findings comprise the “WPO Psychological Safety Study: Global Context for Organizational Success,” a website and multimedia content hub that presents information on how psychological safety affects employees in different countries. The site includes multimedia resources, white papers, videos, articles, infographics, and other information on the global significance of psychological safety.  

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