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The impact of psychological safety in talent retention

April 17, 2024

The need to create psychological safety in the workplace has never been more urgent. New Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research shows that when empathetic leaders build a culture of psychological safety, retention risk is reduced. It is also particularly effective at improving the workplace and reducing attrition for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ employees, people with disabilities, and people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

According to a survey of 28,000 professionals from 16 countries, 12% of employees with the lowest levels of psychological safety said they were likely to quit within a year. However, when psychological safety is high, only 3% of employees are at risk of quitting.

In companies that put building a good corporate environment into practice, workers reported:

  • 3.9x reduction in one-year attrition risk
  • 3.3x increase in feeling enabled to reach one’s full potential
  • 3.2x increase in feeling valued and respected
  • 2.3x increase in overall happiness at work
  • 2.1x increase in motivation

“Psychological safety effectively functions as an equalizer—enabling diverse and disadvantaged employee groups to achieve the same levels of workplace satisfaction as their more advantaged colleagues,” the report highlights.

According to the participants, feeling safe to speak up in the workplace, taking risks, sharing ideas and concerns, asking difficult questions, and admitting mistakes without fear of being blamed or criticized are some of the main elements that make up a professional environment with so-called psychological safety.

“Our research shows a direct and powerful relationship between empathetic leadership and feelings of psychological safety in the workforce, giving leaders a clear directive to be empathetic and thereby engender psychological safety. This in turn delivers key workplace benefits to both the organization and its employees,” the authors conclude.

Source: Valor Econômico | BCG