Psychosocial safety climate (PSC) is when an organization has policies, practices, procedures, and systems that support employee psychological health. Working in a low PSC can have downstream effects that harm psychological health. Therefore, it is important to understand how organizations can build PSC, both in normal times and in times of shock, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BUILDING PSYCHOSOCIAL SAFETY CLIMATE
Researchers (Dollard & Bailey, 2021) conducted a study to explore how enacting the principles of PSC to manage psychosocial risks could lead to changes in perceptions of PSC among employees. The researchers administered PSC training and mentoring to managers of different workgroups to develop and implement action plans. They later assessed the effectiveness of the intervention by measuring whether employees of the intervention group had higher perceptions of PSC compared to the control group.
RESULTS OF THE STUDY
The results of the study show that as expected, the PSC perceptions of employees in the experimental group increased more than the control group during the first four months of the intervention. Perceptions of PSC still remained higher even when they were measured an additional time during the COVID-19 pandemic – an overwhelming and disruptive time.
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS
The results of this study show that an evidence-based organizational intervention can successfully increase PSC perceptions among employees. These increases can be sustained over a longer term, even throughout shock conditions like the COVID-19 pandemic. Such interventions can help prepare managers to manage risks during future unexpected crises.
Dollard, M. F., & Bailey, T. (2021). Building psychosocial safety climate in turbulent times: The case of COVID-19. Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(7), 951–964.