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The difference between psychological safety and psychosocial safety in the workplace


Recently, I have received questions from several clients regarding the difference between psychological safety and psychosocial safety in the workplace. While both concepts are equally important from a leadership, health, and well-being perspective, they refer to different aspects. Leaders must understand the differences between the two, especially in the context of recent legislation changes around employer obligations.

The difference between psychological safety and psychosocial safety in the workplace

Psychological safety is crucial for creating a work environment where team members feel comfortable taking interpersonal risks without fear of negative consequences. It allows individuals to speak openly, address difficult issues, and manage conflicts effectively. Team members are not punished or humiliated for sharing ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. This leads to a culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities for learning, and diversity of thought is appreciated, leading to more innovation and high performance.

The focus is on interpersonal relationships, communication and culture, allowing people to be open and vulnerable.

Psychosocial safety refers to the policies, practices, and procedures organisations implement to ensure their employees' psychological health and safety. It relates to safeguarding employees' mental health by managing psychosocial risks and hazards in the workplace. This often involves addressing the work environment for factors such as excessive workload, workplace bullying, job insecurity and a lack of control. Not acting on it can lead to stress, burnout and mental health impacts.

The focus is on policies, practices and structures that influence the psychological well-being of employees.




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