Creating a Culture of Safety and Wellbeing

8th September 2022

Business Capability Workshop, sponsored by Pathfinder Solutions
Simon Weakley, Director of Sales and Training, Dale Carnegie Auckland

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“Culture says: ‘This is what we do’.” Simon Weakley describes a company’s culture as “its true north”, observing that it “ties into everything” and has a tangible effect on the bottom line. Research shows that 50 per cent of employees would leave a business tomorrow for one with a better culture.

Culture can be built on three major factors: employee engagement, psychological safety, and resilience. Referring to principles from Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book and citing real-life data, Simon explained each of these elements in more detail through an abundance of attendee interactions and practical exercises.

Emotions lead to engagement. For employees to fulfil their potential, they need to feel genuinely valued, confident, empowered, and connected. This means developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, which begins with meaningful conversations – that don’t feel like interrogations! Encouraging team members to talk about themselves so that they, directly and indirectly, reveal their core values and motivators is crucial.

Psychological safety
This can be defined as someone’s perception of the consequences of taking an interpersonal risk. Do they feel confident to speak up when they need help, have a new idea, or need to share a concern? A culture of psychological safety not only supports overall wellbeing but also nurtures innovation. Simon advised business owners to be aware of nine signs that employees may not be feeling psychologically safe, including quiet meetings, people who used to speak up no longer doing so, and a general lack of knowledge about someone’s life outside of work.

The ability to bounce back – cope, recover, and learn – from challenging situations brings huge benefits for individuals, teams, and organisations overall. Once again, social intelligence (forming relationships with empathy and assertiveness) is the “super glue that sticks this all together”.

Simon discussed the two types of stress, positive (eustress) and negative (distress). He shared advice about how to support employee resilience, such as ensuring they have access to appropriate resources and learning opportunities, and that everyone is living the organisation’s purpose. Which brought the workshop back to his original key point: “Culture says ‘this is what we do’.”

Read more about this important topic on page 12 of FYI September 2022.

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Bernadette Robert

Bernadette Robert