Nurturing a Learning Culture: The Power of Psychological Safety in the Community Care Industry
In the fast-paced and evolving community care industry, where the delivery of NDIS and aged care services takes centre stage, fostering a culture of learning is paramount.
Carolyn Grant, CEO of People Plus Science, says “creating an environment where employees feel psychologically safe to upskill, train, and problem solve is crucial for continuous improvement and delivering high-quality care”.
It’s important that carers and workers, explore the importance of psychological safety in the community care sector, discuss the different categories of safety to facilitate learning, and provide strategies to create psychologically safe learning environments.
Psychological safety is the foundation for a culture of learning and growth. It refers to an environment where individuals feel safe to take risks, ask questions, and share their thoughts without fear of judgment or negative consequences. Research by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson has shown that psychological safety leads to higher levels of innovation, creativity, and performance within teams.
As Carolyn explains, “in the community care industry, this translates into better service delivery, improved client outcomes, enhanced employee satisfaction, better learning and growth mindset”.
Douglas Kahn, is known for his research on workplace learning and organisational behaviour. His work contributed to the understanding of creating conducive learning environments. Kahn emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of continuous learning, providing training opportunities, and encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing among employees. This is the environment we need have if we wish to upskill staff, increase work load and blend roles and responsibilities due to labour shortages.
Categories of Safety to Foster Learning:
- Physical Safety: Ensuring physical safety is fundamental in a learning environment. This includes providing appropriate training, resources, and equipment to carry out tasks safely. Organisations must prioritise occupational health and safety measures to protect employees from physical harm, reducing the fear of injury and enabling a focus on learning and skill development.
- Emotional Safety: Emotional safety encompasses creating an environment where individuals feel supported, respected, and valued. It involves promoting open communication, active listening, and empathy. By cultivating a culture of emotional safety, community care providers can encourage employees to share their concerns, seek guidance and engage in reflective practices to enhance their skills and knowledge.
- Intellectual Safety: Intellectual safety revolves around encouraging employees to freely express their ideas, opinions, and perspectives. It involves fostering a culture that values diverse viewpoints, constructive feedback, and collaborative problem-solving. When individuals feel intellectually safe, they are more likely to contribute their unique insights and engage in critical thinking, leading to continuous learning and innovative solutions.