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Canadian employers still have work to do when creating psychologically safe workplaces 

Canadian employers still have work to do when creating psychologically safe workplaces 

North AmericaResearchTop Stories

A new survey from ADP Canada, conducted with Maru Public Opinion, reveals most Canadian workers feel comfortable at their workplaces; however, Canadians who indicate they are Black, Indigenous peoples or people of colour are more likely to report facing workplace challenges that may affect psychological safety – the belief you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up, sharing ideas, asking questions or making mistakes at work. 

Most Canadians feel valued and comfortable at work 

Canadian employers appear to be fostering psychologically safe workplaces, with close to nine in 10 working Canadians indicating they are comfortable being themselves at work and eight in 10 feeling they can bring concerns to their manager or senior leadership team. 

In addition, most working Canadians say they feel valued at work, with 82% of respondents noting their unique skills and talents are used and appreciated at work. 

Racialised and Indigenous workers report concerns around being undermined in the workplace 

Despite feeling valued and comfortable at work, the data reveals racialised and Indigenous respondents are nearly twice as likely (36%) as White respondents (21%) to say they feel their colleagues may deliberately act in a way that undermines their efforts at work. This was particularly true for respondents in these groups who identified as men (40%).   

A similar sentiment was uncovered when respondents were asked about making mistakes at work, with nearly half (49%) of racialised and Indigenous workers saying they agreed with the statement that making a mistake at work will be held against them. Respondents in these groups were also more likely (35%) to say it is difficult to ask colleagues or a direct manager for help. 

Psychological safety is key to building strong connections and promoting authenticity at work 

Although employers appear to support inclusive workplaces, more work is needed to ensure all employees feel seen, heard and valued. It’s important to recognize that microaggressions – subtle or unintentional acts of discrimination – can occur in the workplace and psychologically impact employees, often leading to feelings of not being connected. 

Encouraging an environment that promotes open discussion and action around disadvantage, including microaggressions and issues of inclusion can help employers create a workplace that promotes psychological safety, a sense of belonging and a culture of advocacy.  

“We know strong connections are an indicator of inclusion – a recent ADRI study determined employees who feel strongly connected are five times less likely to be experiencing discrimination at work,” said Heather Haslam, Vice President of Marketing at ADP. “It is crucial to acknowledge that psychological safety plays a role in building strong connections. Leaders are responsible for creating psychologically safe spaces that build strong connections, create more inclusive environments and better position opportunities to enhance employee engagement, collaboration and creativity.”  

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