The agricultural industry is a vital part of the global economy, but it can also be a challenging and demanding environment. Long hours, physically demanding work, and unpredictable weather can all contribute to stress and anxiety for farmers and other agricultural employees.

In this challenging environment, it’s more important than ever for agricultural workplaces to be psychologically safe. Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. This means that team members feel comfortable being themselves, sharing their ideas, and taking risks without fear of being judged, ridiculed, or punished.

A psychologically safe workplace has a number of benefits for both employees and employers. For employees, it can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced stress, and improved mental health. For employers, it can lead to increased productivity, better decision-making, and a more innovative workforce.

A recent Deloitte Survey found that 80% of respondents indicated their engagement may be inhibited if they don’t trust those who are present, while three-quarters suggested they might not participate if they don’t believe it’s okay to be themselves, or they don’t feel a sense of belonging or commitment to the group.

More than half of the respondents indicated they may be discouraged if they aren’t comfortable with the others present or think what they have to say might make others feel they don’t fit in with the group.

There are a number of things that can be done to create a psychologically safe workplace in the agriculture sector. These include:

  • Encouraging open communication so employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns without fear of being ridiculed or punished.
  • Providing constructive feedback in a way that is helpful and not critical or demeaning.
  • Celebrating successes when employees achieve something which will help them feel valued and appreciated.
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion so employees feel like they belong and are valued, regardless of their background or beliefs.
  • Addressing bullying and harassment and ensuring that employees understand it will not be tolerated in the workplace. If an employee is being bullied or harassed, they should also feel comfortable reporting it to a manager or supervisor.

By clearly establishing company values, promoting open dialogue, championing mistakes as learning opportunities, and actively listening to employee concerns, organisations within the ag sector can create a culture of respect and inclusivity.

Creating a psychologically safe workplace takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. Employees thrive in psychologically safe zones, resulting in higher engagement, enhanced company reputation and a harmonious workspace.