Introduction to DCI’s Blog Series: Psychological Safety and Advancing Workforce Equity

By: Tyler Wurtz and Marcelle Clavette

This is part 1 of our 8-part blog series, Psychological Safety and Advancing Workforce Equity

Employers are increasingly taking a holistic approach in studying workforce equity, with a goal of identifying opportunities to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in organizational culture. One method to understand the culture is to undergo an equity review. This review consists of a qualitative and quantitative analysis of policies, programs and practices to identify systemic barriers employees may be facing in the workplace.  

Given the importance of having open and transparent communication to learn about employee experiences and perceptions, psychological safety of an employee is a critical component to consider when undergoing an equity review. While psychological safety can be defined differently for every employee, the foundations are trust, integrity and respect within an organization (Page et al., 2019). Without these cornerstones, employees may be unwilling to speak up about toxic workplace behaviors. 

However, employees of different demographic backgrounds can feel varying levels of psychological safety (Derickson et al., 2015). Thus, it is important to consider leaderships role in promoting psychological safety. Ensuring psychological safety within company culture can be challenging, but emphasis should be placed on leadership abilities and organizational commitments (Wilson, 2021). Furthermore, employees who feel comfortable sharing challenges they experience in the workforce will help drive an organization to systematic change (Tiwari & Lenka, 2016). 

Each topic in DCI's blog series, Psychological Safety and Advancing Workforce Equity, will highlight a critical employee experience and the importance of psychological safety in enhancing workforce equity. Organizations can use this information as an opportunity to reflect deeper into their employee experiences to sustain or advance their DEIA foothold. Look for additional blog releases on the following topics. 

  • February 14, 2023: Balancing Social Identity Cues and Impression Management: A Risk-Benefit Analysis for Workplace Self-ID 
  • February 28, 2023: Establishing Inclusive Environments for Stigmatized Groups to Self-ID  
  • March 14, 2023: Making the Case for Organizational Justice   
  • March 28, 2023: Fusing DEIA into Candidate Experience 
  • April 11, 2023: Enhancing Employee Engagement through DEIA Efforts  
  • April 25, 2023: Maintaining DEIA Progress when Facing a Reduction in Force   
  • May 9, 2023: Mitigating Risk of Social Responsibility Initiatives  


Derickson, R., Fishman, J., Osatuke, K., Teclaw, R., & Ramsel, D. (2015). Psychological safety and error reporting within Veterans Health Administration Hospitals. Journal of Patient Safety, 11(1), 60–66.  

Page, L., Boysen, S., & Arya, T. (2019). Creating a Culture that Thrives: Fostering Respect, Trust, and Psychological Safety in the Workplace. Organization Development Review, 51(1), 28–35. 

Tiwari, B., & Lenka, U. (2016). Building psychological safety for employee engagement in post-recession. Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, 30(1), 19–22.  

Wilson, D. L. (2022). Psychological safety in the workplace: A quantitative evaluation of toxic leadership and employee factors within a VHA setting. In Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 83(4B), 1-89. 

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