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Inclusive Culture - Safe Spaces At Work

Throughout my 30 years of experience in the corporate world, I have encountered only one company that intentionally created safe spaces at work to cultivate an inclusive culture and help employees in times of crisis. These safe spaces proved to be beneficial not only for the employees but also for the organization itself.

Safe Space At Work

A reality in which crisis can occur any minute requires businesses to think outside of the box when they venture to find solutions that will help their employees face and deal with crises and keep up with the business goals. Employers that choose the "Don't wake up the monster" approach are risking a bigger monster to deal with.

So, what is a "safe space" at work?

The term "safe space" at work refers to places intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations in the workplace. Openness and pluralism are the keywords of these spaces, and the goal is vivid - to increase the sense of security and belonging of the employees, which in time is reflected in their creativity and engagement at work.

How to create and manage safe spaces at work?

Over the years I have seen a few companies implement various safe spaces for their employees, and here are some tips and ideas on how to do it correctly:

Tip1: Start with a kickoff

Start with a KICK-OFF:

Creating a safe space should be something that is backed up by senior management. So besides the communication to the employees, create a special symbolic event that marks the beginning of the space activity, and welcomes its new members.

Tip2: Define the scope of the space

Define the SCOPE of the safe space:

Every safe space should have borderlines to keep it safe. Define what kind of discussion is welcomed in the space and what kind is prohibited. You should use the organization's current policy as a baseline to set this scope. and add whatever you think is required.

Tip3: Encourage employees to lead the safe space

Encourage employees to LEAD the safe space:

The safe space is a great opportunity to cultivate the leadership skills of your employees. Invite them to lead the group's safe space, and until then use professional help to build the initial engagement and momentum.

Safe spaces are required especially in crisis times as they provide the employees the option to share their opinions in a controlled and structured area, and hence clear any distractions to their daily tasks. Keep in mind that it is suggested to use professional assistance when creating these safe spaces.

Coach Perry

Corporate Coach for Diversity and Inclusion

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