Globally, more than half (52%) of employees have encountered workplace bullying and felt psychologically unsafe at work, according to research by learning organisation City and Guilds Group.
The study, drawn from an online survey of 1,000 leaders, managers and employees by Censuswide in October 2018, also revealed that only one in 10 organisations (10%) proactively take steps to support the mental staff of health.
As many as 94% of respondents told the survey they consider psychological safety to be important, but only 10% of organisations are seen to treat it as a priority.
When it comes to accountability, 43% of senior managers said they expect HR to deal with the psychological safety of employees at work, while 56% of employees believe line managers and senior management should take the lead.
John Yates, managing director of corporate learning at City and Guilds Group, said: “Businesses clearly recognise the importance of ensuring psychological safety for employees, but a lack of understanding about who is responsible is leading to inaction.
“Without defining what psychological safety means to their business and who is accountable to address any risks and issues, organisations will struggle to achieve a safe environment for their employees and ultimately risk harm to the wellbeing of their workforce, productivity and their bottom line.”
One in five (20%) organisations told the survey they would only take action once a psychological safety issue arises, while 22% of senior managers said they would only be motivated to take action if a high-profile press incident occurred.
The survey also found that 63% of business leaders believe it is more difficult to manage the psychological safety of employees due to social media.
Yates said: “While it might seem that social media hovers like a dark cloud in the workplace, advancements in technology are only going to evolve and avoiding issues like these will no doubt create problems further down the line.”