Perrine Farque, Keynote Speaker, Author and Founder of Inspired Human | Inclusion and Psychological safety
Perrine Farque is a multi award-winning diversity expert and internationally recognised keynote speaker who was nominated in the Top 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech.
Perrine is passionate about building diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces to drive employee engagement, retention, productivity, profitability, innovation and growth.
Perrine’s book “Inclusion: the ultimate secret to an organization’s success” helps managers and HR professionals create inclusive and engaged workplaces where employees feel happy and psychologically safe.
In this episode, we discuss psychological safety, what it is and how to make your workplace a psychologically safe place.
Perrine and Ian discussed:
– Perrine’s book
– The definition of Psychological safety
– Its impact on the workplace
– Top 4 tips for improving Psychological safety
References from the podcast
Amy Edmunson – Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2011/04/strategies-for-learning-from-failure
What is inspiring Perrine
Donald Miller: Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen
Carol Dweck Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential
How to contact Perrine
Welcome to the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast, the podcast for wellbeing professionals that looks at best practices in organisations that care about their people, and which keeps an eye on the growing number of suppliers in the wellbeing space.
The workplace wellbeing podcast is sponsored by fastPAYE a financial wellbeing solution that facilitates flexible salary advances. It also provides access to financial education, a benefits assessment calculator, and a host of other financial wellbeing tools. fastPAYE he is part of the work tech group that includes ShopWorks Workforce Solutions, and SolvedBy.Ai.
ShopWorks offers Scheduling and Time and Attendance tools that improve your workforce management processes. Whilst SolvedBy.Ai provides unique artificial intelligence products that deliver optimum staffing levels and improve employee retention.
Ian Hogg 00:57
Hi, and welcome to the workplace wellbeing Podcast. I’m Ian Hogg, Chairman of fastPAYE, and today I’m very pleased to be joined by the author Perrine Farque, a multi-award-winning diversity expert and internationally recognised keynote speaker, who was nominated in the top 50 most influential women in UK Tech Perine is passionate about building diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces to drive employee engagement, retention, productivity, profitability, innovation and growth. Perrine believes that in the recent shift hybrid work, employees are feeling more isolated, disconnected and disengaged than ever before. And that this has led managers and HR professionals to look for new ways to help employees keep engaged and happy in a hybrid work environment. careens book inclusion the ultimate secret to an organization’s success addresses these issues and helps managers and HR professionals create inclusive and engaged workplaces where employees feel happy and psychologically safe. On today’s episode, I want to discuss psychological safety, what it is and how to make your workplace a psychologically safe place.
Perrine Farque 02:10
Hi, Ian, what an introduction. Thank you.
Ian Hogg 02:13
It’s a no, you’re welcome. This is great to have you on. As always, you know, I always start with getting people to give us give an introduction to themselves and tell the listeners a bit about their background and expand on some of your experiences.
Perrine Farque 02:29
Yes, of course. Thanks for having me again. Yeah, like you said very well. My name is Perrine Farque. I am a keynote speaker. I’m also an author. And I’m also the founder of Inspired Human is an entity I’ve worked in corporate, the corporate world for 10 plus years now in the technology space in a software technology space. And across all these years of working in technology, as a woman in a very male-dominated environment, I’ve experienced some experiences where I didn’t feel included sometimes, or I couldn’t see people who look like me succeeding in their field at the top etc. And so that’s what made me want to help I really want to help and I really want to help professionals who deserve to work in a workplace that’s inclusive and who deserve to get to come to work every day and be surrounded by people who are engaged and happy to be here and respectful of each other. So, so since then, I’ve made it my mission to help essentially leaders become inclusive leaders. They always wanted to become and create inclusive workplaces. And they do that through workshops with Inspired Human. So keynote speaking. So that’s my background in a nutshell.
Ian Hogg 03:46
Okay, excellent. And so, tell us a little bit about your book. Why’d you written it? And what’s unique?
Perrine Farque 03:52
Yeah, it was my book. Inclusion was the way I say it, it was a natural evolution. For me, from all the writing I’d been doing ever since I started my business. I’ve always been writing a lot. You know, I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts, I’ve been writing a lot of articles, contributions, you know, interviews and, and I often get asked by journalists or, or content writers to contribute to their blog or their website. So I had been doing so much writing that I felt that I had reached a point where I had so much I literally had so much content, I thought, you know what maybe could be helpful to someone if I put that together in one book, as opposed to so many different places. So that’s how I came to write this book. But also, through all my workshops that I was giving. I always got out of appetites from the participants who wanted to become better leaders wanted to become more inclusive leaders wanted to really learn how to become the better version of themselves and they wanted more. So that’s why I put it together. So I think your question was, who is this for? So it’s four hours in For any professional who want to become the inclusive leader they were born to be because I believe, by the way, leader doesn’t need to be a job title doesn’t need to be you know, a C-suite executive leader can be anyone who desires to who has the desire to make a difference, a positive difference through their behaviour, inaction. So you know, if even if you’re an individual contributor, or even an intern, you can be a leader by leading by example. So any professional who has a desire to become that inclusive leader, that great leader that perhaps they wish they had, or perhaps they know they can become so people who wants to make a difference and create that inclusive workplace where people are engaged and happy and healthy and productive, and so forth.
Ian Hogg 05:44
Yeah, now, I get it on the leadership line, we have a sign in the worksite group, which owns fast pay, is we should have leaders at every level. Okay, so the leader doesn’t have to be the job title. If you’ve got a leader, you know, several leaders in the team, then the whole business will go forward, you know, and problems get solved. Yeah, yeah. Okay. So when we’re talking earlier, you talked about psychological safety being one of the sort of key issues facing employers and workplace well being, do you think it’s the most important issue?
Perrine Farque 06:23
Well, in my view, it’s certainly one of the top ones. And I’ll tell you why even one of the surveys from HR zone from 2020, and found that for 50%, of HR professionals, their number one priority in back then in December 2020, which was less than two years ago was, guess what? psychological safety. And you know, psychological safety is the ID, whereby everyone in your team feels able to contribute, even to take risks in the notice that they will not be punished for doing so. And they might even make mistake, they might say the wrong thing, but they know they will not be punished for taking risks or or taking initiatives. And so if you think about it, you know, psychological safety in the workplace, which essentially trust essentially, that fundamental layer of trust is really the kind of the basic the fundamental that you need to have, if you want to create teams that work well together. That’s it. Anything else is is superfluous, in my opinion, anything else is not necessary. Once you have that basic layer of trust within your team, then that’s where the magic happens. So, so that’s no surprise that that survey from the HR zone back in 2020 found that the, you know, HR professionals number one priority was exactly that. psychological safety.
Ian Hogg 07:50
Okay. I suppose that you know, a phrase that’s often used is, is a no-blame culture, you know, so presumably, that’s one of the contributory if we wanted to build psychological safety, and no blame culture would, that’s pretty much what you’re describing really, wasn’t it?
Perrine Farque 08:07
Yes, yes. And you’re right, Ian. And another way to look at it is the definition by this Harvard Business School professor quite famous called Amy Edmondson and if you’ve heard of Amy Edmondson, but she’s kind of the expert in the field of psychological safety. And so her definition is great. She says psychological safety is a team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves. So again, I’ll repeat, because I think it’s such a great definition. psychological safety is a team climate characterised by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves. And I think that definition, if you think about it, is really the basic kind of the number one, you know, fundamental break that you need to have in your team in your organisation to create everything else.
Ian Hogg 09:04
And I think that’s a great definition. Thank thanks for sharing that, Pauline. What, you know, so people have identified this is a sort of a number one priority in terms of well being, what do you think the sort of the flip side of that what’s the impact on companies that don’t have psychological safety? What do you think they what, what are the downsides? What happens to those companies?
Perrine Farque 09:28
Yeah, I think that the stakes are very high. You know, if you don’t have psychological safety in your team, then what do you have? You have like you said, people don’t trust each other. Like people who don’t trust each other. What do they do when they don’t share knowledge? What else do they do? They don’t share information. What else do they do? Well, they don’t collaborate really well because they don’t think that they will be safe if they share informations. So then you have issues around lack of information or miscommunication or lack of collaboration, which of course leads to a big issues around productivity. But if you think about it, even the customers are gonna feel it right imagine you’re the customer and you’re on the phone with someone who feel that they don’t have any psychological safety. So, the customer is going to feel that there is that kind of behaviour, you know, the, the tone of voice is very can almost maybe rude or almost maybe short tempered, you know, is that you can feel that kind of anxiety of the Imagine if you if you work in an environment where there is no trust, basically, you live in a constant, basically state of fear and anxiety, which then people around you can feel because people feel the fear, right. So if someone is on the line with the customer, and they feel that kind of stress and anxiety, and the customers are going to feel that you’re going to have poor customer service. And that leads to bad customer reviews and bad reputation online. And we all know that these days bad Online Reputation is, is terrible, because it’s amplified by social media. So you know, from bad reputation, to bad customer service to a lack of collaboration, lack of communication, for productivity, and even I mean, employee turnover, because employees in the long run are going to burn out. So they’re going to want to look for somewhere else to go, then you’re going to have employee turnover or sick days, you know, people think out of sick days and upset, upset days and being really high. So those are really serious issues for our business. So that’s what a workplace with a lack of psychological safety is gonna look like?
Ian Hogg 11:34
Yeah, I mean, if you could, there’s a couple of good points. Now one of them on the on the sort of customer service people is I’m sure we’ve all had calls where the person’s does, you know, is decisive, makes a decision to make, they make a decision to the benefit of the customer. And they’re clear and the situation gets resolved. And then you get the opposite, where you’ve, you’re speaking to somebody and they don’t feel brave enough, so they give you some sort of standard response, it doesn’t solve your problem, you know, because they don’t feel empowered to solve it. So they just pass it along to the next person and you feel frustrated.
Perrine Farque 12:10
I think, if I think about your listeners, I’m sure everybody who’s listening right now they’ve been in a situation where they were dealing with an operator, maybe on the phone, or maybe on a, in a store, and they’re trying to deal with an issue regarding maybe poor service or for for product, and I’m sure they all dealt with someone who was maybe quite rude to them, or a little bit kind of kind of short, short tempered, and, you know, surely that person was their behaviour was a reflection of the kind of culture of the organisation to an extent, you know, often the, the way that customer representatives behave is often a representation of the culture of the organisation. So if there’s a culture of lack of trust, and, and lack of mutual respect, that’s gonna have a direct impact on the customer. And I’m sure likewise, your listeners must have had the opposite experience where maybe they were dealing with a customer representative who was just so helpful, and so nice and so happy, and just wanted to go above and beyond to help. And that, in itself was a direct representation of the type of culture. And I just want a last point on that note, I want to share because it’s an example of how that’s very fresh in my mind. Because I’m writing my second book right now. And I was writing this morning and I was doing some research and I came across this. I don’t know if you know, you know, Starbucks, I mean, I’m a big fan of Starbucks, I love Starbucks, you know, the coffee that run everything. I was doing some research and you know, the customer service you get a Starbucks is incredible. And I know you love it or hate it. But when you step into Starbucks, you’re treated like like a king, you know, I’m ready smiling. And the music is nice atmosphere, nice, ask you for your name, if you want anything special in your coffee, etc. And it goes back to the culture of the organisation, the CEO, I mean, the ex CEO, Howard Schultz, who I think now he’s left but in his time, he he built that incredible culture around, you know, customer service and trust, and that you can see that in any single Starbucks coffee you go to, so it’s just an example to share, like the, the extent of the culture of the organisation that you can actually feel in your daily kind of, you know, interactions with the customer representatives. And Starbucks is a great example of an amazing culture, company culture.
Ian Hogg 14:30
Yeah, I mean, both, you know, shoutbox and fastpay have got Starbucks franchisees that are customers of ours, so, yeah, one I love the coffee, but to actually, you know, I can see in action that the franchisees we deal with, you know, they’re positive, upbeat people, they, you know, I can see that they have got that sort of that sort of culture in there, you know, so, you know, they make good decisions as a result as a result of it. I think you Going back to the sort of downsides, again, you, as well as been on the sort of customer facing side of it, it sounds to me like you, it sounded to me, like you were describing sort of a nature of a culture where there’s a lot of politics in an organisation, not sharing information, you know, protecting your own, your own siloed sort of workplace against another department, that sort of stuff. And again, that must, I’ve seen those organisations, they’re the decision makings poor, you know, the people don’t show enough information to make a decision, and that those companies, again, it’s, they can’t possibly get the same growth as somebody where they’re more open and more, more inclusive.
Perrine Farque 15:44
And the incredible thing about that is that, you know, when you’re reading the news about a big company going bankrupt, for example, like a big large enterprise going bankrupt or struggling, or, you know, on the brink of bankruptcy, you know, often the kind of Wall Street analyse on banks and eyes will be that it’s due to issues with, maybe they’ll talk about things like, you know, cash flow issues, or market reasons, or shareholders reasons. But really, the 99%, I will say, actually, I’d say 100% of the time is due to basically the leaders culture. One is due to the leaders, psychology, the leader, cultures and values in psychology are positive, optimistic, focusing on what’s possible, and then a good outcome, etc, that’s going to have a cascade effect to the senior leadership team, and then to the team leaders, and then to the people. And then that’s going to have an impact on how people treat customer, which then is going to have an impact on sales and revenue, etc. But likewise, if you have issues at the top, if you had people who operate in a mode, that’s very kind of anxiety based or fear-based, or you know, lack of trust base, then that’s going to have a knock-on effect on the senior leadership team, which then is going to have a knock-on effect on the team leadership, which is gonna have a knock-on effect on employees and customers, etc. So, in my opinion, when you look at the success of a business or lack of success of a business, it’s always done to the culture, the values and the people at the top, who are the role models, which we go back to that idea of the trust in psychological safety?
Ian Hogg 17:27
Yeah, we, we have another saying, you know, my, my two founders, and I is, it’s always our fault. You know, that’s recognition. It’s nobody else’s fault. If it goes wrong, it has to have started with something we did wrong in the first place. Let’s have a look in the mirror first and see if we can solve that. And then we can work out myself the rest of them.
Perrine Farque 17:49
Absolutely. full ownership in full accountability. Absolutely. Yes.
Ian Hogg 17:52
Okay. You might not know the answer to this, but I just wondered if there’s been any, any studies or any research into the, you know, into a link between psychological safety and the bottom line, you sort of alluded to it just now. But I just wondered if there’s any research to support it.
Perrine Farque 18:10
There are a couple of stats that are maybe perhaps not directly related, but I think somehow. So first and foremost, also a couple of stats with your research that I think are related to what we’re talking about. So some studies, so when that will come to no surprise to you, by the way, that this year 2021 74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard. So what does that mean? That remote work is going to become the new normal or maybe hybrid work hybrid work remote does I mean, the new normal, we all know that employees in remote work at hybrid work, feel more isolated and disconnected. So they’re when employees are more disconnected in remote work, there is more more risk of isolation. And perhaps it’s harder to build trust and psychology, psychological safety in geographically distributed environments. So that’s one thing to be aware of. Another study by buffer showed that 90% of remote workers report loneliness or isolation as their biggest challenge. So again, as we move towards the kind of situation of remote work, or maybe at least hybrid work, we know that employee loneliness or isolation or disconnection is going to become a challenge. But also we know that that idea of isolation and disengagement is going to lead to things like issues around around trust, which was then you know, all the things we talked about lack of trust, you know, lack of communication, lack of collaboration, lack of engagement, etc. So, you know, as as of right now, I don’t have a direct kind of study to share with you or research to share with you with the kind of direct correlation between psychological safety and the negative impact on the bottom line, but we know that We know we know that teams that are with a strong feeling of inclusion engagement, have better innovation performance results, like studies by Harvard business reviews, studied by Basile Boston Consulting Group, they all show the direct correlation between employee engagement. And the bottom line. More innovation, I think McKenzie say was 19% increased performance due to better innovation when teams are more engaged and included. And see if we know that teams that are more disengaged and isolated, have issues around Inclusion and Engagement, we know that that’s going to have a negative impact on the on basically innovation and performance from innovation. So I guess the best thing I can share with you right now is the kind of the opposite study is a study by McKinsey that demonstrated teams that are, you know, including engage in other words that are cycled, whether that’s a psychological safety through inclusion, they perform 19% They haven’t they provide 19% better performance, and I’m talking revenue from innovation. So I guess we can look at it in a way that’s the opposite being that if there is no inclusion in team, again, no inclusion, no psychological safety, you’re not gonna get that, you know, performance in revenue from innovation. Does that make sense?
Ian Hogg 21:24
Yeah, no, I think it’s great answer. Now, I’ll try and find that study and put it put a link to it in the podcast notes. So, you know, I think we’re, as a sort of founder of us, you know, scale up, I suppose we are now, you know, I can sort of see as we’re discussing this, how I could influence and improve psychological safety of our organisation, because it’s quite small, you know, but imagine if I was a manager, middle manager in a large organisation where I felt that this was an issue, you know, what sort of how can I start to improve it? What what, what can we do to, to make this problem go away in organisations that maybe do have too much politics and not enough safety?
Perrine Farque 22:07
I love to share practical tips, because I know our listeners are practical people, they want to leave this podcast episode with practical tips. So grab your pen and paper because they do have some practical tips to share with you. So the number one, the number one tip, I want to share it to anyone who wants to create more psychological safety is to build a culture of trust. I know it sounds simple, but you know, simple is often the answer. So build a culture of trust. What does that mean? So we want to build trust by you know, reframing, reframing how we operate our messaging, or narratives. So let’s say you’re a manager or your team leader in instead of rushing to fix a problem, you know, let your people think through the challenges themselves and come up with their own solutions. You know, I think we all have a tendency to want to be kind of the helicopter leader or, you know, we want to, we want to we know the solution, we know the answer, we want to help but that just let your team let your team come up with their own solution. It might seem counterintuitive at first. But if you’re intentional about remaining silent and let your people solve the challenge, you’re going to build trust, because it allows others to feel valued. Right. So that’s one thing that’s very important. Also, you want to you don’t want to, you know, you want to say when you don’t know when you don’t know the answer to something to say it. Oftentimes, when I work with leaders, leaders have kind of put a lot of pressure on themselves to say that they have all the answers all the time. But we all know that’s not true. Nobody has all the answers all the time. So just say it Well, listen, I don’t know, let me come back to you on that one. I don’t know the answer. I need to do some research. So setting the tone and it’s okay not to know everything is a great way to change that false assumption that people need to know everything all the time. And also celebrate when someone says they don’t know. I mean, obviously it doesn’t need need to be linked to a lack of competency don’t want someone to say they don’t know all the time. That’s, you know, that’s just another issue altogether. When someone occasionally is when someone accuses you say they don’t know, you know, say well, you know what, thank you, thanks for saying you don’t know, because the whole team morale is good. I can I’m gonna Wow, that’s okay. You know, it’s okay not to know the all the answer. So that’s my number one point, you know, build a culture of trust. The second thing you can do to create a great psychological safety in your team is to promote healthy conflict. I know that you know, the word conflicts, especially in the workplace, makes everybody feel a little bit, you know, oh, well, I really want to talk about conflict at work, it doesn’t sound great doesn’t work, conflict, at work. But having conflict is a natural process of being together as humans, you know, and being together, you know, in your family, you know, we all have conflict. That’s, you know, that’s just the human nature. But it’s just asking questions in a way that others feel that you respect them, even if you might have different opinions,
Perrine Farque 24:57
or asking questions with the intention to do discuss the idea rather than the person. So often people feel when there’s a conflict, you know that you are against them as a person, but actually reframe the discussion to say that you have a different stance regarding their idea, not regarding them as a person, I think it’s a great way to promote healthy conflict. So and also think about your colleague, as a collaborator and not as an adversary, not as an enemy. So next time you get into a meeting with someone who maybe historically you’ve disagreed with, or you’re have a very different opinion regarding a project, think of them as as a collaborator, how you two can come up with a joint solution to the problem together. So promoting healthy conflict and replacing blame with curiosity. Right? So asking questions is a great way to build psychological safety. I also want to share the third point with you, Ian, is to allow mistakes, I talked about it a little bit earlier. But, you know, set the tone that mistakes are okay. And actually, I want to share another another study that found that is the study by Harvard, Harvard Business School professor, again, Amy Edmondson. And she found that the team that were making the most mistakes were actually the most successful, as opposed to team that were not making mistakes. And the reason for that is because they created an environment in which people felt comfortable taking risks, and fostering innovation in the workplace, which then obviously leads to, you know, productivity and results. So reframe mistakes as a good thing. Obviously, again, you know, in, you know, in, in a balanced way, you don’t want to everything that constantly make so many mistakes. But you know, the occasional mistake is is a great thing, because it shows that your team has initiative, and they take risks. So that’s the third point I want to make. And then I want to share one final tip on how to create psychological safety, which is to measure feedback. So you know, you really want to measure feedback from your team. So what does that mean? You can send your team a short pulse survey, like literally three questions like, what worked? And what didn’t work in my presentation? Or how did it feel to hear me saying that? Or how could I have presented better, or just have a one to one like, in your one to one with your team asked them? Can you share feedback on me on my work? Like, what went well, what could I have done better? What should I do better next time. So again, if you ask for feedback, if you proactively ask for feedback on yourself, then you’re the first one to say that it is the right thing to ask for feedback. And you make people feel safe to give to give you feedback, and then they will in turn want to there’ll be more receptive to your feedback. So in a nutshell, just to recap what I said, I said, number one, build a culture of trust. Number two, promote healthy conflict. Number three, allow mistakes. And number four, measure feedback. Those are some steps I always share when I talk about psychological safety at work.
Ian Hogg 28:08
Now, there are four excellent tips Perine, if the listeners want to know more, I presume it’s all in your book as it is, in my book, I look at the wall.
Perrine Farque 28:16
They can also go on my website inspired hyphen, amended, calm, I have a blog, and I write a lot, like I said earlier, so I have a whole blog post around psychological safety at work. Yes,
Ian Hogg 28:29
I’ll definitely put links to both the book and the website. And I’ll try and find that out on those blog articles. And we’ll put a link to that into the podcast notes as well. And talking of books, the question I asked everyone to as we come to the end of the podcast, what is given you most inspiration at the moment? Which book or media and why?
Perrine Farque 28:52
Yeah, um, well, I want to share two books with you because right now I’m reading a book that I am loving actually, it’s a really good book. And I know your podcast is titled workplace well being but so talking about workplace well being. One is called Story brand. So it’s story brand story brand and onward by Donald Miller. And, and I mean, he talks about marketing, but hear me out. He talks a lot about how you to clarify your message, even as a company, because if you clarify your message, really crystal clear, if you think about it, very few companies do it really well in clarifying their message to a point that is so crystal clear that a kid could understand what they do. If you do that, you’re also going to clarify your employer brand and if you clarify your employer brand, you’re going to attract talent and retain talent and create a great workplace. So story brand by Donald Miller and another one another one I want to share is called mindsets you might have heard about it’s quite a famous one is called Mindset by a very, very famous author and TED speaker and researcher. She’s called Carol Dweck. And it’s an amazing book, it talks about the fact that talent is not innate, but it’s something we can grow. And it took us about the growth mindset. I think she’s the person who coined the term growth mindset, which is the idea that you can always learn anything you want. And as we talk about being an inclusive leader and create a workplace, where there’s lots of well being, you know, lots of kind of well being focus workplace, you need as a leader, you need to be constantly learning and have a growth mindset. So I really recommend Mindset by Carol Dweck, Lesson three to great recommendations.
Ian Hogg 30:37
Again, we’ll put those links in into the podcast notes. Perine it’s been a pleasure to have you on and, you know, good luck with your new book. When’s it gonna come out?
Perrine Farque 30:50
Okay, well, the new book is definitely coming out next year, which is 2022. I can’t guarantee the amount I kind of want to say November 2022, it could be before or after, but 2022 At some point, last quarter of 2022
Ian Hogg 31:05
good positive attitude. We’re gonna get it written and get it out the door. I’m listening to as you’re having you on some good insights there. I love the four tips to a more psychologically safe workplace, you know, well, if you don’t mind, I’ll publish those in the notes as well. The readers can look those up and then follow the links to the all the support articles. Thank you very much.