Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

A Comparative Look at Empowerment of Employees and Workplace Psychological Safety: Interviews with Employees in Healthcare, Automobile, and Finance Industries

The three employees that were interviewed are from the healthcare industry, the finance industry, and the automobile industry. Alisonia who is a registered nurse is a best friend who has been a nurse for the last two years since her graduation. She works in a large healthcare organization with several hospitals across the state. Marx is my maternal uncle and has been an automobile salesperson for the last four years. Lastly, Marion is a family friend who is a teller at a local bank and has been at the job in the same position for the past three years. All the three interviews were conducted separately (but in-person) with each of the three participants Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay.

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The concept of employee empowerment, by definition, means that every employee in the organization is allowed to actively contribute to the organization’s processes and procedures. Literally speaking, the employee is given the power to suggest how things should be done, how improvements can be made to processes, and what measures can be taken to curtail problems within the organization. It also means that the employee is given the freedom to point out what is not right within the organization without fear of victimisation and/ or retribution (Lee et al., 2018; Asiri et al., 2016; Choi et al., 2016; Laschinger et al., 2013) Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay. Employee engagement, on the other hand, is closely related to employee empowerment. It means that the leadership of the organization in which employees are empowered frequently seeks the input of the same employees when important decisions about procedures and processes are to be made. Engaging employees means that their suggestions about important issues within the organization are taken into account. They are made to feel that their views are important and that they themselves are important in the realisation of the goals of the organization.

A Summary of the Views and Perceptions of the Interviewees

Alisonia is a bedside registered nurse in the surgical unit of one of the chain of hospitals in the state. Having worked for two years in the same organization, she had a clear perspective of the state of employee empowerment and engagement within that healthcare organization. She clearly understood what empowerment meant and stated that she didn’t feel sufficiently empowered at her place of work. For instance, she felt that she lacked autonomy in the work that she does as a professional nurse. In her hospital, she feels that the work of the nurse manager seems to be to monitor the nurses under her to find out if they have made any mistake in the course of their work. This makes her tense and stressed every time the nurse manager is around her Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay. She would have preferred to be left to do her duties without undue supervision because, as she states herself, she is a well-trained and qualified nurse. For instance, when doing a drug round, the nurse manager has the habit of exercising direct supervision by being physically behind her. She would have preferred that the manager be doing indirect supervision by letting them do the task and later report their result/ progress. Alisonia also felt that she is not sufficiently engaged at her work place. They are never asked what they think before major decisions affecting them as nurses are made. The management adopts a top-down approach to all issues. Because of this, she says that she may never even report a problem she has noticed at the workplace. This is because she will either be blamed for the problem or ignored altogether (A.N. Morales, personal communication, March 15, 2020).

Marion has been a bank teller for the past three years. She says that her work is pretty much routine from day to day. Even though she has her immediate superior at the workplace, she says that it is not common to find him following her around. She feels that for the three years she has worked at the bank, she has been empowered to make decisions on her own and only report to her supervisor if she is not sure of what to do. She therefore feels quite empowered in her job. Furthermore, she states that there are weekly meetings in which the section manager sits down with them and they discuss how the past week has been. During these meetings, everyone of the employees is free to contribute and their views are included in the minutes of the meeting. On countless occasions, she has made suggestions that have ended up being implemented for the betterment of the work environment. Because of this, her opinion and feeling is that the management of the bank adequately engages its employees and takes their feelings and views seriously (M.A. Jeanice, personal communication, March 16, 2020)Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay.

Marx is my maternal uncle. Since he graduated from college, he has been working as a salesperson for the Ford Motor Corporation. This is his fourth year in the job and he is greatly satisfied with his job. Of the three interviewees, he is the one who appeared to feel the most empowered in his workplace. He stated that in his work, the only thing that he discusses with his immediate superior are the targets that he needs to achieve within a given period of time. After that, he has the autonomy to do his work as he deems fit. In doing so, also, he is provided with all the resources that he needs for his work. For him, he has more say in how he does his work as the company is only interested in results and the meeting of objectives. This, according to him, is testament enough that he is empowered in his work. Concerning employee engagement, Marx says that this has always gone hand in hand with the empowerment. In every sales meeting, it is what he has to say that is important as the managers realise that he is the one that talks directly with the customers and knows what they want. In all, he feels he is empowered, has the autonomy, and is engaged as much as he would wish for (M.J. Nelson, personal communication, March 18, 2020) Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

Industry Comparison of Employee Empowerment and Engagement

From the interviews, it is clear that employee empowerment and engagement within the healthcare industry is not exactly the same as that in other industries. In my opinion, this could be due to the difference in the nature of work that employees in these industries do. In healthcare, many organizations tend to prefer close supervision and monitoring of employees such as nurses because even small mistakes can be costly (malpractice litigation and vicarious liability). However, this is not to say that this is good practice. It has been shown that empowered employees are highly motivated and are more productive (Lee et al., 2018) Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay. Not all healthcare industry organizations, however, give limited empowerment and engagement to their employees. That said, even those that have empowered their employees well cannot reach the levels of empowerment and engagement seen in other industries. As stated, the reason is that the healthcare industry is sensitive and highly regulated professionally.

A Working Definition of Psychological Safety

The concept of psychological safety at the workplace is related to the state of mind of the employee when they are at their workplace. It is how the employee feels as they carry out their day-to-day duties. For instance, does the employee feel free when they are carrying out their duties? Do they fear what might happen to them in the event that they made a small mistake in the course of their duties? Are they free to report any mistakes they may make without any fear of victimisation? These are the kinds of questions that define psychological safety in the workplace. An employee who cannot answer these questions favorably does not experience psychological safety at their workplace. This may affect their morale and workplace productivity (O’Donovan et al., 2019).

Going by Alisonia’s account in the interview; she does not have psychological safety in the hospital in which she works. She is afraid of the nurse manager who seems to be exercising authoritarian leadership style. A lack of psychological safety is therefore evident in her workplace. Marion the bank teller has a high degree of psychological safety in her workplace. She feels valued and secure. Her opinion counts and she is not afraid of her supervisors and managers like Alisonia. Lastly, Marx has demonstrated that his workplace gives him the highest degree of psychological safety. He is extremely autonomous and decides how he does his work, as long as he meets the company’s sales projections. Compared to the other two, a possible reason for Marx’s high degree of psychological safety could be because his work does not involve staying in one location at the company. He moves around to where customers are and pitches for their car products outside the company’s premises. Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay.

Traditionally, psychological safety within healthcare organizations has not been as it should be. Authoritarian supervision and strict standard operating procedures have been the hallmark of professional work in healthcare, especially for nurses. The only health worker category that has been enjoying the greatest autonomy and psychological safety are the physicians. However, this is rapidly changing with the realisation that creating a conducive work environment motivates nurse employees and improves the quality of care given to patients. The manufacturing and financial industries enjoy a high degree of psychological safety. Only the hospitality industry is comparable to the healthcare industry as the waiters are analogous to the nurses in the healthcare industry. The tribulations waiters go through from customers and management are similar to the tribulations nurses go through from patients and nurse managers.

From the foregoing, it goes without saying that a high degree of psychological safety, employee empowerment, and employee engagement in healthcare is a positive thing. This is because the presence of these factors motivates health workers, making them feel energised to work and deliver the highest quality of care. High psychological safety, empowerment, and engagement of employees are therefore directly correlated with patient safety.

Leadership Strategies for Ensuring Psychological Safety, Empowerment, and Engagement

The two tried and tested leadership strategies that are known to create a conducive work environment for employees and hence psychological safety are transformational leadership and consultation (Choi et al., 2016). Transformational leadership motivates, guides, appreciates, and values employees. A good example, generally, is my current healthcare organization in which there is only transformational leadership and a high level of empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety.

References

Asiri, S.A., Rohrer, W.W., Al-Surimi, K., Da’ar, O.O., & Ahmed, A. (2016). The association of leadership styles and empowerment with nurses’ organizational commitment in an acute health care setting: A cross-sectional study. BMC Nursing, 15(38), 1–10. Doi:10.1186/s12912-016-0161-7 Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

Choi, S.L., Goh, C.F., Adam, M.B.H., & Tan, O.K. (2016). Transformational leadership, empowerment, and job satisfaction: The mediating role of employee empowerment. Human Resources for Health, 14(1), 73. Doi:10.1186/s12960-016-0171-2

Laschinger, H.K.S., Wong, C.A., & Grau, A.L. (2013). Authentic leadership, empowerment and burnout: A comparison in new graduates and experienced nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(3), 541–552. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01375.x

Lee, A., Willis, S., & Tian, A.W. (2018). When empowering employees works, and when it doesn’t. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 19 March 2020 from https://hbr.org/2018/03/when-empowering-employees-works-and-when-it-doesnt

O’Donovan, R., Ward, M., De Brún, A., & McAuliffe, E. (2019). Safety culture in health care teams: A narrative review of the literature. Journal of Nursing Management, 27(5), 871–883. Doi:10.1111/jonm.12740

Note: You will begin this Assignment in Week 3, and it will be due by Day 7 of Week 4. Plan your time accordingly.

How does healthcare compare with other fields in markers, such as employee empowerment and engagement? Investigating that question is one purpose of your Module 2 Assignment, for which you will interview three employees in different fields, with one individual in healthcare. You will also consider the theme of psychological safety, which you will explore in more detail in Week 4. Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As you begin your Assignment, reflect on your own experiences and perceptions of a typical work environment within a healthcare setting. As a nurse executive, you will have greater influence over how the nurses you lead function within that environment. Recall examples from the Learning Resources of benefits when nurses are empowered and engaged. Consider how you can use the information you gain through this Assignment to develop your leadership skills, with the goal of providing support that is constructively impactful for nurses, patients, and a healthcare organization.

To Prepare:

Choose and secure the agreement of three individuals you know well (i.e., family and friends) to be interviewed on the topics of employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety in the workplace. One person you interview must work in a healthcare setting.
Review the Learning Resources on employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety in the workplace. Consider definitions that clarify these concepts and which you can explain to your interview subjects in enlisting their participation and guiding responses.
Access and review the document Employee Interviews: Guidelines and Questions, located in the Learning Resources, for guidance on planning, conducting, analyzing, and comparing the interview responses.

Note: You are required to submit the signature of each person you interview to confirm the individual’s agreement to participate. Fill in Page 1 of the Employee Interviews: Guidelines and Questions document, print the page, and obtain the signatures. (There is a place for all three signatures on Page 1.) Scan and submit Page 1 as a separate Word file with your completed Assessment.
Conduct a brief (20–30 minutes) phone or in-person interview with each individual. Speak with each person separately so that you have three sets of independent views to compare. Questions to ask are provided in the Guidelines document. Note the questions are repeated in a section for each interviewee. Take notes in the document, or record the interviews with each person’s permission.
When you have completed all three interviews, review each individual’s experiences and sense of empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety at work. Compare and contrast the responses with the goal of arriving at clear conclusions on how the degree of employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety influences job performance, satisfaction, and morale. v
Compare the responses of the individual who works in healthcare and your own experiences in professional practice in healthcare to the responses of your interviewees working in other areas. Consider conclusions you can make about employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety in healthcare compared with other professions.
Consider quality care and safety issues in healthcare and the relationship among psychological safety, employee empowerment, and engagement as positive or negative factors.
Consider strategies nurse executives can apply to improve or enhance employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety within healthcare settings.
Assignment:

Based on your three interviews and drawing on current literature, and from the perspective of a nurse executive’s role in supporting employee job performance and satisfaction, write an analysis that addresses, in 4–5 pages, the following points:

Describe the three employees you interviewed, including their industries and job titles.
Explain your working definitions of “employee empowerment” and “employee engagement” that are the basis of the interviews. Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay
Summarize how the interviewees characterized the culture of employee empowerment and engagement within their organizations.
Analyze how employee empowerment and employee engagement within healthcare organizations compare with other industries.
Explain your working definition of “psychological safety” that is the basis of the interviews.
Summarize how the interviewees characterized the presence, absence, and/or degree of psychological safety within their organizations.
Analyze how psychological safety within healthcare compares with other industries.
Analyze how degree of psychological safety, employee empowerment, and engagement are positive or negative factors for quality care and safety issues within healthcare.
From the position of a nurse executive, explain at least two leadership strategies you would recommend for actions to improve or sustain psychological safety, employee empowerment, and engagement within healthcare organizations. Speak generally, or specifically, to your current healthcare organization or one where you have worked in the past.
Note: You began this Assignment in Week 3 and it will be due by Day 7 of Week 4. Plan your time accordingly.

As you wrap up your analysis of the three interviews you completed, draw on the information and perspectives gained through the Learning Resources and Discussion, this week, to assess psychological safety in each workplace. As a nurse executive, you will have new avenues for making a difference for staff and patients. With those opportunities in mind, consider how to apply the insights you gain regarding psychological safety in healthcare settings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

To Prepare:
Review Learning Resources that will guide your analysis of employee empowerment, engagement, and psychological safety.
Use the Guidelines & Questions document, from the Learning Resources, to help you in completing your Assignment, including providing the signature sheet to confirm your three interviews.
Resources
Learning Objectives
Students will:

Explain concepts of employee empowerment and psychological safety*
Analyze factors associated with high-performance teams*
Analyze impact of psychological safety and employee empowerment on team decision making and performance *
Explain leadership strategies to improve psychological safety and empowerment of employees in healthcare settings*

  • Objective is introduced this week and assessed in Week 4.

Learning Resources
Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)

Asiri, S. A., Rohrer, W. W., Al-Surimi, K., Da’ar, O. O., & Ahmed, A. (2016). The association of leadership styles and empowerment with nurses’ organizational commitment in an acute health care setting: A cross-sectional study. BMC Nursing, 15(38), 1–10. doi:10.1186/s12912-016-0161-7

Choi, S. L., Goh, C. F., Adam, M. B. H., & Tan, O. K. (2016). Transformational leadership, empowerment, and job satisfaction: The mediating role of employee empowerment. Human Resources for Health, 14(1), 73. doi:10.1186/s12960-016-0171-2

Laschinger, H. K. S., Wong, C. A., & Grau, A. L. (2013). Authentic leadership, empowerment and burnout: A comparison in new graduates and experienced nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 21(3), 541–552. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2834.2012.01375.x

Lee, A., Willis, S., & Tian, A. W. (2018, March). When empowering employees works, and when it doesn’t. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/03/when-empowering-employees-works-and-when-it-doesnt

O’Donovan, R., Ward, M., De Brún, A., & McAuliffe, E. (2019). Safety culture in health care teams: A narrative review of the literature. Journal of Nursing Management, 27(5), 871–883. doi:10.1111/jonm.12740

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). (2017). 2017 Employee job satisfaction and engagement: The doors of opportunity are open [Executive summary]. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/research-and-surveys/Documents/2017-Employee-Job-Satisfaction-and-Engagement-Executive-Summary.pdf Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

Document: Employee Interviews on Empowerment and Psychological Safety: Guidelines & Questions (Word document)

Required Media (click to expand/reduce)

benedictineCVDL. (2018, July 6). Creating psychological safety at work in a knowledge economy – Amy Edmondson, Harvard [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUo1QwVcCv0

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 3 minutes.

Fostering a Positive Workplace

This video addresses defining qualities of a positive work environment and the decisive role of nurse executives and other leaders in developing that environment. Pay particular attention to the discussion of employee engagement and its connection to job satisfaction—and how nurse executives can troubleshoot to encourage deeper engagement. (11m)

Accessible player
Creating a Culture of Engagement

Multiple experts offer advice and dynamic models of how to create an exemplary nursing staff through strategies that enhance engagement and empower nurses in healthcare settings. You may choose to skip the first section on hiring to go directly to the more relevant information for this module. (19m) Impacts of Employee Empowerment and Psychological Safety Essay

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