The impact of Covid on UK charities

Recent Charity Commission research shows that more than 90% of charities have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus crisis, due to an increase in demand for their services coinciding with a significant disruption to income, services and staffing during the pandemic.

Often at the heart of tackling society’s most pressing challenges, the charity sector is well-known for operating with limited resources but an abundance of goodwill. Whilst this might be welcome and appreciated by providers of statutory services and vulnerable service users in need, it threatens the ability of charity teams and leaders to cope and function safely and sustainably without burning out.

In a sector that employs just over 900,000 people (3% of the national workforce) and provides critical support to many under-resourced sectors and services like the NHS, the ability to provide a safe and supported environment for staff to operate in demanding circumstances is vital. Developing a strategy for psychological safety, wellbeing and resilience in the workplace is one concrete action charity leaders can take to create sustainable healthy high performance at work.

What is psychological safety at work?

Psychological safety in the workplace is about creating the conditions for sustainable and healthy high performance in teams. It is not, as often presumed, about freedom from conflict, being nice all the time, or permission to work without pressure and stretch goals.

Psychological safety is about creating a team climate that is characterised by trust – in oneself and in others, so that people are comfortable and empowered to be themselves at work, with a shared belief that they can take positive risks and still feel safe knowing that their team will not reject or punish them when mistakes are made, or concerns raised.

It requires a cultural shift, where everyone’s voice is valid and their contribution is welcomed and embraced. Ideas can be shared, questions asked and conventions challenged in a way that stimulates learning, positive risk-taking and both individual and team growth.

Helping charity leaders create healthy high performance

When Lymphoma Action wanted a strategy for service redesign, based on specialist insight on the impact and experience of the pandemic on their service offer and staff, they asked Fearless Facilitator founder Rachel for support. We made specialist recommendations on how to map staff wellbeing and leadership development to improved performance, productivity and outcomes, based on our work with world leading experts in the field, and the rigour of our research-based approach to psychological safety at work.

For The Charity for Civil Servants, whose members work in government institutions where periods of change can be significant and commonplace, we delivered a series of expert-led workshops on psychological safety and burnout. At a time when members were experiencing a change in senior management and IT systems as part of their restructure, these online and in-person training events highlighted how teams that value and successfully deploy psychological safety can thrive and achieve their goals, even in high demand, high pressure VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) workplaces.

It is more important than ever for organisations and employees adjusting to a post-pandemic workplace to foster psychological safety, especially as more and more people are now working from home and working remotely often blurs the lines between an employee’s personal and professional life.

At the Fearless Facilitator we can help you evaluate and establish the systems and processes you can put in place to assess and mitigate psychosocial risk at work and support you to achieve a culture of supported accountability, compassionate candour and high performance.

Contact us to find out more about The Fearless Facilitator Method™ and how we can support psychological safety and wellbeing within your team or organisation.