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301 Nurture Psychological Safety in the Workplace: What Learning Leaders Can Do

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM ET
Monday, November 7

Tracks: Leadership

Creating a culture where all people can thrive is a bigger project than hiring a diverse workforce, putting everyone through an hour-long training, and telling them to “bring their authentic selves” to work. It’s a process that requires ongoing attention and work. Work that starts with fostering and nurturing psychological safety. As people who touch every person in the organization, from new hires at onboarding to the C-suite executives, learning leaders play a critical role in building psychological safety and, through that, promoting the organization’s DEIB work.

This session explores the what, why, and how of nurturing psychological safety in the workplace. We’ll start with a definition based on Amy Edmondson’s framework from her book The Fearless Organization, and examine why psychological safety at work matters. We’ll also define related concepts such as diversity and power imbalances, microaggressions, implicit bias, and social identities. We’ll provide guidance on handling issues when they arise and describe strategies for employees to learn and use when they experience or witness incidents that compromise a colleague’s psychological safety. From there, we’ll delve into what learning leaders can do to create a culture of psychological safety on their team and more broadly. We’ll wrap up with pointers connecting work on psychological safety with DEIB work and strategies for learning leaders to leverage cross-organizational relationships to build and reinforce psychological safety across the entire organization.

In this session, you will learn: 

    • What psychological safety is and why it matters
    • How nurturing psychological safety contributes to an anti-bias, inclusive, and diverse workplace culture
    • How to guide your team and learners across the company to appropriate responses to issues that harm psychological safety
    • How learning leaders can leverage their unique position in the company to nurture psychological safety and further DEIB work

Jess Jackson

Instructional Designer, Writer, Speaker


Jess Jackson is an instructional designer, writer, speaker and has over 15 years’ experience as a diversity peer educator. She is the author of TorranceLearning’s curriculum Cultivating Racial Equity in the Workplace (CREW), a holistic microlearning training program that addresses equity barriers in the workplace using evidence-informed best practices from social psychology research. She has worked within education addressing access, retention, and success of diverse learners, and her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has been recognized at the international level. Her work has been featured on platforms such as Mic, TedX, Michigan Advance, Learning Solutions Magazine, and ACPA, among others.

Megan Torrance

Chief Energy Officer


Megan Torrance is CEO and founder of TorranceLearning, which helps organizations connect learning strategy to design, development, data, and ultimately performance. Megan has over 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment, and consulting. Megan and the TorranceLearning team are passionate about sharing what works in learning, so they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing about Agile project management for learning experience design and the xAPI. She is the author of Agile for Instructional Designers, The Quick Guide to LLAMA, and Making Sense of xAPI. Megan is also an eCornell Facilitator in the Women’s Executive Leadership curriculum.