Psychological Safety in the Ad-Supported Media Industry -- Spotlight on Black Professionals

By The Myers Report Archives
Cover image for  article: Psychological Safety in the Ad-Supported Media Industry -- Spotlight on Black Professionals

Have you ever felt uncomfortable navigating your personal and work commitments while working remotely? Or perhaps you've had a team member express their reservations about attending an in-person meeting because of health concerns? Both are very common situations in today's transitioning workplace -- and both are examples of psychological safety, one of the strongest proven indicators of team effectiveness.

In the past year alone, businesses have shifted from managing the Great Resignation and the search for both meaning and balance in employees' professional lives to the impact of the recession and reductions in the workforce. Through it all, the concept of psychological safety -- the belief that one can speak up without risk of punishment or humiliation -- has emerged as a critical concept for organizations to embrace as they look to create healthy group dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Business literature on the importance and benefits of psychological safety is vast and significant, demonstrating links to high-quality decision making, effective teams and greater innovation.

In the summer of 2022, The Myers Report collected baseline psychological safety metrics across the ad-supported media and advertising industry in a research study of over 2800 professionals. The research collected employee perspectives across industry sectors and diverse groups around five critical aspects of psychological safety:

  • Support when making mistakes
  • Empowerment to take risks
  • Comfortability in asking for help
  • Comfortability in surfacing problems
  • Support from colleagues on the job

In general, ad-supported industry professionals are most comfortable in asking for help and feeling the support from colleagues on the job. Roughly three-quarters of respondents are comfortable surfacing problems and feel supported when making mistakes, and just under two-thirds feel empowered to take risks. Greater variations are seen, however, when comparing diverse groups. Black professionals in the study responded very differently, exceeding total respondents on multiple aspects (Taking Risks and Surfacing Problems), while underperforming the industry when it comes to Feeling Supported when Making Mistakes.

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, is quoted as saying "change is the only constant in life." Expect change to continue to challenge the ad-supported media industry. Building psychological safety across diverse and dispersed teams will be an important management skill to develop during this period in our history. Those who master it will emerge with strong, innovative teams ready for the next chapter.

More details about how psychological safety is currently being experienced across diverse groups in the ad-supported media industry are available to members.

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