Research: New Hires’ Psychological Safety Erodes Quickly

Across industries, from manufacturing to health care, the luxury of waiting years to benefit from new talent is long gone. Thriving in today’s dynamic economy means bringing new hires up the learning curve faster than ever. Yet, the authors’ latest research suggests one catalyst for learning is often lacking when it’s needed most: psychological safety. They show why newcomers are vulnerable to this loss and present strategies to help preserve their early willingness to speak up.

In October 2021, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian noted a significant shift in the airline’s workforce as it emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic. Speaking to investors, he called it a juniority benefit. “Many of our most experienced employees have chosen to retire, and that’s opened up opportunities for younger people,” he said, framing the change as advantageous for the company. But juniority benefits were not without costs.

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