How do I run a team safety check?

At some point, all teams experience a retrospective that deals with sensitive topics, and we want to hear everyone's honest feedback. But, how can we make sure all our team members feel comfortable speaking up? 

What is a team safety check?

A team safety check is a way to evaluate the level of psychological safety in your team. The more psychologically safe your team feels, the more likely they will contribute their honest feedback in a retrospective.

You can run a team safety check using a column style technique or a team radar technique.

Column-Style Team Safety Check

  1. Start a retro and pick the Custom Columns option.
  2. Create 5 columns, numbered 1 through 5.
  3. Have your team members add a card (no text needed) to the column they feel best shows how they feel about speaking up in retrospectives:
    1. 5 – I'm completely comfortable and willing to discuss anything.
    2. 4 – I'm ok to talk about most things – there are only a few topics that are difficult.
    3. 3 – I'm about 50/50 – I'm ok to discuss some things, but I definitely not comfortable discussing everything.
    4. 2 – I might add a thought or two, but generally I don't feel safe speaking up.
    5. 1 – I don't feel comfortable sharing any of my feedback.
  4. Watch as the histogram develops. You will quickly be able to see how your team feels.
  5. Information in hand, you can end the retrospective here. This is one of the rare cases where you don't have to progress through all phases.

Radar-Style Team Safety Check

  1. Start a retro and pick the Custom Radar option.
  2. You can add a title to your radar so everyone understands what the goal of this activity is.
  3. Add titles to 3 spokes:
    1. Do you feel comfortable speaking up?
    2. Do you feel included?
    3. Do you feel heard?
  4. Move the retro onto the Collect phase and ask your team to place their ratings.
  5. In the Analyze phase, let Retrium help guide you through an analysis of the results. Click the NEXT button to step through the different analyses.
  6. You will quickly see how your team feels about their psychological safety, and where they agree or disagree.