Psychological Safety: Personal Factors

What is 'Personal Factors'?

The chnnl November team challenge is live, and it is all centralised around the importance of psychological safety within the workplace. We are analysing selected video clips, and spotting the hazards of psychosocial risks and lack of psychological safety in a workplace environment can impact on mental health and wellbeing. Throughout this challenge, we dive deep into chnnl's Level Up Framework through identifying psychosocial hazards, and the primary foundations are; Work Design, Culture & Leadership, Personal Factors, Social Connections, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Mana Whenua. 

In Day Six, we analysed the psychosocial hazards relating to 'Personal Factors', which all have a profound impact on the psychological safety within an organisation. When the principles of 'Personal Factors' are practiced effectively, this can have great positive implications on workplaces and organisational culture. In contrast, when practiced ineffectively, there is risk for psychological injury and the absence of psychological safety. 

The first video below portrays the presence of 'Personal Factors' related risks through a scene in movie King Richard. We encourage you to watch the video alongside us, and identify what psychosocial risks might be present associated with the theme of 'Personal Factors', and how this has a correlation with decreased psychological safety.

Level Up Framework* 


Personal Factors risks:


Personal Factors

1.4.1 Grief/loss
1.4.2 Poor work/life balance
1.4.3 Concerns about or decline in physical or mental health of self or dependents
1.4.4 Socioeconomic circumstances
1.4.5 Difficult or destructive relationships with family/friends (includes domestic violence)
1.4.6 Inadequate exercise and/or poor nutrition
1.4.7 Lack of sleep or restoration
1.4.8 Poor or limited access to support network
1.4.9 Family (Whanau)
1.4.10 Insecure housing and/or financial stress


Te Whare Tapa Wha Factors

1.5.1 Physical health

1.5.2 Spiritual health

1.5.3 Mental health

1.5.4 Connections to whanau/family or friends


Wellbeing Outcomes Included:


Te Whare Tapa Wha Model Score (Massey University) 

WHO-5 Wellbeing Index Score


Turnover Intention

Richard Williams lives in Compton, California, with his wife Brandy, his three step-daughters, and his two daughters, Venus and Serena. Richard aspires to turn Venus and Serena into professional tennis players; he has prepared a plan for success since before they were born. Richard and Brandy coach Venus and Serena on a daily basis, while also working as a security guard and a nurse, respectively. Richard works tirelessly to find a professional coach for the girls, creating brochures and videotapes to advertise their skills, but has not had success.

One day, Richard takes the girls to see coach Paul Cohen, who is in the middle of practicing with John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. Despite his initial reservations, he agrees to watch the girls practice, and is impressed. However, the Williamses cannot afford professional coaching, and Paul refuses to coach both girls for free; he selects Venus to receive his coaching, while Serena continues to practice with Brandy. Paul encourages Venus to participate in juniors tournaments. She quickly finds success, but Richard stresses to Venus and her sisters that they should remain humble despite their success. At one of Venus's tournaments, Serena also signs up to play, unbeknownst to Richard. As both girls continue to succeed, the family are treated as outsiders among the predominantly white, upper-class competition. Richard meets with high-profile agents, but, fearing that his daughters will be taken advantage of, pulls them out of the junior circuit entirely. Paul warns him that his decision will destroy the girls’ chances to turn pro, but Richard stands firm, firing Paul as a coach.

The Risks


1. Venus and Serena Williams age

Within this scene from King Richard, we see a very young Venus and Serena Williams being coached by Paul Cohen. The scene highlights the age of the girls and the overbearing relentless pressure from their father to be their best. This links to a lack of psychological safety because the girls couldn't be themselves with their dad, who had the best intentions, interrupting and inserting his own feelings of inadequacy as a coach into the situation. This links to their work performance too, because when someone feels unpsychologically safe, this limits safety of trying to things or 'playing it safe' rather than going for the long shot. Getting the amount of pressure right for optimum performance is a difficult balance for anyone, yet alone girls who were so young. 

2. Family factors

This scene highlights the clear impact of their fathers input in Venus and Serena's life. In the workplace, sometimes the impact of family is not as obvious as this clip, in fact most personal factors can be invisible in the workplace setting. However, the profound impact of family on the girls sporting performance can be seen, and whilst overall the move shows that Richards input was a positive, that at times had negative impacts as well. Some hazards in the workplace regarding personal factors can also have both positive and negative sides to them, so understanding the nuances of this is important. 

3. Social Economic Pressures

The movie King Richard, also shows the social economic pressures that were on the family who lived in Comptons, a low socioeconomic area of California. Both parents worked tirelessly as a security guard (Richard) and nurse (Brandy) to support the family financially. Richard was driven to relentlessly coach the girls so they would be 'good enough' for a coach to coach them for low cost. Sadly only one sister could afford to be coached, but Richard and Brandy didn't let that stop them and Richard would video the coaching sessions and then both Richard and Brandy used that as a resource teach both sisters. In the clip, we see Richard as a proud father, wanting the best for his girls coaching, but struggling with the fact that he had got them to the level that they were now able to be coached professionally. The hazard here is financial hardship and deprivation, however despite these, with their fathers support they were able to excel in their sport. Without the protective factor of their father, they may have never overcome this challenge. In the workplace, spotting financial and socioeconomic pressures on colleagues and staff can enable a deeper level of empathy and awareness of challenges faced by that individual. 

4. Other

Serena and Venus Williams didn't have the full support team with the wrap around supports that professional sports players have, and on top of that they were also balancing school work, being a 'normal' teenager and friends. Most professional sports players have a full 'holistic' support team - including nutritionists, psychologists, strength and conditioning coaches, sleep and stress coaches etc. To operate at the very highest levels of performance, every aspect of 'personal factors' need to be supported and protected. In sport it is easy to see the correlation with say nutrition and sleep quality, with performance. But when it comes to work, somehow we don't draw the same correlations as easily. Work performance and sporting performance are not that different in regards to the level of personal factors involved. 

Not allowing for support, education or space for personal factors in the workplace is a key psychosocial risk. This is because the devaluing of things such as 'self care' and 'boundary setting' can lead to poor mental health and wellbeing outcomes, and when people are not thriving, this decreases the overall team culture and climate. 

How does chnnl help you measure and identify Personal Factor hazards:

Weekly Pulse Screening and Assessment Survey: 

1. chnnl-50 questions

Through chnnls' academically validated check-in questions, Personal Factors hazards are measured and monitored. This provides regular insight and indication towards the impact of Personal Factors in an organisation and how this effects psychological safety, alongside wellbeing.

Example screening questions: 

"I am satisfied with my current health"


What area are you the least satisfied with?

  • Exercise

  • Nutrition

  • Social activity

"In the past month, I have been unable to pay some bills (electricity, petrol, groceries, medical)"


"I feel physically and/or emotionally unsafe where I currently live"


Sub 1:
I know and trust the support systems available at my workplace for safety concerns at home or work

  • Yes

  • No

Sub 2:
Have you felt threatened, intimidated, or physically harmed by someone close to you, such as a partner, or family member?

  • Yes *trigger violence support options

  • No

"I experienced grief or loss"


"I know where to find help for work or personal concerns"




"I felt refresh and rested"


Te Whare Tapu Wha


"I feel connected to my friends or whanau" 


2. Journals 

Free text anonymous journaling for anyone in the organisation to reflect on the workplace environment, climate and culture. The chnnl AI then codes the free text into key themes and sentiments and matches them to psychosocial risk tags. These are then reviewed by a clinical team before being finalised for organisation reporting and recommended actions. Having a free text reflection tool enables deep and rich insights into the employees experiences and celebrates the protective factors in the workplace as well as the potential risks. 

3. Risk identification and mitigation

At chnnl, we use a bowtie risk matrix to identify risks and what to do before an injury has occurred, and then also to facilitate mitigating interventions in the event of a psychological injury, to ensure psychologically safe workplaces. 

See this page for expansion on chnnls' psychosocial Risk Matrix

What the Experts Say:

Demian Shaver

Trailer video of Demian Shaver Interview:

Full Video interview with Demian coming here Week 2 of the Safety Challenge! Stay tuned! 

Interview Take Aways:


“Knowing who they are.

And knowing that you care.“


“ Be A Relational Leader”


“You have to know your people, so when something does happen,

you know the circumstances and the context”


“Humans aren’t robots and can’t be expected to just ‘shut off, being relational is to be human’”


“Offering support such as covering meetings or classes {work tasks} and taking action to

show your support.”


“You do care about them, and want them to be happy, not just as an employee. Because happy workers do a better

job because they promote happy environments”


Journal about what you think you could do regarding the concept of ‘Personal Factors’ this week for:

  • Yourself
  • Your colleagues/ team

If you have the chnnl App, click the 'share' button, and the chnnl team will record your response.

FULL interview below: 

Frame 132


Written by chnnl Team

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