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Topic: Wellbeing

4 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

Hint: It’s all about your workplace culture

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This year, the World Health organisation classified burnout as a syndrome of “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” In the past, burnout was a term used for healthcare workers that worked too many hours in incredibly stressful conditions. Today, burnout can happen to any employee, working any type of job, in any industry.

According to the 2020 Global Culture Report, 79% of employees are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe burnout. Burnout can be attributed to:

• 120,000 deaths per year
• $190 billion in healthcare spending
• 23% more likely to visit the emergency room
• Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol
• 220% decrease in the probably of highly engaged employees
• 210% decrease in odds an employee will be a promoter of the organisation
• 247% decrease in probably of great work happening
• 1/2 of annual employee turnover

The Wall Street Journal: The Hidden Cost of Stressed-Out Workers
Gallup, Employee Burnout, Part 1: The 5 Main Causes
O.C. Tanner Global Culture Report

Employee burnout is a potential issue every organisation should pay attention to.


Why do employees burn out?

Let’s talk first about what does NOT cause burnout. While certain jobs and industries might lend themselves to higher levels of physical or mental exhaustion, the type of job or number of hours worked is not the cause of burnout. Research shows that burnout occurs in both white collar and blue collar jobs*, and Millennials are just as likely as older generations to suffer burnout. Burnout can happen to anyone. So what does cause burnout? Chronic, unresolved culture issues in the workplace.


How can workplace culture cause burnout?

Poor workplace cultures lead to a 157% increase moderate to severe burnout. Our research has found there are 6 essential elements of workplace culture, and when companies don’t do these 6 things well, the chance of burnout skyrockets.

1. Purpose. A lack of purpose or having an uninspiring purpose leads to a 39% increased odds of burnout.
2. Opportunity. A lack of opportunities to learn, grow, and develop increases odds of burnout by 16%.
3. Success. When employees believe their companies think the bottom line is more important than people, there is 185% increased odds of burnout.
4. Recognition. Not receiving adequate recognition for great work increases odds of burnout by 48%.
5. Leadership. A decreased trust in leaders leads to increased odds of burnout by 29%.
6. Wellbeing. A lack of connection and decreased sense of belonging increases risk of burnout by 56%.

When companies have poor employee experiences around these 6 essential areas, employees are more likely to feel exhaustion, avoidance, and futility in their jobs. Over time, all of this leads to burnout.

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