three people working at an organization

Helping Employees Overcome Burnout (Yes, It’s YOUR Responsibility)

Companies should take a proactive role not only in managing burnout but also preventing it altogether.

Here’s some food for thought: if burnout is an individual issue, then why do so many people in the same organization or department experience it?

Employee burnout is a common problem, but many companies tend to treat it like it’s a personal failure of the employee rather than the ineptitude of the organization.

Companies are quick to place blame when productivity is lagging, sales are down, employees are consistently late, or deadlines are missed.

But the reality is that companies are just as culpable when employees burn out and should be doing more to identify signs of burnout and try to help, not blame.

Assigning Corporate Accountability for Burned Out Employees

To assume that company leadership has no impact over burnout is a fallacy. Employees may have control over certain factors of their lives outside of work, but rarely can they completely control their lives on company time.

The book Time, Talent, and Energy identified three of the most common culprits behind employee burnout: overusing top performers, excessive collaboration, and lack of time management disciplines. The most valuable people also tend to be the most overwhelmed. This forces them to do more in less time and doesn’t provide adequate time for creativity or restoration.

One study in the tech space found that 60% of respondents were experiencing burnout at the time of the survey. This doesn’t include the employees who would later experience burnout or have burned out in the past. It’s a monumental problem that is unlikely to be remedied without the intervention of company leadership.

Combating the High Costs of Burnout

exhausted business womanOne of the easiest ways to get leadership’s attention is to remind them of the monetary costs of avoiding the problem.

In a recent study, burnout was estimated to cost $125 billion or more per year in physical and psychological healthcare alone. This figure is even higher when you factor in lost productivity, high turnover costs, and loss of qualified talent.

Companies can’t afford to let burnout become an issue, yet many of them are still scratching their heads wondering why their best people miss deadlines, call in sick, or leave the company altogether.

The Solution: Lead by Example

While everyone should own their roles in the organization, company leaders shouldn’t expect the employees they’re leading to recognize and fix burnout. Ultimately, the leaders are responsible for crafting a culture where burnout is less likely to occur.

Until companies can share in the creation of a solution, burnout in the workplace will continue to be an issue. It’s not uncommon to see workaholism get rewarded. Tech company employees, in particular, embrace the all-day-every-day hustle and fully believe that it takes an always-on mindset to make it in the business.

It’s a struggle all the way to the top, and once you get there, you have the power to change the culture for those who will follow in your footsteps.

What are you doing to extinguish burnout for good? Discover how to stop burnout and take back your life without guilt.

Resources:

https://hbr.org/2017/04/employee-burnout-is-a-problem-with-the-company-not-the-person
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/10/30/are-you-to-blame-for-your-employees-burnout/#380fbfeb3c31

Felicia Baucom
felicia.conway@gmail.com
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