Fighting burnout in your organization


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many burnout-related issues within organizations that were previously easy to overlook, but this disruption can be a boon for businesses and HR managers looking to change. engage in introspection and change.

Q: I see clear examples of organizational burnout, including people leaving our company. As an HR manager, what can I do to correct this tendency?

A: Evaluate instead of react

It’s easy to take a broad approach to the concern of burnout, but reacting to this reality with a knee-jerk, “everything’s wrong!” » the mindset is not only limiting but hinders your ability to initiate change within your organization. There are probably some aspects of how your organization works that keep people from feeling productive, welcome, and motivated to stay.

Taking the time to investigate and assess where the problem lies ensures that you will be in a much better position to come up with options for systematic changes to address these issues. Is there a problem with early career transition options where people don’t know how to go about going from college to work? Are managers overwhelmed and unable to take the time to have coaching discussions with their employees? Or is it an issue with your organization’s operations, such as meeting or working hours, that needs to be considered?

Redefining accessibility

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lines between work and home blurred considerably. Without office hour constraints, many organizations have increased people’s productivity because, after all, they were just waking up and going straight to their computer to work.

But this is neither realistic nor sustainable. Over time, people were spending more time working and less time chilling out. Although this may have been lasting for short periods, we are now entering the third year of this pandemic; people are exhausted and resentful, and who will they blame? Their company.

Your organization should back up statements that employee health and well-being are important with action. Put guardrails in place around how your business will operate – barring emergencies – that prioritize work/life balance. Ask mandated employees to take a certain number of vacation days per year, encourage people to take time out from work, minimize the frequency and length of meetings, and make it clear that your organization values ​​time off. of work so that employees return as soon as possible. their best self.

Rework Rewards

Many organizations have formal reward or recognition structures, but there are also informal structures that allow people to be recognized for the work they do every day. It’s a powerful sentiment – ​​and one that may need to be examined within your organization. Instead of rewarding those who work the longest, reward those who create the greatest impact inside and outside your organization. Reward those who know how to balance their lives so they can perform at their best at work every day.

HR professionals are in a unique position where they are empowered to break cultural norms regarding work/life balance. While many organizations glorify the “hustle culture” and working long hours and late nights, the law of diminishing returns is in effect here. The search found productivity drops sharply after 50 hours of work per week and drops even more after 55 hours – meaning more work isn’t always better. Taking action within your organization to reframe work that deserves recognition ensures that no one sees it as an honor never to take a day off, but rather that taking time off is worth honoring because it contributes to a much higher level.

Take the time to practice

It’s one thing for HR departments to set and implement priorities, but translating that into actionable steps and guidance for leaders is quite another task. After identifying the main sources of burnout within your organization, meet with senior management and discuss why you think changing your company culture in a certain direction will alleviate employee turnover.

As senior management begins to embrace this new way of working, they will be more inclined to embrace this new framework. In fact, it is essential that they “walk the talk” by being the example. Top management sets the pace for the organization.

At this point, you and your fellow HR professionals should start meeting with managers one-on-one to teach them the coaching skills they need to help their employees. If you, as a human resources manager, can provide managers with the support they need to recognize their employees for the work they do, that is a huge benefit to your organization. One of the main causes of burnout and lower employee retention is lack of employee appreciation; Focusing on this – regardless of the other factors that contribute to burnout in your organization – will go a long way to reducing turnover.

Creating a work environment that provides employees with rich opportunities for growth and prosperity, enabling them to create incredible results for shareholders and customers, can be a challenge, but it will always be worth it.


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