Dr. Lisa Bélanger: Six Ways for Leaders to Reduce Burnout in the Workplace
The World Health Organization has officially classified burnout as a non-medical condition that causes people to seek help from health professionals. It refers to burnout as an occupational phenomenon. This means companies have a responsibility to mitigate this health outcome.
While there are countless articles, videos, and workshops out there on ways you can personally tackle burnout, this article is about things an organization and leaders can do to reduce the number of employees experiencing burnout within their workplace.
How to Mitigate Burnout in Their Workplace:
1. Shared Values
Every company has a mission statement, but how many employees believe in it and share those values? To reduce burnout, leaders in companies can find ways to enshrine those values in company culture to help their team have a sense of purpose in their work.
Ideally this should be rooted in an intrinsic motivation rather than simply the exchange of time for money or professional advancement.
For example, maybe your company doesn’t coordinate social media campaigns to fight climate change, but their services enable other organizations to do that impactful work. Having this sense of purpose can reduce feelings of burnout when a teammates workload increases for a period of time.
2. A Sense of Control
One of the reasons why millennials are such a big fan of remote work is the sense of control they can have over their time while doing their job. While there are obviously still some restrictions on how the employee can spend their time, the sense of autonomy surrounding where they do their work is very empowering.
How can leaders find ways to give that sense of control, even in small ways, to their workforce?
Even the perception that your opinion matters and orders aren’t blindly being delivered from up the food chain can help reduce burnout.
3. A Manageable Workload
This one is a no brainer, but if someone feels like they have an overwhelming workload for an extended period of time, they are likely to develop burnout. While it might not always be possible to reduce a teammates workload when resources are already spread thin, leaders can at the least be aware of their team’s perceived workload.
Any formal or even informal way to gauge how strained a team feels is useful data when it comes time to reallocating support and resources to do damage control on any burnout the teammates are experiencing.
This also may not be rocket science, but a workforce on a comfortable salary is going to be much more productive over the long run. In addition to the extra monetary rewards as an incentive, when people have more disposable income and operate in a health-oriented work culture, the incentives and capacity to maintain one’s health are better aligned.
Even if there isn’t the capacity for a company to grant a raise, what are other ways an employee can be rewarded for a job well done?
Recognition? What about bonus vacation days? What about covering a gym membership?
There are lots of small ways that leaders can help their teammates feel rewarded, as opposed to burnt out from their hard work.
5. A Sense of Community
Every single human being wants to feel like they belong to a community. This is the result of our evolutionary background of social cooperation improving our odds of survival as hunter/gatherer and farming communities.
For many people, their work team is a big source of community in their lives, so leaders have an opportunity to make it an empowering experience.
This can be as simple as taking a moment to ask people how they are doing and actively listening to their response to ensure they are heard. When a sense of community is not felt, people are much more likely to feel like the demands of work are exhausting and accelerate the process of burnout.
6. A Culture of Fairness
According to Dr. Christina Maslach — the researcher who coined the term, burnout — cynicism is a central component of burnout. If a team doesn’t trust each other and there is a sense of pessimism hovering in the air, the team could be headed for collective burnout. Leaders have an opportunity to ensure there is a culture of fairness to build that trust up among the team.
Dr. Lisa Bélanger shows leaders and teams how insights from psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural science can be applied in the workplace to optimize performance, productivity, and innovation. She helps close the gap between intention and action, resulting in long-term change and a greater competitive advantage.
Interested in learning more about Lisa and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].