Author: Garrick Throckmorton– Chief Product and Services Officer
Employee burnout is real and it is quite commonly experienced. A study of 7500 employees, conducted by Deloitte, resulted in 91% of employees stating that high levels of stress and frustration impacted the quality of their work, while 83% said that burnout impacted their personal relationships! In the face of this information, it is also rare that we hold our hand up and acknowledge that are experiencing this psychological condition. What is more common is making assessments of how we believe burnout is affecting others! Yet, we have cultivated organizational cultures where admitting to burnout, or implementing steps to prevent it to being with, can be perceived (real or not) as a weakness.
Our understanding that burnout is a demonstration of the increasing demands on our time and efforts with significantly less energy for renewal and restoration. And, importantly, how we manage and lead directly affects the levels of burnout in our enterprises. When we are exposed to repeated stimuli over time we wear down our internal “battery.” So, let’s “go upstream” from burnout and implement mindful practices that mitigate this harmful byproduct of work. We are not victims to an inevitable, undeniable, and unavoidable enemy. Our organizational cultures can move in a direction of being mindful of this psychological experience with the goal of minimizing its disruption on work, relationships, family dynamics, etc.
What are common drivers of burnout? A Gallup poll of employees resulted in identifying these top 5 reasons that employees were experiencing burnout;
- Unfair treatment at work
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of role clarity
- Lack of communication
- Unreasonable time pressure
As a lifelong HR Practitioner, I worked to improve the structures, processes, strategies and more that would positively impact these circumstances from becoming a reality. However, HR alone cannot solve these issues as the entire organization must partner to shift our company cultures towards an environment that support being mindful! But how?
In our recent Pearman Talent Insight Hour Webinar – Burnout is Robbing Us of Talent: Mindful Solutions, Managing Partner Roger Pearman unpacked this topic in rich ways which led to several practical strategies that organizations can take to prevent burnout while taking into consideration the unique work worlds of Leaders, Managers and Individual Contributors so that we can retain our talent. Built into the Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes (KSA) libraries of Individual Contributors, Managers, and Leaders, there are specific things we can do to boost renewal and reduce the stressors that sap the resources of all of our enterprise talent.
While there are many strategies to that can be used, evidence has grown surrounding the efficacy of mindfulness when applied with discipline and intentional focus. Mindfulness is a focus on the NOW by resisting new information, experiences or insights. It is consciously turning off judgment and noise and by doing so managing our stress, improving our brains effectiveness, and reducing burnout. To get started consider;
- Sleep Audit – Have you tracked your sleep? How many hours per day do you sleep on average? What is the quality of this sleep? There are many free sleep tracking applications to help you get started in identifying ways to improve this vital habit.
- Walk – Get outside and find a safe and quiet place to walk as a means to disengage from intense stimuli. A post lunch walk is a simple strategy to reduce physical burnout, and help you be more present each afternoon.
- Music – Select moments where you can listen to music that puts you in a relaxing mood, where you can imagine a pleasant place.
- Take a mini-vacation – It does not take 7 days off work to reset and often we cannot afford to take that amount of time off. Pull up an image of a recent vacation or a pleasant experience in your life, and reflect upon that moment for 3-4 minutes during your day for a positive impact.