When employers think of burnout, they typically associate it with unrealistic expectations, less competitive pay, or something business related. However, employee burnout has long been connected to workplace culture and mental health. Company culture has made its way to the forefront of business priorities as it not only assists in marketability, but also decreases employee burnout. So how can business owners fight employee burnout? Let’s take a look at some underlying causes and effects of workplace culture and mental health on employee burnout.
Harassment. Different industries are tasked with various levels of harassment. For example, those who work in multimedia industries (i.e., any sort of news outlets) are subjected to extreme scrutiny and exposed to indirect harassment on a daily basis. This can have a lasting effect on their mental health. Also contributing to employee burnout is marginalized and underrepresented populations, which can lead to inappropriate behavior towards these individuals. For example, 37% of LGBTQ+ and 90% of transgender individuals reported harassment in the workplace.1 Setting forth narrow and strictly enforced harassment policies can help deter such behavior(s) in the workplace.
Leadership Support. Unfortunately, many employees that are either on the brink of burnout or trying to fight it do not find support from members of leadership. For example, responding with a reminder that it’s “part of the job” is not an effective way to combat burnout. Acknowledge the issue the employee is presenting. Discuss ways to assist the employee by directly asking what they need from management to feel supported and alleviate the burnout. Conduct regular check ins to ensure employees are not burning out. Whether it is a simple, “How are you doing?” or an in-depth discussion of what is working and what is not, it is a critical discussion that should be regularly implemented.
Generation Divide. One thing to consider are the differences in demands and expectations across different generations. For example, a 2019 study revealed that 50% of Millennials and 75% of Gen-Z employees cited mental health as reasons for leaving a company. This is indicative of the significance company culture plays in an employee’s decision to stay with a company. One way to balance the generational divides is to ask employees what you can do to improve the culture. Send out a general feedback survey or an anonymous suggestion box that can open a dialogue about company culture revisions. It allows people to voice an opinion without feeling like they will be retaliated against for providing their feedback. From there, you can brainstorm ways to implement such feedback. If a suggestion is not feasible, creating transparency through clear, concise communication can assist in effectively acknowledging the suggestion, offering an explanation for why it cannot be implemented, and open the floor for further suggestions to revise or replace such suggestion. This creates a respectful, collaborative environment where employees feel they are being heard and that you’re being proactive in finding a solution.
Whatever the case may be, employee burnout begins with revamping the company culture. Emotional fatigue, lack of support, and lack of role responsibilities are the most influential causes of burnout, followed by position requirements, extensive workloads, lack of reward, and low job security.2 Take a proactive approach to employee wellness by review employee handbooks, labor laws, and/or consult Harbor America. We can provide safety and risk management and HR services to assist with healthier workplace practices to safeguard employee well being.
Source: What You’re Getting Wrong About Employee Burnout