5 Ways To Address Employee Burnout

TED KITTERMAN

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DAPHNE LEE

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Ted Kitterman and Daphne Lee

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With Mental Health Awareness Week from May 13-19, the spotlight once again turns towards the pervasive issue of employee burnout in the workplace. In a world where the demands of professional life often clash with the necessity for personal well-being, organisations are increasingly recognising the urgent need to foster environments that prioritise mental health. From large multinational companies to local start-ups, forward-thinking workplaces are spearheading initiatives to help their employees not just survive, but thrive.

Here’s what great workplaces are doing to help their employees build resilience and find balance in the aim of addressing employee burnout.

 

The immediate crisis of the pandemic has receded. But for many workers, the risk of burnout has never been higher.

In a recent report, 62% of women and 57% of men reported at least moderate levels of burnout. Those rates are much higher than what was reported in 2021, and are on par with levels reported at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.

What’s causing the rise? Layoff anxiety, coupled with new pressure from management around profits and productivity, has workers doing more with less. In fact, an Aon and TELUS Health’s joint 2022-2023 Global Wellbeing Survey in Asia possibly attributes this to also include cost-of-living challenges, rising healthcare costs, climate change impacts, geopolitical instability, and the increasingly complex and ambiguous nature of today’s workplace, which has been changing rapidly since COVID-19.

To combat the rising tide of burnout, many leaders are doubling down on resilience, pushing for mindfulness practices and psychological safety. Crucially, great workplaces understand that burnout isn’t something that an individual employee can control.

Root causes of burnout — overwork, a lack of autonomy, or a lack of community — are problems that must be addressed by the organisation.

“Employers need to create a true culture of acceptance surrounding mental health and make it safe for employees to talk about it in the workplace,” says Tina Thornton, AVP, well-being and safety at Nationwide.

The insurance firm cites research from UKG: For 69% of people, a manager has more impact on their mental health than a doctor or therapist.

Employers have an outsized impact on the mental health of their workers, and burnout can have a disastrous impact on retention, productivity, and the bottom line.

Signs of employee burnout

When Great Place To Work® analyses employee surveys, results show a few key indicators that workers are experiencing burnout:

1. Employees don’t trust management. Employees experiencing burnout are three times less likely to say leaders’ actions match their words.

2. Employees say they are micromanaged. Employees with burnout are three times more likely to say they are micromanaged in experience surveys.

3. Employees say they aren’t informed about the business. Employees feeling a lack of control over their work often express it as feeling like they lack important information. Workers with burnout are 2.5 times less likely to say they are kept in the loop with important updates about the business.

4. Employees don’t see their workplace as fair. Employees experiencing burnout were much more likely to respond to the question “What would make this a better place to work?” with phrases like:

  • “fear of retaliation”
  • “discrimination”
  • “remove favouritism”

Taking action against burnout

Here are some of the strategies that are having the best results for improving employee well-being and reducing burnout:

1. Train managers

An employee’s direct supervisor has an extraordinary impact on the well-being of the worker. That’s why many companies are focused on training their leaders to identify burnout and intervene.

Managers can prevent burnout by connecting employees to tools to manage stress, reassigning projects to ensure employees have a balanced workload, and providing coaching on how to prioritise tasks.

Leaders are encouraged to connect with employees in huddles and one-on-ones to identify when burnout might be starting. A crucial question to ask in these meetings: “How can I support you?”

2. Measure outcomes — not time spent

When you change how you manage your workforce, such as rewarding employees for completed projects rather than hours logged, workers can find a better balance.

3. Provide employees with tools to set boundaries

Leaders can play a role in ensuring their workers are able to unplug from demanding, client-facing roles. Without the extra communication to reset expectations for both team members and clients, an attempt to give all employees a week off wouldn’t be as successful.

4. Lean on resource groups

Social connection is a key ingredient in building resilience for employees. For many companies, supporting relationships across the organisation is done through employee resource groups.

5. Reset expectations about post-crisis recovery

The pandemic offered plenty of lessons about the causes of burnout, particularly in the field of health care. One dynamic that stood out: Employees pushed past their limits to meet a crisis with an expectation of recovery time that never materialised.

Benchmark your employee experience

Worried about burnout in your workforce? Use Great Place To Work Certification™ to get unmatched data on how employees feel about their work.

https://greatplacetowork.com.au/gptwcertification/

DAPHNE LEE

Daphne believes in building community-relatable content, telling stories through narratives that add value in today’s workplace and in culture-building. Her idea of a great workplace is one that thrives on openness, support and inclusivity while building trust and working towards a common business growth and purpose. A journalist, she spent 15 years writing for trade publications, lifestyle magazines and broadsheet supplements.

TED KITTERMAN

Ted Kitterman is a content manager for Great Place To Work®. Ted has experience covering the workplace, business communications, public relations, internal communications, work culture, employee well-being, brand purpose and more. His work shines a light on the unparalleled data and insights offered by Great Place to Work’s decades of research, helping the company share its vision of a great place to work For All™.

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Micro 10-29 Employees
  • Small 30-99 Employees
  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from