The past two years have put a lot of strain on business, and people have had to push harder than ever to keep companies afloat. As a result, professionals have experienced more burnout than ever before. Feeling overworked and undervalued, many have taken a step back to reframe their values and reassess their purpose.
The future of work is here, and great companies will be the ones to show that commitment and contentment don’t need to fall on opposite sides of the scale. By co-creating an organizational culture that puts people and purpose at its core, companies can not only tackle burnout, but increase engagement and boost performance in the process.
Before understanding how to prevent and deal with burnout, it is important to be able to identify it.
Burnout: What is it?
The World Health Organization describes burnout as the following:
“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- reduced professional efficacy.
Causes and signs of burnout
The most common causes of burnout over the past two years have been cited as a combination of the following:
- Difficulty switching off
- Insufficient feedback from leaders
- Lack of team communication and/or collaboration
- Little support and/or recognition from colleagues and leaders
- Difficulty bonding with peers
- Difficulty maintaining motivation and engagement
- Lack of recognition for work
Burnout doesn’t happen overnight–it results from an accumulation of several factors. Once it happens, performance and engagement decrease, and the professional experiencing burnout is more likely to call it quits and resign.
Preventing Burnout: Key Questions and Top Tips
The first step to take when addressing burnout is to closely analyze the company’s working environment. Is it one that puts people first? The following questions are designed to help you evaluate the culture of your team, and thus, get an understanding of the company culture as a whole.
Question: Are values such as integrity, intellectual freedom, open dialogue, diversity and inclusion part of my team’s everyday experience?
Tip: One of the most effective ways of turning values into behavior, and behavior into the habits that define organizational culture is to harness the power of recognition.
According to Gallup, only 23% of employees strongly agree they get the right amount of recognition for the work they do, yet when recognition hits the mark, employees are 73% less likely to feel burned out. They are also 4x as likely to be engaged. It is disheartening to learn, however, that nearly two in three leaders say their organization does not have a budget allocated to recognition. Make recognition a part of your company culture and ensure burnout is a thing of the past.
Clear Objectives & Continuous Feedback:
Question: Does your team have clear objectives? Does each member of your team know what is expected of them? Do they know what their strengths are and have they identified areas for improvement?
Tip: Clarity around expectations is one of the simplest ways to prevent overwork and the burnout that comes with it. Having a model for continuous feedback is equally important. In fact, McKinsey has reported that 68% of respondents agree that ongoing coaching and feedback conversations have a positive impact on individual performance, yet only 21% of employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. Building a work environment where constructive feedback is given generously can help talent boost their performance and grow their careers at their own pace while increasing their overall sense of well-being.
Question: How connected am I to the people in my team? Do I listen generously, empathize, and act on feedback?
Tip: Talent should always know that their leaders are there to support them, in both a professional and personal capacity. In Globant’s survey of a thousand U.S. professionals working remotely, 78% said they felt their manager was empathetic and understanding of their needs, and almost half said this was absolutely vital to feeling happy at work.
Question: Is my team receiving enough recognition for their work? Am I making them feel valued and keeping them motivated?
Tip: According to Gallup, when recognition hits the mark, employees are 4x
as likely to be engaged and 44% more likely to be thriving in their life overall. Highlighting acts of kindness, positive attitudes, and excellent work through public recognition is a powerful way of showing your talent and teams that you value them. Working to co-create an organizational culture built on recognition will not only prevent the sense of discoinnect that leads to burnout, but it will increase productivity and performance.
Connection & Relationships
Question: Do I make my team feel connected, encouraging clear communication and constant collaboration?
Tip: Hybrid work is transforming business, facilitating flexibility and empowering talent. But distance has, unnecessarily, led to a sense of disconnect. Gallup reports that 64% of employees cite feeling disengaged at work, and, worryingly, less than 40% of young remote or hybrid professionals clearly know what is expected of them at work. Hybrid is here to stay. If we want it to stimulate company growth without sacrificing well-being, then we need to focus on our people: making them feel valued through recognition, helping them forge career paths by regularly sharing feedback, and creating a purpose-driven culture that fosters a sense of belonging–no matter the distance between us.
The Way Forward: Building a People-Centric Organizational Culture
As is made clear from the questions above, preventing burnout is wholly related to creating a strong organizational culture that values people. Designing your company’s culture requires an initial level of consideration and commitment.
Once established, however, the created culture will nourish and reinforce itself–bringing exponential gains, growth, and good times to all.
Globant: A Cultural Success Story
Almost a decade ago, Globant realized that issues of attraction and retention, connection and communication, engagement and performance, could be improved by strengthening their company culture. That is when they developed StarMeUp, an AI-enhanced, behavioral science-based solution that helps organizations create a people-centric culture.
Just as StarMeUp has helped Globant retain talent, boost performance, and foster a sense of belonging at work, other organizations around the world have transformed their culture into one that values people and purpose by leveraging the tools offered by the platform.