"Burnout" is a kind of job-related affliction that results in feeling exhausted and foggy, detached and cynical, and inefficient and struggling to keep pace. As many as 76% of employees report that they have experienced burnout. It's now widely acknowledged that burnout is caused by conditions in the workplace—not by workers themselves or their conditions at home. That's why employees (and job candidates) are growing more cautious that they don't end up with burnout. People will quit or skip an opportunity rather than take the risk of falling into burnout.
Burnout is not the employee's fault. It comes from an unhappy workplace. In particular, we see it in workplaces where work-life balance is very uneven, sense of purpose is lacking, and where employees are not receiving the right support from their leaders.
When a workplace has many of these challenges, you could say it has a "burnout culture." A recent article in Harvard Business Review discussed what this looks like from the viewpoint of potential employees. They highlight a set of red flags that indicate a burnout culture:
It can be tough to take the hard look and see if any of these are true in our own workplaces. It takes courage and care to address these issues, and many companies have developed deep roots in the unsustainable practices that create burnout culture. It is also a tremendous opportunity to beat the competition, because if you rise above these challenges, you have a workplace that can attract and keep the best talent.
Here at Amazing Workplace, we have a happiness improvement process that is aimed at finding and resolving possible causes of burnout. Our Smart Survey platform collects feedback from employees across 12 different critical workplace areas. From there, we identify which of these areas needs attention, and our Magic Insights system assists leaders in quickly creating a plan of action to resolve unhappiness. The five red flags that the Harvard article mentioned are all among the dozens of areas that Magic Insights checks.
There are many actions that may be appropriate to resolve a budding burnout culture, but here are a few that we consider when setting our Happiness Improvement Plans:
Burnout is not normal, despite the cynical view that some folks have of life at work. If you build up these employee supports, you can have happy people and the best talent.
Amazing Workplace's Smart Survey Platform gives workplaces a way build resilient, productive teams. You can start now with our Smart Survey!