How to improve employee well-being and minimize burnout
With increased attention on employee well-being and burnout, we wanted to learn more. A recent Energage study of more than 240,000 workers indicates employees do seem to be struggling.
Top Workplaces Research Lab participants offered key takeaways based on feedback:
- Folks agree well-being is a major challenge.
- Many organizations have prioritized it.
- Those that prioritize are more likely to see improvements.
- Senior leader involvement in initiatives is critical.
- Those that prioritize often indicated high levels of senior leader involvement.
- There appears to be disagreement about who has the power to make change.
- Many organizations see staffing and workloads as major obstacles to well-being.
- Mental health is a major focus for folks concerned about well-being.
Here’s one thing we know: You cannot fix staffing or workload issues with band aids – and that includes a 4-day workweek.
Some organizations are considering shortened workweeks, which offer a variety of benefits and are popular with many employees. But fitting an already too-large amount of work into a shorter timeframe will likely exacerbate the underlying problem.
Instead, address understaffing or high work volumes at their source and experiment with other benefits separately. Ask yourself:
- Are we doing things efficiently and well?
- Is there interdepartmental collaboration?
- Are we open to new ideas?
The hard work requires organizations to clarify and align people’s roles in employee well-being across all levels of the organization.
- Show enthusiastic support for well-being and be an active participant.
- Advocate for budget allocation and well-being policies.
- Model work-life flexibility to show it’s a culture priority.
- Empower managers to be flexible and advocate away from long hours, etc.
- Discuss employee needs address workload issues.
- Model healthy work-life flexibility.
- Encourage employees to take PTO.
- Set realistic deadlines and open dialogue with employees.
- Show appreciation, genuinely and consistently.
- Speak up early and become a fierce self-advocate.
- Utilize available resources and take advantage of PTO.
- Actively participate in company social events.
How do you know as an organization whether you have hit the mark? Comments like this, pulled from a survey of a Top Workplace, reflects the kind of sentiment every employer would be proud to hear: “I am treated fairly and with the respect that my experience brings to the company. I have a great work-life balance environment. I feel included. I fell that my skills and experience are utilized effectively and respected.”
That positive feedback happens within organization that grow, tend, and cultivate a people-centric culture.
Value employees as people, make decisions, and create well-being policies through that lens. Changes and initiatives will fall apart if the culture doesn’t support it. Or, worse, runs counter to it.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for encouraging well-being and minimizing burnout. The most successful organizations experiment to learn what works – and what does not. Find out what matters most to your employees. If you don’t know, ask! Find the root cause and go after it. Don’t assume more apps and platforms will solve the issue.
Do something – anything! And then learn from it and try again.
Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces
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