Burnout and resignations: what can we do to stem the tide?
Research has shown that poor wellbeing in the form of burnout from demanding roles, with the added pressures of caring responsibilities, is one of the core reasons that people are quitting their jobs in 2022.
It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment Survey found that employee wellbeing and mental health was the top strategic priority in 2021 for HR professionals, a shift from 2020 when the top priority was employee experience.
For organisations to hold on to their best talent, they need to be nurturing positive employee wellbeing – they simply can’t afford for their employees to become burnt out in the first place.
Wellbeing needs to be in good shape to prevent burnout
So how can burnout be prevented in the first place?
Using Christina Maslach’s extensive research into burnout, ENGAGE’s Wellbeing Index measures the individual employee experience of six critical factors: relationships, fairness, control, workload, recognition and values.
It allows organisations and managers to identify which of these areas are a strength for them and their teams, and which areas are potential issues and could lead to burnout if not managed properly.
Make the changes necessary to keep your best talent
While burnout existed long before the pandemic began, the COVID-19 pandemic has driven potentially permanent changes to ways of working which alter both the needs of, and the pressures on, employees. For some organisations, new ways of working will be impacting negatively on employee wellbeing, so understanding what changes organisations could make to the employee experience to improve this is now vital.
Working through a crisis and in the new normal has also required specific and often different behaviours to be exhibited and modelled by leaders, managers and employees. How well – or indeed how poorly – these behaviours are embedded across an organisation has a direct impact on wellbeing at all levels.
Organisations looking to hold on to, develop and nurture their talent must therefore take time to assess the factors that are having most impact when it comes to retention and resignations.
By understanding which of the six elements highlighted by Maslach need improvement, they are in the best position to ensure that key talent doesn’t become burnt out and take their skills elsewhere.
This is about asking their people:
- Do they feel they have the control they need to do a great job?
- Are they coping with their current workload?
- How recognised do they feel?
- Do they enjoy positive working relationships with their colleagues?
- Do they feel that processes are fair? Are people themselves seen to be fair?
- How well do their individual values align with those of the organisation?
Understanding and measuring these elements is vital to being able to put in place methods to prevent burnout – and prevent a potential exodus of valuable talent.
 Six areas of worklife: A model of the organizational context of burnout, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Leiter and Maslach, February 1999