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    Recently, the World Health Organization officially recognized burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis.  Burnout has received more attention over the past few years amid a flurry of reports documenting increasing occurrences across various occupations.  

    The last few years have made that abundantly clear with high-profile admissions and declarations about mental health struggles by multiple celebrities and leaders. Take, for instance, Jason Saltzman, the founder, and CEO of Alley, who went viral for his candid admission about his struggles with anxiety. His experience and feedback inspired him to continue speaking out about mental health in the workplace. Stories like Saltzman’s are becoming more and more common as many become aware of the need to speak out about mental health and their career. Other high-profile leaders have spoken about this topic recently, including the CEO of EarnUp, a large Silicon Valley startup. 

    What is burnout?  

    According to the WHO, doctors can diagnose someone with burnout if they meet the following symptoms:

    • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion

    • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job

    • Reduced professional efficacy

    The diagnosis is limited to work environments and shouldn’t be applied to other situations.

    Burnout is not just an emotional issue. The Journal PLoS One study cited major health risks related to job burnout, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol, and even death for those under 45.

    What causes burnout?

    According to a 2018 report by Gallup, employee burnout has five main causes:

    1. Unreasonable time pressure. Employees who say they have enough time to do their work are 70% less likely to experience high burnout. Individuals who cannot gain more time, such as paramedics and firefighters, are at a higher risk of burnout.

    2. Lack of communication and support from a manager. Manager support offers a psychological buffer against stress. Employees who feel strongly supported by their manager are 70% less likely to experience burnout regularly.

    3. Lack of role clarity. Only 60% of workers know what is expected of them. When expectations are like moving targets, employees may become exhausted simply by trying to figure out what they should be doing.

    4. Unmanageable workload. When a workload feels unmanageable, even the most optimistic employees will feel hopeless. Feeling overwhelmed can quickly lead to burnout.

    5. Unfair treatment. Employees who feel they are mistreated at work are 2.3 times more likely to experience high burnout. Unfair treatment may include favoritism, unfair compensation, and mistreatment from a co-worker.

    Is your organization responsible for your employee's burnout?

    The world is facing an epidemic of mental health, and leading businesses are taking notice. LinkedIn, Hootsuite, Bumble, and NAMI are just a few organizations that have recently made the news for offering a week or more of paid leave to all employees to improve mental health. 

    Maybe your organization doesn't typically get involved in mental health issues until they create an in-office problem, but that is not sustainable. Being proactive around mental health and burnout is the best way to maintain a healthy workplace and retain top talent. That means offering comprehensive, preventative, and accessible mental health support to your staff and providing the education and tools to manage and proliferate these resources for managers and HR professionals in your organization.

    Here are eight ways you can tackle employee burnout

    These 8 ways help managers and HR professionals tackle burnout across all industries and roles. 

    1. Implement or promote more value-added services from your benefit packages
    2. Empower freedom for creativity in projects
    3. Provider training for skillsets, interests, and strengths to increase
    4. Compliment and provide positive reinforcement
    5. Provide opportunities for growth and advancement 
    6. Provide immediate in-the-moment support with counselors, such as TalkNow®
    7. Implement a software solution to help recognize your employees' birthdays, anniversaries, and special milestones
    8. Acknowledge and promote the importance of mental health and create a mental health awareness committee

    Download our comprehensive guide to learn more about avoiding and reversing employee burnout.

    Download Here


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