Tuesday 3 August 2021
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Is your company culture causing employee burnout?

The last thing any company wants is a burnout from one of their workers. The results of this can be detrimental to both the worker and the organisation as a whole. Such burnouts can spread unwanted working aspects such as an increasing culture of low productivity, a high worker turnover rate and the loss of well established talent.

Recent research that has been carried out by the University of Bath and by King’s College London has found that industrious employees. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Eric Garton, a Partner at Bain & Company, says that the organisations have to take the blame for workers burning out rather than placing the blame on the individual themselves.

After researching the topic, Mr Garton stated that: “When we looked inside companies with high burnout rates, we saw three common culprits: excessive collaboration, weak time management disciplines, and a tendency to overload the most capable with too much work.”

Garton suggested the following for leaders of companies:

Excessive Collaboration:

In essence, this is when companies have too many decision makers and too many decision-making nodes. As a direct result of this there are many ‘endless rounds of meetings and conference calls to ensure that every stakeholder is heard and aligned’. This means the meetings become pointless and are essentially unnecessary.

Burnout is also elevated by an always-on digital workplace mentality, including digital marketing jobs which are typically filled by millennial workers. This mentality means there are ‘too many priorities, and the expectation that employees can use their digital tools to multitask and power through their workloads’. Activities that involve multitasking end up being exhaustive and as a result are counterproductive, lowing the company’s output.

Companies should be focusing on adjusting their organisational routines and overall structure so that the can eliminate ‘unnecessary organisational complexity’. Garton also advises that: “Instead of isolating star players by distributing them across teams, companies can often get better results by putting the high-energy, high-achieving players together on the same squad and having them tackle the highest priority work.”

Weak time-management

Many people are left without any real structure as to how they should be productively spending their time in the workplace. They are left to fend for themselves and learn how to productively manage their time on their own. They ‘have limited ability to fight a corporate culture in which overwork is the norm and even celebrated’.

When studying the issue, Garton suggested that: “Our data suggests that most executives have an opportunity to liberate at least 20% of their employees’ time by bringing greater discipline to time management.”

He continued to describe how: “Equally important, doing so gives employees back control over their calendars. We find that one of the greatest sources of organisational energy is giving employees a sense of autonomy. It pays to give people back control of their days. It also helps to avoid micromanaging, which is another contributor to stress.”

Overloading the most capable employees

The most capable employees are defined as those who are in the highest demand and who have the widest range of knowledge. As a result of this, they are usually the most in demand. The average manager is losing around one day a week due to email communications and almost two days a week to meetings.

The best managers lose even more time than this. Their talents causes them to be overworked and be given a lot more responsibilities, increasing their workload. A solution to this could be using workplace analytic tools which will allow you to monitor and measure how your time is being used, if any time is being wasted or if certain employees are being overworked.

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