Have you ever experienced burnout at a job?

Perhaps you’re feeling burnt out right now?

Let’s dig into one of the root causes of workplace burnout and how we can change it for good.

Even before the pandemic, Americans had been experiencing higher rates of burnout at work. The pandemic gave some workers more time to think about the relationship between the value of their work and their quality of life.

By 2022, 50 million people had quit their jobs, an occurrence we now know as “The Great Resignation.”

We are in the midst of a major shift in the way people approach work. Forty percent of workers report that they plan to look for another job in the near future, the traditional labor force is retiring, and new talent is valuing work-life balance and other non-compensation benefits as they evaluate their options. Yet, it seems that our employment practices and systems are not really equipped to address the changes that need to be made.

Let’s look at a recent study about mental health and a holistic approach to human resource management and leadership in the workplace.

According to a recent McKinsey Global Health report, four out of five HR leaders said that they consider employee mental health and wellbeing a top priority. While billions of dollars are invested into wellness benefits, this is only “remediating symptoms rather than getting at the root cause of employee burnout.”

Let’s focus on just one of those root causes of burnout: toxic work environments. These are any toxic behaviors that make a person feeling unvalued, unsafe or unincluded. They often look like derogatory comments, demeaning treatment, non inclusive actions, extreme competition, abuse of power, or unethical behaviors. Any of these can create a cultural norm that allows for, and even encourages, toxic behaviors. Employees who report experiencing high levels of toxic behavior were eight times more likely to experience burnout symptoms, says McKinsey partner Erica Coe.

The culture of an organization is one of the biggest predictors of the rate of resignation — ten times more so than compensation.

My belief is that this is a great opportunity to bring more human relationships into our workplace, to instill common good business practices that put people at the center, and to cultivate more good in our work that benefit our communities. I’m working through some remedies from research as well as my own experiences and will be talking about this more in future.

Have you ever encountered toxic behavior at work?

How do you think we can transform our workplaces into spaces for humans to thrive and have healthy, productive, and positive outcomes?

Below are a few resources that I invite you to engage with to answer for yourself:

1. Join the workshop, Championing Employee Wellness, on November 10-11 at the Social Enterprise Alliance Virtual Summit. I am the moderator for this discussion. Save 25% on your Summit admission using code: PWRIG25

2. Listen to the Social Enterprise Alliance podcast, featuring social impact leaders who tell their stories of changemaking and provide an inside look into the nitty gritty of business as a means for good.

3. Read the article In sickness and in health: How health is perceived around the world from McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Stay well.

*Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.

About the Author Paul Wright

Paul Wright is the founder of WVS Courses and Coaching, and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs launch and grow new enterprises. He especially enjoys working with social innovators who create a greater good in the world with their businesses.

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