Despite being a costly problem for employees and companies alike, burnout is still perceived as a personal issue or an indicator of incompetence and being unfit for the job. Rather, it is a challenge that needs to be tackled from an organizational level. Harvard Business Review looked into companies with high burnout rates and identified three common culprits of burnout as excessive collaboration, weak time management disciplines, and a tendency to overload the most capable with too much work.
There is more to excessive collaboration than meets the eye: it comprises structural and cultural factors such as rigid hierarchical structures with too many decision makers and overusing collaborations beyond what is needed to get things done, but also to the 24/7 connectivity and reliance on tech to multitask and juggle multiple priorities.
Possible solution: adjust the organizational structure. Look at your Organisational Network analysis to find the number of nodes and evaluate whether you can eliminate some decision-makers and push decision making to the lowest possible level. Try to “clean” the calendar – eliminate unnecessary meetings and use Agile methodologies to streamline the processes and focus on what matters.
Weak time-management disciplines
While excessive collaboration and overworking is frequently celebrated in the workaholics cultures, few employees can control their work time or have the audacity to fight against unnecessary meetings.
Possible solution: it’s good to focus on benefits of collaboration, but the picture is not complete without its costs. Use software to measure and understand how employees spent their time and how that affects burnout and organizational productivity. By limiting the number of emails, meetings and calls, leaders can liberate as much as 20% of their employees’ time and put them back in control of their workflow.
Overloading of the most capable
Overload is a common problem among all employees as it is generally assumed that with the help of modern technology people can be more productive and accomplish more, but it affects the most talented employees even more. In one company HBR studied, the average manager was losing one day a week to email and other electronic communications and two days a week to meetings, and the highly talented managers were affected even more.
Possible solution: use software to track the unproductive activities and workload of your HiPos and take step to avoid the trap overloading your most productive and talented employees.