Employee burnout is impacting UK workforces.
A study by Deloitte found that employee burnout costs UK businesses £45 billion in 2020. This figure has risen by 6% over 3 years and hints at a growing problem.
Employee burnout is not limited to financial losses. It affects the collective wellbeing of a workforce— and can be a matter of life and death. Employees suffering from burnout are 23% more likely to require treatment in A&E.
With the World Health Organisation recently recognising employee burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’, it’s clear employers must now embrace the responsibility of understanding and addressing this issue.
In previous articles, we’ve talked about employee burnout, its signs and symptoms, and how to deal with it. But in this article, we’re going straight to the root of the problem and discussing what measures you can take to prevent employee burnout.
FOSTER A CULTURE OF CHANGE
The first step towards preventing employee burnout requires removing the stigma around mental wellbeing in the workplace.
Employees need to feel comfortable discussing their mental wellbeing with their employers. However, since burnout is a relatively new concept, most employers do not have a culture in place where these discussions can be held effectively.
In some cases, employers discourage employees from discussing their troubles. 9% of employees who disclosed a mental health problem are dismissed, demoted or disciplined.
If we want to avoid employee burnout, we need to change our work culture.
Raising awareness and instilling an organisation-wide culture change can provide exceptional ROI, with estimates ranging from 6:1 to 11:1. This is due to improved productivity, lower absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.
However, these interventions depend on employee participation. This is why removing the stigma around discussing mental wellbeing in the workplace is so important.
DEVELOP MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY
The second step goes hand in hand with the first: employers need to encourage and develop mental health literacy at the workplace.
Doing so enables employees to better understand, articulate and even manage their own mental health. Plus, if an employee does suffer from burnout, they know they can turn to someone within the company who will listen and provide the support they need.
This process requires training. In an ideal world, employers would be aware of tools and resources that improve workplace wellbeing.
Unfortunately, there is a long way to go on this front. A recent study found that only 9% of all employees (and 13% of all managers) have attended training that focused on mental health.
To find the best solutions to burnout, there needs to be an understanding of what affects mental wellbeing. Our research shows that there are six lifestyle factors that influence wellbeing: meaningful activity, stress management, exercise, helping others, sleep, and social connections.
We call these factors the ‘Six Pillars of Wellbeing’. An imbalance in any one of these areas can cause an employee to experience burnout.
This is why our methodology, championed by researchers in mental health, focuses on helping people better understand and fulfill the Six Pillars of Wellbeing. In our pilot programme with the law firm LinkLaters, 70% agreed that BetterSpace helped improve their mental health literacy.
PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH TOOLS AND SUPPORT
In order to successfully drive a shift in company culture and develop mental health literacy in the workplace, there needs to be a proactive, long-term strategy.
This requires providing the right mental health tools and support early on as a preventative, not a reactive, measure.
It is important to remember that no two employees are the same. This means an employee’s needs and concerns are unlikely to be met by a one-size-fits-all wellbeing programme.
What is required is a tailored approach.
Deloitte found that employees want options when it comes to their wellbeing. The most effective programmes are those that are part of the company culture and offer a broad range of resources. Programmes with preventative large-scale initiatives have been shown clearly to be the most effective when it comes to improving employee wellbeing.
Our research shows that employees respond best to solutions that give them options and put them in control of their wellbeing at work. This choice-based model makes them more likely to engage in behaviours that create long-lasting improvements.
Our model is all about personalisation, choice, and prevention over cure.
In our pilot programme, 81% of those surveyed found BetterSpace provided resources that were good for their mental wellbeing, while 70% believed our tools and support helped improve their overall wellbeing.
Instilling an organisation-wide culture change, developing mental health literacy, and providing tailored mental health tools and support are all effective preventative measures to tackle employee burnout. They ensure a happy, healthy, and engaged workforce.