In 2019 the World Health Organisation recognised Burnout as an “occupational phenomenon. Burnout is defined on the Mental Health UK website as –
“Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It can occur when you experience long-term stress in your job, or when you have worked in a physically or emotionally draining role for a long time”
Throughout her career in business management and psychology, Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier has spearheaded a national dialogue on the crucial issues of leadership resilience and workplace health and delivers a number of talks in this field including her talk on “Front line mental agility: Preventing and managing compassion fatigue and burnout”
She has kindly allowed us to publish this short article she has written on burnout
The biggest risk facing companies and organizations in 2022 is to ignore the mental health state, needs, and most importantly opportunity. Burnout and stress at all-time highs across professions, compounded by unrelenting new acute and chronic stressors.
Most leaders say they value mental health. Many leaders are constantly receiving a volume of demands that pushes them well beyond capacity, making a focus on mental health disappear. Yet, this is one of those important and urgent matters. The consequences of not incorporating mental health as part of your enterprise’s, your team’s, and your own strategy can be far-reaching. Most leaders have seen team members go on medical leave, and this trend is unfortunately not going down.
Yet, we do have research-based information on the positive results obtained when proven mental health-focused tactics are implemented. Many of them are easy – for example, top of the list is to provide mental health literacy training to leaders and co-workers; another is to focus on improving relationships between team members and leaders. Businesses who take action are likely to discover lower mental health disability absence, as well better retention and attraction. Others will be at risk.
A bit more on burnout:
- burnout has 3 components (exhaustion, cynicism, and performance problems) – critical to understand them to lead to a change. These components typically build one at a time, often insidiously. A useful way to think about burnout is as a problem in the relationship between the individual and their work.
- the pandemic has had a number of influences on both the individual and the workplace often (but not always) making the risk for burnout higher.
- research, best practice and my own work point to a few key workplace factors in moderating the influence of work on the individual’s burnout: workload management (e.g., job fit has changed for some; team objectives may need to be reset), recognition (e.g., one of my clients cried reading her yearly review just last month because this was the first time her new supervisor, who started during the pandemic, really ‘saw’ all her work – this recognition cost nothing and was very positive), community, civility and respect, involvement and influence, fairness and alignment of values.
NB. Thank you to Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier for allowing us to publish this.