Confronting Burnout

“Studies now show that nearly 81% of workers face some form of burnout or mental health issue, and 68% of employees say their daily work has been interrupted by these challenges.”

From our regular discussions with HR leaders around the world, it’s clear that the organizations outperforming their peers are those that have cultivated a strong sense of empathy and flexibility, developed new skills to address workforce needs, and extended holistic mental health support to employees.”

This article in MIT Sloan Management Review written by Josh Bersin highlights the important relationship of business and mental health.

It’s not sufficient to just offer workshops, lunchtime talks and ‘after school’ programs for teams and employees. Well-being is an ecosystem focus, everyone is accountable. Even though “there is a growing trend of new roles measuring and improving mental health at work”, it extends beyond that. Every individual is accountable for their own well-being, yet businesses also need to recognize that they are accountable for impacting well-being. Businesses create stress for individuals.

In business we have to cultivate wellbeing aware leaders, this means everyone has the task of understanding how their own wellbeing is intertwined with their performance and how it impacts others. Shouting at a colleague, calling a colleague out for making a mistake, being too busy to be present with a colleague and unable to find a way to give them considered or un-rushed attention, speaking through gritted teeth, sending unkind and sharp emails; are all examples of rampant behavior present in many cultures, and these behaviors impact a number of dimensions of well-being, including emotional and social well-being. Emotions are contagious and this type of behavior only escalates.

We are often asked, what’s the well-being ROI? Why bother? MIT Sloan Management Review shares “Research shows that “healthy” organizations outperform their peers in a range of ways. Rates of absenteeism are almost 11 times more likely to be lower, and these employers are more than three times more likely to retain people. Companies that care about staff well-being are at least twice as likely to delight customers, to be identified as a “great place to work,” and to exceed financial targets. These companies also adapt more readily to change and are more effective at innovating.

Our work with early-stage entrepreneurs and founders is so critically important, not just to help these professional business athletes manage the risk of burnout and their own emotional and spiritual well-being, but also to support them as they build sustainable and healthy businesses. Toxic cultures need to end, tomorrow’s business ecosystems will look and feel different and starting at the beginning with early stage businesses is where we believe it matters most.


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