Employee burnout has become a key issue for many healthcare organizations, as people begin finding themselves in increasingly stressful working conditions. Because of this, how to prevent burnout has become a top priority for many organizations.
In this month’s Entrepreneur magazine, Adam Bornstein wrote a great piece titled “Recovery Is Part of the Race” on considering this issue from a different perspective. Rather than trying to reduce work-related stress, he suggests thinking about how much we are draining our people, and then focusing on filling them back up again.
We want people to “work hard, care deeply, and push the limits they think they can achieve,” and that requires a balance between intense work and rest. Much like someone training for a marathon, a winning formula requires hard work to build endurance – but it also adequate rest periods to recover.
To “fill people back up,” Bornstein suggests five different approaches:
Embrace Time Off
Consider a different approach to time off for people. The old approach of two weeks’ vacation is outdated and gets magnified with all the remote work where the tendency is to be “plugged in” all the time. If organizations are hiring good people that understand the commitment to the organization and that are trusted employees, many organizations are extending the flexibility to take the time they need – rather than boxing people into a defined time limit (e.g., two weeks’ PTO).
Remove Fear of Failure
People inherently don’t want to make mistakes, and no one enjoys getting reprimanded for a mistake by their boss. A culture that doesn’t encourage people to push some limits and that is intolerant of mistakes is draining on employees. If organizations can remove the fear associated with making a mistake, they can reduce stress and improve creativity and innovation. Treat mistakes like a learning experience that everyone can use to get better and grow.
Invest in Personal Growth
Take an interest in people and really make an effort to find out where they would like to improve, and then encourage them and help them find actual opportunities to achieve their goals. A small investment in helping people grow can pay big dividends toward employees actually doing more work because it’s fulfilling.
Understand Career Goals
Similar to investing in personal growth, it’s also important to understand how people would like to progress within an organization. It’s about not only what people can do for the organization, but also what the organization can do for the people.
Encourage Deep Thought
Give people some time to think and experiment without any boundaries. That’s often hard to do given the pace that everyone is working at, but letting people consider “what if” scenarios and encouraging people to consider multiple options to current challenges stimulates creativity – which in turn helps to keep people excited and motivated.
It’s OK to be working hard, but if organizations consistently also work to show people that they care, are investing in their growth, and are providing opportunities to recharge and recover, the issue of burnout will come up far less frequently.