3 ways you can build resilience to overcome employee burnout and enhance well-being

Written by Ali Shalfrooshan, Head of International Assessment R&D

Building and maintaining resilience is the key to overcoming employee burnout — a major issue affecting workers and companies today. Learn three ways you can build resilience across your organisation, helping your employees enjoy better well-being and enhanced productivity at work, even in the midst of new challenges.

Educate yourself on the signs and impact of burnout

Employee burnout is the result of prolonged work-related stress. Some level of stress is natural, but excessive stress can cause employees to become overwhelmed and disillusioned with their careers. Declining productivity, increased mental health struggles, and being overwhelmed and fatigued – this is how burnout usually manifests itself.

A 2022 survey found that 65 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds who left or were planning to leave their jobs cited poor mental health as a determining factor.

Oftentimes the most dedicated leaders and employees may be the most susceptible to burnout because their ongoing hard work and emotional investment can leave them depleted. Logging those extra hours, checking emails at night or on the weekend, and taking on extra work are all signs of a dedicated employee, but also make them vulnerable to burnout.

Read more: Why is resilience in leadership important?

In a June 2021 Gallup survey, 74 percent of employees said they experience burnout on the job at least sometimes. It’s an all-too-common issue that affects professionals across industries, departments, and roles.

Employee burnout comes with serious consequences, both for organisations and for employees. The crippling stress and exhaustion can cause employees to feel they have no choice but to take long periods off of work.

Other dire consequences for organisations include:

  • Loss of top talent
  • Decline in employee productivity and performance
  • Drop in employee engagement and morale
  • Failure to innovate and adapt
  • Damaged brand reputation

Simply understanding the problem isn’t enough – employers need to understand the solution. Burnout and resilience are deeply connected, with the psychological resources that underpin resilience providing the road map to develop greater well-being and combat burnout.

These resources and strategies allow individuals, departments, and organisations to flex, learn, and grow in the face of challenge and change. During stressful moments, resilience will power individuals to not only survive, but also adapt and recover. Promoting resilience across your workforce empowers employees to enhance their well-being and be less likely to experience burnout.

Gain insight into your employees’ resilience

Before you can work toward the goal of building resilience, you need to know where your employees are starting from in order to properly identify their strengths and opportunities for development. What resources do your employees and teams already possess to help them overcome difficulties? What development areas are present that may make employees more vulnerable to burnout?

A questionnaire can be an excellent tool in bringing these answers to light. It may be difficult for employees to accurately self-report their own levels of resilience, but answers to concrete questions in a survey can paint a realistic picture of where an employee stands and where there is room for growth.

You can also gain insight into your employees’ thoughts on burnout, well-being, and resilience by promoting a culture of open dialogue around these topics. Initiate conversations with employees to get their honest thoughts while fostering more transparency and empathy in your approach to promoting well-being.

Take action to foster resilience-related skills

Understanding the issue more broadly and knowing where your employees stand are essential first steps, but the work doesn’t stop there. Resilience can be developed, so it’s time to turn your attention to implementing strategies that will enhance resilience among your employees.

Concentrate on building skills and strategies like the following:

  1. Adaptability: Changing circumstances call for changes in behaviour and approach. Employees must remain flexible in the face of change in order to move forward.
  2. Challenge orientation: Rather than view challenges negatively, employees should focus on the opportunities inherent in challenges to stretch their abilities and grow.
  3. Support seeking: Employees shouldn’t feel they have to go it alone but should readily reach out to others for support when they need extra help dealing with difficult situations.

Learn more about building resilience

Employees and organisations can benefit greatly from an increased focus on resilience in the workplace. Resilient employees experience better mental health and overall well-being at work while remaining engaged on the job rather than suffering from burnout.

How to counter employee burnout through resilience

Learn why burnout is an issue worthy of employers’ and employees’ attention and how resilience is the answer to fighting this problem.

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