Study Shows Leaders are Failing to Spot the Signs of Burnout
LHH, a global career solutions and talent development company, released new data that reveals a looming worker wellness crisis in the U.S. and globally. Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic as jobs remain unfilled across key industries and skills shortages abound, workers are burned out and leaders are failing to recognize the signs and address the issue.
The study from LHH and The Adecco Group, Resetting Normal: Defining a New Era of Work, was conducted among 14,800 workers across 25 countries and shows that 38% of workers globally have been suffering from burnout over the last 12 months, with 32% saying their mental health has declined as a result. The toll is the heaviest on younger workers, with 45% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennials reporting burnout.
At the same time, working long hours is on the rise. Globally, 63% say they have had to work 40 hours or more per week during the pandemic, and 43% believe they will have to keep working more than 40 hours per week going forward. In fact, many workers report being more productive since companies implemented work-from-home policies in response to the pandemic, with 40% saying they have been more productive working from home than they were in an office and 42% saying they are just as productive at home as they were in an office.
“As companies struggle with worker retention amid increasing resignations, we’re facing a workforce crisis that is not getting enough focus,” said John Morgan, President of LHH. “While increases in productivity may sound like a positive, those increases are likely happening at the expense of employee wellbeing. If we don’t collectively tackle employee wellness challenges, things could get worse and have not only public health impacts but also potential economic impacts.”
Beyond the wellness crisis itself, a key concern revealed by the study is that leaders are failing to address and even recognize the issue. More than half (53%) of managers say they have found it difficult to identify staff who are struggling with mental health and 51% say they have trouble identifying the warning signs of burnout. Meanwhile, 67% of non-managers say leaders don’t meet their expectations for checking on their mental wellbeing.
“We’re at a tipping point with worker wellbeing having the potential to upend companies’ best laid plans for shoring up their workforces,” said Morgan. “We must invest in managers to help them learn the signs of burnout in their employees and themselves, and most importantly, to effectively act on them to build healthy and resilient teams.”
Looking ahead, 70% of study respondents across all groups made it clear that having support in the workplace for mental wellbeing will be of extreme importance going into the future.
Morgan says companies will not only need to train managers on identifying and addressing employee wellness issues, which requires a whole new set of leadership skills, but they will also need to take a hard look at their cultures and how worker wellbeing fits in. “Organizational empathy must be incorporated into culture to avoid what could become a significant crisis for workers and companies alike.”
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