Workplace Options (WPO), the largest independent provider of holistic wellbeing solutions, hosted a global virtual conference: Navigating Burnout to Create Resilient Work Environments to demonstrate WPO’s leadership in empowering employers to create healthy workplaces where employees thrive. As an industry innovator for more than 40 years, WPO strives to build a more resilient future for the world’s 8 billion people. In 2022, the company helped 79 million people worldwide by providing support for emotional, practical, and physical health.
Identifying chronic situational stressors on the job is key to eliminating burnout and improving the psychological safety of an organization. Last year, WPO provided 116,000+ companies with bespoke services including data-driven tools to measure and monitor workplace stress and other metrics that affect an organization’s health, resilience, and culture.
“Employee burnout and presenteeism continue to be common and critical concerns for companies around the world. WPO understands such challenges and delivers customized solutions on a global scale,” said Alan King, WPO President and CEO. “Our localized services specialize in helping organizations, in more than 200 countries and territories, assess and mitigate toxic work environments and take action to ensure that employees feel safe being their authentic selves.”
The 600+ attendees of the Burnout Conference included organizational leaders in Human Resources, Benefits, Wellbeing, and Occupational Health as well as C-suite executives.
Dr. Michael Leiter, Professor Emeritus at Acadia University, and author of “The Burnout Challenge,” discussed how employees who face “mismatches on core motives and values” experience burnout at work. Burnout is a three-part condition: exhaustion (unmanageable demands), cynicism (disengaged and disrespected), and inefficacy (lack of accomplishment). These three syndromes are the “mismatches” that result in burnout.
Dr. Lisbeth Claus, Professor Emerita of Management and Global Human Resources, Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University, presented on why “burnout is a duty of care obligation of the employer.” Although, the legal implications of this employer responsibility vary from country to country and culture to culture. In the US, there are no specific OSHA standards to regulate stress or burnout. In the European Union/UK, there are stress management laws, the right to disconnect (new laws in Belgium and France), and the Working Time Directive.
Universally, the employee should not be blamed for suffering from burnout. According to the World Health Organization, burnout is not a personal illness, but a work-related syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress and lack of work/life balance. Therefore, every organization should have a burnout management team and protocol in place. When addressing burnout, this team must focus on organizational-level interventions rather than employee-focused actions.
Dr. Myles Druckman, SVP and Global Medical Director at International SOS addressed how burnout is an occupational hazard. He reiterated that managers must focus on “fixing the workplace rather than fixing the worker.” The most successful burnout interventions seek to improve workflow, teamwork, and leadership. The process for these interventions:
- Identify stressors.
- Receive employee feedback.
- Improve work processes.
- Train managers.
- Activate leadership.
Ann Artois, L&D and Wellbeing Specialist in HR at Swift, shared insight on best practices for preventing burnout by fostering a healthy environment and empathetic workplace. The pandemic proved the need to be resilient in an ever-changing world. Supporting employees through times of change, complexity, and ambiguity is vital to achieving a productive and positive workspace. In terms of culture, leaders and managers must champion an inclusive culture where every employee is encouraged to express themselves and develop their careers.
Today, a growing number of companies recognize how employees’ performances are influenced by psychosocial factors within the organization, and leaders must implement a holistic wellbeing strategy for organizational success. To meet this demand, WPO created a consulting practice and utilized its global data to forecast burnout risks at work. This forward-focused mindset drove WPO in predicting disruptive environments and developing proactive solutions such Revive. Revive provides comprehensive emotional health support and services that are specifically designed to assist with burnout recovery and return-to-work preparation.