How to empower employees and create a shared sense of purpose

According to the American Psychological Association, 81% of people would look for jobs that support mental health when looking for future employment opportunities. But while many companies have increased support for the physical, mental, social and financial well-being of their employees, they are more focused on correcting symptoms than solving the actual ones Causes of employee burnout. And that’s partly because of a major perception gap, as some leaders are still not in tune with how their employees really feel.

A recently global report by Workday Peakon shows that workers in industries such as transportation, government and healthcare are at particular risk of burnout. Industries at higher risk of burnout, including energy and resources, consumers, and nonprofit organizations, saw declining employee survey scores on the top three burnout risk indicators: energy levels of employeesFulfillment at work and connectedness of team members.

Amid telltale trends like the current one Great resignation And quiet cessation, it is clear that many organizations place too much expectation and pressure on their employees without ensuring that all of their needs are met. Unfortunately, this sets companies back when they need their employees – their most important asset – to be engaged and productive.

The good news is that there are many concrete, and often simple, things all businesses can do to reduce the risk of burnout before it’s too late.

Cultivate a more compassionate work culture

While the pandemic and other societal issues have helped drive a more employee-centric mindset in recent years, the risk of burnout in 2022 shows that more needs to be done to foster an inclusive, supportive, and compassionate work culture. For example:

  • Create a centralized mentoring resource for employees: We know that amid returns to office, many caring relatives are exposed to greater stress given the upheaval in routine. Centralizing all care resources into a single hub can prevent employees from wasting valuable time searching for benefits or eligibility policies. Workday has created a Global Caregiving Hub that includes services and resources to support caregivers at various stages of life and events, from family planning to caring for those with special needs or chronic illnesses, supporting elderly loved ones and caring for pets. Leaders should continually market these resources to ensure they reach everyone. Whenever possible, simplify the eligibility and submission requirements for specific programs by standardizing the process across as many locations as possible to make them even easier for employees to use.
  • Encourage employee support: Another way to make resources and support more accessible is to create a dedicated mental health channel or employee resource group (ERG) that provides real-time guidance, guidance, and support to all employees.
  • Dialog for opening the drive: Open dialogue can be difficult as employees may fear being judged or facing potential consequences. To encourage transparent dialogue, managers should ensure that all employee feedback is heard, valued and respected. Leaders can speak openly about the employee trends they see, take positive and quick action, and share the progress made. At Workday, we use our intelligent listening platform, Workday Peakon Employee Voice, which provides our employees with a confidential platform to share honest feedback about their experiences, expectations, and health and well-being. Managers can then use these insights to take meaningful action and act on feedback in real time. This gives employees the feeling of being heard on important issues, from returning to the office to the need for more learning and development opportunities.
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Empower leaders to solve problems head-on

Information is power. That’s why relieving burnout starts with listening to your employees and meeting them where they are. However, some leaders may need training and support to quickly recognize and respond to the signs of burnout risk. Here are some ways you can strengthen them:

  • Be Stress Aware: Train your employees to become leaders alert to signs of stress among your team members, such as B. a change in energy level, sudden withdrawal, disinterest, pessimism, difficulty coping, frustration, or drop in performance. When team members show any of these signs, encourage managers to be sensitive and understanding and not pressure them to discuss something they don’t want. At Workday, we offer enablement tools like on-demand courses in Workday Learning so our HR leaders can learn the skills to lead conversations about mental health with authenticity and empathy in the workplace.
  • Empower leaders to: Ensure that executives are not only able to easily approve requests for time off for health or personal reasons, but also have the authority to do so Drive team strategy and prioritization and that they are equipped with the knowledge to also direct employees to the appropriate benefits or internal communication channels when needed.
  • Set an example: One solution is to encourage all managers and HR leaders to take advantage of any available time off benefits or hybrid work opportunities themselves. In this way, they take on an active role model function and promote this positive behavior in their teams.

Create a shared sense of purpose

Employee engagement and overall success come when employees are collectively aligned to an organization’s purpose, mission and values. Employees not only want to feel important and connected to their workplace, but they also find meaning when they can see their positive impact on others and the company. Measures to drive this forward include:

  • Explain the big picture: It’s important to share how and why an initiative or strategy aligns with the wider organization mission and vision and how each team’s work contributes to it. Employees are more likely to agree with a strategy when they understand the thinking behind it and how their work contributes to it. Workday’s goal is to “inspire a better day at work for everyone,” which drives our interactions with all of our stakeholders—employees, customers, the communities in which we live and work, society at large, partners/suppliers, and shareholders – and helping us to stand up for each other every day.
  • Quality before quantity: Focus on your employees’ performance at work, not the number of hours they spend at work. When an employee feels that their worth depends solely on the time they spend at work, they will stop focusing on what matters most: the quality of their work.
  • Prioritize education and training: Continuous skill development and a continuous sense of growth help employees feel fulfilled and content in a company, reduce the risk of burnout and overall promote long-term engagement. At Workday, we encourage our employees to participate in gigs, which are short-term opportunities that allow them to learn new skills, make new connections, and gain broader experiences that will help them in their career paths.
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Above are just a few examples of positive action that can be taken to reduce the risk of burnout. But one thing is clear; Doing nothing is not an option. According to the World Health Organization, anxiety and depression are already costing the global workforce up to $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. And after the events of the last two years, employees are no longer willing to stay in negative work environments. As more economic challenges loom, leaders need to tune into how their employees are feeling and take steps to prevent burnout. Investing time and attention in people isn’t just the right thing to do; It’s also the best thing a company can do for its bottom line.

Phil Chambers is General Manager of Workday Peakon Employee Voice and co-founder of Peakon, which Workday acquired in 2021. Prior to Peakon, Phil was Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product and Technology at some of the most successful start-ups including Gumtree , Qype and Podio.

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