Mental Health Webinar: Addressing Employee Burnout

April 23, 2021

HR Policy's latest mental health webinar focused on the key factors contributing to employee burnout and the best practices companies can use to keep employees engaged. 

Burnout is not just an individual issue but an organizational issue.  Burnout is now included in the World Health Organization's Classification of Diseases and is defined as "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."  Individuals experiencing burnout often face the following six circumstances:

  • Unsustainable workload,
  • Perceived lack of control,
  • Insufficient rewards for effort,
  • Lack of supportive community,
  • Lack of fairness, and
  • Mismatched values and skills.

How can leaders identify burnout at both the individual and organizational level?  Alison Cupito, Global Mental Health Program Lead, Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture, discussed how leaders can identify burnout and provided tips for alleviating the pressures that can lead to burnout.  Accenture's Mental Health Ally program aims to break workplace stigma on mental health by providing easy access to mental health training to all employees.  This program builds personal awareness around mental health and also allows employees to be trained as Mental Health Allies to serve as confidential resources for their peers. 

Recognize and thank employees for their work:  Theresa Monti, Vice President, Total Rewards and HR Systems, The Kroger Company, discussed the importance of taking time to simply thank employees during stressful or busy times.  This recognition provided many employees with comfort knowing they were not alone and were supported by their employer.  Understanding the different individual, team and organizational stressors allows organizations to effectively address burnout.  Data already available to employers, such EAP benefits utilization, can provide useful information on where employees may need additional help. 

:ead by example and put on your oxygen mask first.  The best way for leaders to show employees that their mental health matters is to take care of themselves as well.  Managers can lead by example by being authentic about their own challenges, empowering their team through flexibility and trust, setting boundaries around workload, building knowledge on mental health, and continually recognizing employees for their work. 

HR business partners and call centers crucial to employees feeling heard.  Lisa Bisaccia, former Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at CVS Health, closed out the webinar by stating: "Employees in HR have had to become empathetic listeners to provide a non-judgmental ear for colleagues."  Many individuals reaching out to HR are not looking for immediate solutions or to change a policy, but are "calling to be heard."