Putting Out the Fire: What Causes Organizational “Burnout” and How to Fix It

Burnout's Presence Pre-Pandemic

The topic of employee burnout within an organization has been a significant issue long before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – in fact, occupational burnout has been studied since the 1970s. Additionally, in recognition of burnout and its existence in our current society, the World Health Organization (WHO) included burnout within the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) - officially endorsed in 2019. The costs of burnout, specifically in the healthcare industry, have been well-documented to include reduced work effort, reduced productivity and increased turnover, which have been estimated to account for $4.6 billion of annual losses. To combat such costs, organizations began to offer wellness programs and initiatives to their employees in order to maximize their resilience and personal wellbeing. Unfortunately, only one in five employees access these programs without incentives, and focusing solely on the individual could mean missing out on the power of potential that lies within a group.

Impact of COVID-19

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed burnout to unprecedented levels in 2020 – 2.6 billion people went into some form of lockdown, and places of employment were closed or partially closed, affecting 81 percent of the global workforce. The subsequent loneliness and isolation that followed had significant impact – in a recent survey across industries and supervisory roles, respondents reported the following:

  • 89 percent of respondents said their work life was getting worse.
  • 85 percent said their well-being had declined.
  • Only 21 percent rated their well-being as “good,” and a mere 2 percent rated it as “excellent.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Scott Spohn
Partner, DHG Healthcare
Scott.Spohn@dhg.com

Christi Rich
Senior Consultant, DHG Healthcare
christi.rich@dhg.com

Lydia Haas
Senior Manager, DHG Healthcare
lydia.haas@dhg.com

Megan Six
Senior Manager, Human Resources
megan.six@dhg.com

Victoria Grady
Professor-in-Residence
vgrady@dhg.com

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