Caring About People Without Sacrificing the Bottom Line

caring about peopleBurnout is a problem. We’ve all felt the signs at some point, but managing – even being aware of – burnout in our employees is a skill few of us really have. It’s not as simple as telling them to, “Go home,” “Take a day off,” or giving them a pat on the back and a sincere “Thank you!” To avoid burnout, company leaders need to instill a connected culture, each and every day. It takes a certain mindset to do this, for sure, but it’s worth it – to your bottom line, to your employees and their families, and to you as a responsible leader.

The factors contributing to burnout are vast. We’re working more – connected 24/7. Even when we’re not at work… we’re working. The information overload is draining. Commutes are longer – adding to the grind. We’re becoming less connected to family, friends, co-workers, and communities; we just don’t have the time, and it’s affecting our health because humans are hardwired to connect and when we don’t, we suffer.

The progression of burnout is well-documented:

  • Emotional exhaustion: We all know this one… you come home from work and all you want to do is sit in front of the TV. It’s hard to even talk to your family, you’re so wiped out.
  • Depersonalization: We become less civil in our interactions with others. This leads to unhealthy workplaces – and homes.
  • Sense of low personal accomplishment: You start to feel like all your efforts don’t really matter. This leads to depression.

The effects of burnout are deep and lasting. When employees suffer from burnout, there will be a decrease in their work quality; mistakes become more common. These employees have an overall lower sense of morale and miss more days of work, due to the increased health problems resulting from the burnout. These employees are also much more likely to look for a new job, costing the company a great deal in lost human capital. When turnover is high, morale among those who remain is low, and the cost of training replacements can be crippling.

In a recent session of ExecuNet Master Class, Tony’s guest was Michael Lee Stallard, President of E Pluribus Partners and co-founder of ConnectionCulture.com. Michael speaks, teaches, coaches and consults with leaders to help them create workplace cultures that improve productivity, innovation and results. He speaks and teaches at a wide variety of highly successful organizations, and Texas Christian University established the TCU Center for Connection Culture based on Michael’s work. Needless to say, he’s a leading expert on what it takes to avoid burnout.

In the Class, Michael talked about the need for a Connection Culture, where people are resources to each other. They are genuinely connected. This makes a huge difference in our performance, our health, and in our happiness. There is a bond based on shared identity, empathy, and understanding that moves individuals toward group-centered membership. The me is surrendered for the we, but the me is not lost. Leaders who create relationship excellence communicate an inspiring vision, value people, and allow those people a voice. When the elements needed to thrive at work are present in a workplace culture, employees are mentally and physically healthier, more trusting, productive, cooperative, and creative.

I encourage you to learn much more by listening to what Michael had to say. Check out the recording of the Master Class he led, The Surprising Way to Reduce Burnout Within Organizations.

You won’t be disappointed!



Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is ExecuNet's president and chief economist. An Arjay Miller Scholar, Mark received his MBA from Stanford University and a BA in economics from Yale University. He joined ExecuNet in 1993, with extensive marketing and new product and business development experience, having served as president and founder of A&M Associates, an investment management firm. Mark's corporate leadership experience includes several senior marketing and financial positions with RCA Global Communications (a GE subsidiary) and American Can Company.

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