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Is the price of ignoring 'burnout' in your organisation too high to pay?

Headlines today showed the not so shocking news that Ireland is among the worst in Europe for employee burnout. The research, from WorkHuman, showed that in Ireland, we are largely failing our employees when it comes to burnout, chronic stress, recognition and more.

With a talent acquisition and retention crisis on our hands, I find myself asking the question…If employers continue to bury their heads in the sand with this ongoing issue, is the price to pay too high?

But like any good business leader knows, where there is a weakness, there is an opportunity and where there is an opportunity, there is potential for growth. So what can we learn from these findings today?

Companies nationally are competing for talent, and losing despite offers of higher salary. I have spoken to so many company managers and recruiters who are scratching their heads, wondering how they’ve lost team members, or how a potential new hire has turned down their incredible offer.

When you dig a little deeper, people are not just seeking the big salary. Even in these times of inflation and squeezed income, a big salary is not always enough to get or keep the best people.

So firstly, I’d like to share some feedback from my individual clients who come to me seeking career change…..

When working with clients facing career options, a question I often ask is “if we take salary of the table for a moment, what would be the critical factor to determine which company to work for?”

Most common answers include:

Worklife balance – “I want more quality time with my family and to not be on 24/7”.

Professional Development – “A clearly outlined development plan/programme. I want to work somewhere where I will be upskilled, developed with a clear path of progression.”

Positive people - “I want to work in an environment where people are positive, happy, fulfilled and supportive. I spend a lot of hours in work, I want to enjoy that time.”

Impact – “I want to feel like I have a positive impact on people’s lives, the world.”

Recognition – “I would like to be valued and appreciated, acknowledged for the work I do, for the impact I have on our team and business. Not just a cog in the wheel with a never ending list of ‘next’.”

In fact, I have worked with countless people who have left higher paid roles to welcome some of the above factors into their lives, who have gone on to feel more satisfied, more valued and ultimately more fulfilled not just in their career, but their wider life.

And now… if you are an organisation struggling with acquisition and retention – it is critical you re-evaluate your strategies for recruitment as well as employee engagement, well-being and satisfaction.

Today’s findings offer a real opportunity for learning.

Leaders who accept a need for change in these core areas and make conscious efforts to work on them will be the drivers of successful businesses in the future.

At your next team meeting, make it an action to get frank and honest about these areas. Identify your gaps and areas of improvement and make a plan to address each and every one of them.

  1. How are we managing our employees workloads / worklife balance / risks of stress and burnout? What needs to change?

  2. How do we support a sense of belonging, of being part of a team? How do we create morale and a positive connection amongst our people, at all levels? What needs to change?

  3. Do we have a clear, personal and professional development programme in place for our people? If you said yes, ask yourselves, do we actually give it the time and attention it needs or is it really a tick the box exercise? What needs to change?

  4. How do we recognise our employees and business achievements, successes and wins? Have we checked with our employees if they are in fact happy with how we handle this? What needs to change?

So, if you answered ‘nothing needs to change’ to any of the above but are in a place of talent acquisition or retention struggles, then please allow me to speak frankly. You are not being honest with yourselves and the price to pay for ignoring the need for change is simply too high to pay.

It is more important than ever before to differentiate your business and develop real, tangible unique selling points for why you are the employer of choice. Because the best talent out there has choice. And we are all human.

If you would be interested in support to make these changes, please feel free to reach out for a chat about what I can offer you, your team and your organisation.


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