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Design Jobs to Better Match Employees’ Needs to Curb Burnout

There exist problems to be addressed at the heart of any organization

Burnout is a response to chronic job stressors — high-frequency events embedded in workplace practices that have not been successfully managed. Over time, these stressors lead to an erosion of workers' energy, involvement and self-confidence to the point where they feel exhausted, cynical and ineffective in their job and "burnt out." There are many well-intentioned efforts to solve burnout in the world of work, but frequently, they address the effects of the problem — not its source. Burnout is a management and organizational issue, not a physical or mental health issue, so promoting self-care won't usually help employees recover. Think of burnt-out employees as canaries in the coal mine. When the canary keels over, we acknowledge that the environment is hazardous — we don't tell the canary it should take a long weekend.

The whole notion of burnout treatment needs to be flipped. Burnt-out individuals show that there are urgent problems to be addressed at the heart of any organization. The real solution is to redesign workplaces so that the causes of burnout are no longer so frequent or intense. In other words, how can chronic job stressors be successfully managed at their source?

The answer to this question lies in improving the match, or good fit, between workers and the workplace. Yes, it is okay to help individuals cope with burnout, but it is more important to create better job matches for them.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Harvard Business Review. 

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