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The 6 Best Agile HR Solutions for Fighting Burnout

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April 30, 2024

The pursuit of ambitious goals often comes hand in hand with the risk of burnout. As organisations strive for growth and innovation, employees may find themselves overwhelmed, stressed and ultimately at risk of leaving. 

It’s a challenge that many companies face, but one that can be addressed through a shared commitment between employer and employee.

Recently, we had the opportunity to work closely with a client who was grappling with this very issue. Their workforce was experiencing burnout, with top talent already resigning, even as the company geared up for significant investment and set ambitious key performance indicators (KPIs). 

The solution we devised was not about implementing a one-size-fits-all fix, but rather about creating an environment of open communication, empowerment and flexibility.

How we successfully beat burnout

Realign Goals & KPIs 

Firstly, we openly acknowledged the challenges the company was facing and re-communicated the goals and KPIs that had been set. Clear communication was essential in ensuring that everyone understood the overarching objectives and their role in achieving them.

Encourage Dialogue

We knew the key to a safe environment is to encourage dialogue to flourish. We gave training to leaders to enable them to engage in candid conversations to guide their team to prioritise effectively with the end goal in sight.

Streamline Meetings

Analysing the communication channels helped us discover that meetings were held too often, for too long, and overran regularly. So we played ‘Meeting Killer’ (hit me up for more details!), and cut out unnecessary meetings. 

We made all meetings 25 minutes long by having set agendas, encouraging prep for meetings and being clear about what decisions needed to be made (and how).

Raise Awareness of Burnout

We ran some sessions (and provided resources) on recognising your own burn out, and how to take personal responsibility for this recognition. We re-framed reaching out for help as a brave move that helps the company as well as the employee.

Facilitate Feedback Channels

We provided a Slack Channel for people to highlight the key frustrations that were winding them up (with clear guidelines that it was to point out processes and impact, not people). We posed these challenges at stand ups and asked for ideas on the Slack channel. 

Wow. The employees really shone with this – they came up with resourceful solutions regularly. We implemented those solutions as quickly as we could and were transparent about the ones we couldn’t fix quickly.

Promote Flexibility

Finally, we encouraged flexible working and provided the tools for asynchronous working. This shift empowered employees to manage their time effectively and resulted in a noticeable increase in productivity.

What we didn’t do

The journey isn’t over and there is still more to be done. But in a short space of time, we have directly protected the culture without compromising on the ambition. However, we consciously avoided the common pitfalls that many organisations fall into. 

  • Demanding Resilience

Further, we didn’t simply demand that employees become more resilient. To emphasize, we understood that resilience alone is not a sustainable solution. Instead, we took proactive steps to address the root causes of burnout and empower individuals to prioritise their well-being.

  • Relying on EAP

We didn’t rely solely on superficial solutions such as purchasing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or consider the issue of mental health suddenly solved. While EAPs can be valuable resources, they are not solutions for addressing burnout. Instead of viewing mental health support as a checkbox exercise, we took a holistic approach that focused on creating a culture of openness, support and resilience.

  • Ignoring the problem

To repeat, we refused to ignore the problem or hope it would disappear on its own. We knew that passive avoidance was not an option. Instead, we proactively tackled the issue head-on, acknowledging the challenges faced by employees and working collaboratively to find effective solutions.

Rather than adopting a reactive approach, we embraced a mindset that recognised the ebbs and flows of mental energy. It’s important to acknowledge that burnout is a natural consequence of prolonged stress and high-pressure environment. We can then empower everyone within the organisation to take preventative action. 

Through education, training and open communication, we encouraged individuals to recognise the early signs of burnout and take proactive steps to prioritise self-care and well-being.

Diving Deeper into Agile HR

We’ve created a FREE guide that focuses on how to embrace these challenges. Download it to use your skills to prepare for the future of work.

Here’s what you can expect in the guide:

  • 12 Agile HR Principles
  • Deeper dive into how to start an Agile approach
  • Case studies with real life examples and results

Download it for free here.

We know that HR leaders and teams are feeling the strain. They are having to adapt rapidly to cope with the ever-increasing changes that companies are facing. That’s why People Efficient was created – to reimagine how HR gets done. 

We are experts in organisational development, change evolution, employee experience and of course, Agile HR. Find out more about our methods through our popular Agile in HR™ courses and frameworks.