Researchers: How employees can feel involved

Researchers: How employees can feel involved
Researchers: How employees can feel involved

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Almost half of all employees worldwide suffer from burnout. small series of practices to promote inclusion can help organizations solve the problem, the Boston Consulting Group said in a June 11 report.

The company said its research of around 11,000 workers in countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK and the US showed that burnout was “strongly correlated” with a low sense of inclusion in the workplace – indicating a need for practices that strengthen inclusion. The survey was conducted in late 2023 against the backdrop of Declining employee sentiment regarding mental health worldwide.

“Burnout and inclusion are closely linked in all the markets we studied,” BCG said, adding that burnout is 1.2 to 2.6 times more likely in workplaces with generally low inclusion. “As inclusion increases, from the lowest quartile to the highest, the burnout rate halves. This shows that inclusion should be part of the solution to reduce burnout.”

BCG identified four elements that had the greatest impact on inclusion:

  • Access to resources.
  • Support from senior management.
  • Psychological safety with a direct supervisor.
  • Fair and equal chances of success.

The report identifies a number of measures that could support these four areas. For example, BCG included flexible working hours, learning and development opportunities, and mentoring programs in its definition of resources that could help employees feel more involved. Less traditional examples included employee benefit offerings such as short-term emergency loans or grants.

Psychological safety plays a key role in ensuring supportive relationships between superiors and employees. Employees may feel more involved when they feel safe enough to voice their opinions and disagree with leadership, the company said. Researchers cited previous studies that linked higher motivation and lower turnover with Leaders who promote psychological safety.

In looking for ways to make employees feel more involved, the researchers say employers need to “think creatively” and consider solutions “that go beyond the traditional scope of DEI investments.”

The report is not the first of its kind to link inclusive management practices with lower burnout. In 2022, a Gallup survey of U.S. workers found that those who accepted and valued at work 52% reported feelings of burnout less frequently.

What is particularly striking is that burnout often has different levels of severity in different population groups, according to the BCG researchers. Women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and employees without desks report burnout more frequently.

Marginalized groups, according to BCG, “often face additional stressors in the workplace that contribute to feelings of burnout, including increased discrimination, stigma and lack of representation or survivorship bias.” The Gallup poll also found that employees who felt discriminated against were twice as likely to report high levels of burnout as other workers.

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