How to eliminate job burnout with humanistic employee engagement

Published on
April 18, 2023

Job burnout is a pervasive issue that is only getting worse with the global and hybrid nature of our work in the 21st century, especially after the pandemic.

Job burnout happens when organizations do a poor job of engaging their employees in a humanistic way. In a seminal article on this topic, our Founder & CEO Dr. Ravishankar Gundlapalli explains how it is critical for organizations to engage the human behind the employee and not just engage the employee, by focusing on:

  • What employees DO
  • What employees KNOW
  • Who employees ARE
  • What employee’s DREAMS are

Introducing “Ravi’s Hierarchy of People” (see Fig 1), Dr. Ravi explains how

  • Employees become productive when organizations focus on what employees do, by providing the right tools and learning opportunities
  • Employees become engaged when organizations also focus on what employees know, by having them be mentors in their areas of expertise helping other employees
  • Employees become happier when organizations recognize what employees are going through at this particular state of life, and offer helpful resources

Employees become committed when organizations take an active interest in the employees’ dreams and goals, and provide mentorship, coaching and other growth resources to help employees get closer to their dreams.

Employees will become frustrated, disengaged and feel burnt out when their experience in the workplace is just about work and nothing else.

When leaders look at employees beyond their work in this way, that is when employees feel engaged, happier and committed to their work, and as a result become much more connected to their teams and organizations. The cost of not doing this can be very high for companies.

According to an article by Select Software Reviews, “Every time an employee leaves, the company incurs losses, which hurts its bottom line. Every organization invests time and money during the onboarding of its new hires, all of these efforts would go to waste if they end up quitting. The more engaged employees are, the more likely they are to stay with their current company.”

Data shows that the cost of replacing an employee is anywhere from 0.5 to 2.5 times the annual salary depending on the seniority of the employee, from lost productivity, lost knowledge, lost morale by the rest of the team members, and then from re-hiring and re-onboarding. 

Benefits of Humanistic Employee Engagement

Improved Performance: Employees perform at their best when they are happy and engaged. The higher performance comes from:

  • Experiencing more positive emotions
  • Enhanced creativity and lateral thinking
  • Increased citizenship behaviors
  • Faster time to complete tasks
  • Improved customer service scores

Higher Retention:  Happy and engaged employees tend to stay longer with the organization. This is because they establish positive human connections with their peers and leaders, and experience a positive work environment that fosters learning and growth. An organization simply cannot afford to use benefits and salary alone as a way to attract and retain employees, they need to do more.

Employee Happiness: Employees become happier when their leaders take personal care about the employees’ well being, and pay attention to the life stage the employees are in, such as, newly married or new parents or caring for elderly parents or going through a health situation. It is perfectly fine for a leader to ask with empathy if everything is fine with the employee outside of work, and if there is anything the leader or the organization can do to help.

According to another related article on Select Software Reviews related to employee retention statistics, a favorable employee experience inspires loyalty. Loyal employees then refer their friends to the organization which helps to attract new talent into the organization.

Gallup has been tracking employee engagement for over two decades (see graph below) and the general trend has not changed because organizations haven’t changed their approach to employee engagement.

By engaging the human behind the employee, organizations have an immense opportunity to impact employee engagement and as a result significantly lower employee turnover and burnout.

At MentorCloud, our methodology and scalable technology platform catalyze human connections, human-to-human learning conversations and interactions which directly impact engagement, retention, happiness and overall productivity.

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