employee wellness

Employee Burnout High Despite Increased Investment in Employee Wellness

Employee wellness has remained a hot topic and companies continue to invest in employee wellness.

No longer is wellness the responsibility of a junior HR co-ordinator. Now, new titles devoted to wellness, like ‘Chief Wellbeing Officer’ ensure that wellness has its seat at the table.


The focus has also moved beyond the outdated ‘physical health and biometric data model’ to a more holistic approach that also includes the mental and emotional aspects of wellness. And many companies are now looking beyond the limited scope of an EAP and exploring a more proactive approach to employee wellness.

And yet, despite the fact that employee wellness has become a focus, employee burnout is worse than ever.


Why is employee burnout so high?

 Companies are investing in wellness but they’re not looking at what’s getting in the way of employee wellness.

Wellness still remains an ‘on-the-side’ discussion. It doesn’t connect to the culture and the bigger strategic plan of the business. The wellness initiative remains a siloed, ‘tick-the-box’ program that has no connection to the rest of the business.


Companies continue to give their people time off or more yoga or the best wellness apps. All of those things are an important part of the foundation but they’re not actually looking at the systemic issues causing employee burnout in the first place.


What’s causing employee burnout?

The biggest culprits are – workload, being always-on and connected 24/7, poor leadership practices, lack of trust, lack of workplace community and connection, and poor work-life balance.


To prevent employee burnout, most companies want a programme that’s focused on the employee. Very few organizations want to look at the leadership or culture aspect.


Many solutions to increasing wellbeing focus on decreasing work: less email, fewer days (like the 4 day work week trend) or giving people more leave.

But Gallup’s analysis of employee burnout has found that it’s the way people experience their work that most affects their wellbeing.



Moving from employee wellness to a culture of wellbeing

 A key part of preventing employee burnout is developing norms around ways of working and creating clarity at a team level on what it means to treat each other well and work in healthy ways. And it’s critical that leaders encourage this and model the right behaviours.

Furthermore, employee wellness shouldn’t be something with a start and end point. Rather than having a wellness programme, the focus should be on building a culture of wellbeing.


Wellbeing should become part of the way work gets done.


A return on employee wellness

For employee wellness budgets to see their return and to truly solve for burnout, companies must create the healthy organizational conditions for people to show up as the best version of themselves.

Employee wellness requires a strategic approach and employee burnout will only really start to improve when there is genuine leadership commitment, time, energy, and the buy-in of every single employee.

Companies that go the longer route will enjoy increased retention, higher performance, improved work-life balance scores, a reduction in employee burnout, higher engagement and less absenteeism.