Reducing Burnout: Causing the Effect
Reducing Burnout: Causing the Effect
Steve Pao
June 17, 2022
“Be the Thermostat, not a Thermometer”
— Johnny C. Taylor, Jr, CEO SHRM

This past week, I accompanied my cofounder, Kristin, to the SHRM 20222 annual conference in New Orleans.  Our aim was to immerse ourselves in the conversation of workplace burnout from a Human Resources perspective.  The conference theme was “Cause the Effect”, essentially calling on us as organizational leaders to change the temperature around core issues like workplace burnout rather than to simply read the temperature..

Burnout is a timely conversation

While we were at the conference, Gallup released its State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, which concluded that stress among the world’s workers is at an all-time high.

Source: Gallup June 2022

At the conference itself, Ben Granger of the Qualtrics XM Institute presented data concluding that the lack of well-being observed in organizations is a countdown to disaster. 

In addition, Chas Fields of UKG also hosted a session specific to workplace transparency which described employees not feeling “seen.”

Of course, reporting this data by itself is just reading the temperature.  How can we change the temperature?

Workplace Burnout is Not a Personal Issue

To get to the root of change, it’s important to get to the root of workplace burnout.  While many try to solve burnout through personal solutions like meditation apps, workplace burnout is an organizational issue.  One of my favorite authors, Adam Grant, reiterates this point frequently. 

Also published during the conference, a Harvard Business Review article titled “Stressed, Sad, and Anxious: A Snapshot of the Global Workforce” outlined that employee care must be a permanent part of the culture.  The point is not to treat burnout but rather to make the cultural changes to prevent burnout.

Causing the Effect

Our “always on” work culture contributes to burnout, and Lora Haines of JB Training presented a couple of opportunities to address burnout.  One included protecting “maker moments” (deep work) by not mixing them with “management moments” like checking Slack or email.  Another was to ride one’s own natural “energy waves.”

The issue here is that it’s hard for individuals to capitalize on these opportunities alone.  Instead, Robert and Terri Bogue, in their session dedicated to burnout, called for organizations to make the necessary changes to address burnout “systemic”.

At Ampll, we agree with the need to “Cause the Effect” through changes.  Kristin and I added to SHRM’s board on culture changes the high-level and specific changes to implement.  At a high level, the aim is to create a culture of care, which starts with “seeing” the human first and the employee second.  More specifically, we use Ampll to check in on each other’s energy and to reward it each other’s well-being boosts.

With Ampll, users can “see” each other with real-time presence and energy levels.  Teams can help each other protect their maker moments and respect their energy waves.  For example, right now, we can see that Guy Suter is in a focused flow.  We can see that Kristin is on a video call, but happens to be at the valley of her energy wave where it might not even be a great time to pile something on her even after she hangs up.

Ampll People tab showing real-time presence, location, and energy level

With these simple views in Ampll available across your company, you can catalyze these cultural changes to “Cause the Effect” and reduce workplace burnout.  For more information about how you can get started with Ampll, please contact us.

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Steve Pao

Steve Pao is Chief Product Officer at Ampll and a member of the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, an opt-in research community of business professionals. Prior to Ampll, Steve was an early employee and product executive at two companies that did IPOs (Latitude Communications in 1999 and Barracuda Networks in 2013). Steve is a proud "empty nester" and lives in Portland, OR with his wife whom he met in 7th grade German class.

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