In our May newsletter, we asked nonprofit professionals to respond to a brief survey about how their organizations are addressing staff burnout.
Studies show that burnout is on the rise in the nonprofit world. In response, experts have weighed in with advice on how managers can mitigate the issue and retain their staff. For example, it is recommended that managers normalize conversations about mental health and take time to celebrate accomplishments to ensure employees feel appreciated and connected to a larger purpose.
On paper, this sounds like good advice. But what are organizations actually doing to address burnout? And is it enough?
We wanted to hear directly from people experiencing or attempting to confront feelings of burnout in the workplace. Here’s what they said.
What measures has your organization deployed to address or mitigate burnout?
“Ensure staff takes days off, time for daily walks, have surprise staff appreciation days, give an extra day off during especially busy months, assist with managing employee workload.”
“Implementing a check-in with staff on self-care or how they are feeling, in addition to providing paid sabbaticals for employees after seven years.”
“Accommodating flexible schedules and hybrid work arrangements.”
“I don’t know. Nothing has been mentioned in any of our all-staff meetings.”
“With my staff, I focus on setting goals and being mindful of how many hours it takes to achieve those goals. But outside of my office, there isn’t as much awareness of this issue in the rest of the organization, and it’s incredibly frustrating.”
“At its core, a primary reason many of our staff are experiencing burnout is a lack of clear strategic direction. Even though my organization does a good job promoting work-life balance through flexible work hours and a generous PTO policy, it’s not enough to prevent staff burnout.”
“Implemented a good idea fund where people can submit proposals of good ideas to improve morale and, if approved, they’re given $500 to implement it.”
“Flexible work schedules; discussion of a retention survey rather than an exit survey.”
Even in this limited survey, some themes emerged: Providing clear strategic direction, allowing flexible work modes, supporting time off, and aligning goals and workloads. Some organizations also seem to be offering creative solutions that meet the needs of teams or reward organizational tenure.
If you haven’t had a chance to fill out our survey, there’s still time. We’d appreciate learning about your organization’s experience addressing staff burnout.