Burnout is not an individual thing, in fact, the workplace has a lot to do with this feeling. And so it is the workplace that should transform to prioritize motivation and employee wellbeing.
Recently, the WHO (World Health Organization) recognized burnout, and deemed it as an occupational phenomenon, although not a medical condition. This is particularly relevant for two reasons:
On the one hand, it gives light to a very real and growing problem in our societies, calling for the need to manage it. But on the other hand, it also portrays the idea that such phenomenon is an individual thing, meaning it is a person that should be treated. This leads to ignore the fact that maybe it is workplaces that need to be revalued.
The motivation-hygiene theory
The motivation-hygiene theory was developed by American psychologist Frederick Herzberg in order to understand what motivates us in contrast with the basic needs that must be met in order to maintain job satisfaction. And coincidently, the theory is vastly based upon workplace relationships and environment.
Herzberg’s approach divided job satisfaction and dissatisfaction as two independent elements from each other, meaning they should be managed and treated as such. He described them as motivation factors and hygiene factors: when there is ‘no hygiene’, there is no satisfaction, and when motivator factors are met, job satisfaction increases.
And while hygiene factors are crucial, as they refer to salary, work conditions, company policies, supervision, working relationships etc., today we wanted to focus on the motivation factors laid out in this theory.
Motivation factors are related to workplace satisfaction and allow employees to be content in their jobs and promote growth. They cover intrinsic needs such as challenging work and achievement, recognition for such achievements, advancement, responsibility, the opportunity to do something meaningful, involvement in decision making, and a sense of relevance in the company.
Burnout happens when one or more of these element are lacking or progressively disappear. The pain or dissatisfaction slowly builds up until it wears people down. But it is not all black or white, meaning even if the company makes an effort to have the latter factors in place, nothing guarantees they’ll work, except one thing, asking the right questions and looking for the problems that need fixing the most. Ask your employees and dig deep into company culture.
Sustainability as a motivation factor
Sustainability can be a great ally to reinforce motivating factors throughout the company while taking care of the planet and society, something that in recent years has become crucial for many job seekers and employees.
We believe sustainability can be an ally to motivation factors such as achievements and their recognition, the opportunity to do something meaningful, the involvement in decision making, and a sense of relevance in the company.
Sustainability can become a source for engagement and active involvement throughout the company. By establishing measurable and achievable targets in terms of social and environmental impact, companies can help connect employees to meaningful actions and performance goals.
A great example for this is to apply an OKR methodology to the sustainability strategy of the company, making sure everyone can have its role in procuring sustainable business practices or operations.
Furthermore, making such role achievable and an opportunity for recognition will exponentially increase employees feeling of relevance in corporate performance, as well as the will to get involved in procuring a more sustainable workplace.
A healthy workplace and a sustainability culture
We also believe that working collectively can help us find that which alone may seem unattainable or useless.
That is why we think the workplace is the perfect environment to find that collective eagerness to make a difference, both for the sustainability and purpose of the company and a more sustainable way of being for all employees.
Through our technology we help companies establish ESG impact objectives for employees in regards to the sustainability strategy of the company.
We are able to activate and track employees’ impact, creating engagement that translates into improved ESG metrics, reputational value and an overall positive impact for the environment and society.