- Employees with "high agility" and resilience to change were less likely to experience workplace burnout, a meQuilibrium poll of 2,000 full-time employees found. Forty percent of respondents with high agility and low resilience were prone to signs of moderate to severe depression and anxiety, but those with high agility and high resilience had lower rates.
- The human capital solutions firm's study also found that 44% of employees with low agility and low resilience were at risk for burnout, compared with 6% of those with high agility and high resistance. In other survey results, highly agile employees with low resilience had an increased risk of anxiety by 54% and an increased risk of depression by 27%. Employees in this category also had higher absentee rates, averaging 5.7 absent days per year.
- Besides burnout, agility and resilience levels also impacted retention, according to survey results. Highly agile, highly resilient employees were found to be half as likely as low agility and low resilience employees to leave their jobs in the next six months. Highly agile and highly resilient employees were also shown to be 78% more likely to want to learn new skills and keep up with innovation, 30% more creative and 28% more adaptable to change.
Burnout has long-term, debilitating effects on the workplace; it jeopardizes employees' mental health and leaves organizations with costly productivity losses and high turnover rates. The World Health Organization has expanded its definition of burnout. Employers can take steps to help workers prevent it and address it when it does occur.
"One of the best ways to protect workers from experiencing burnout is for organizations to take steps to improve both resilience and agility among their employees," meQuilibrium CEO and Co-Founder Jan Bruce explained in a press statement. "In addition to addressing the serious threat of burnout, our study also shows that high resilience and high agility double an employee's sense of purpose and work engagement."
While resilient and agile workers might perform better and engage more with their organizations, according to meQuilibrium's findings, they may not be the easiest hires to come by when there is a low unemployment rate. For workers who are less resilient to change, frequent check-ins could keep them on track to meet their goals and give them an opportunity to ask for support from their managers. Work-from-home arrangements might also be a way to give overwhelmed workers more control over their conditions without allowing productivity to suffer; in a 2018 survey, 65% of surveyed workers said they'd be more productive at home.
If workers already experience burnout symptoms, HR can refer them to employee assistance program or wellness programs to help lessen their anxiety. However, workers might need to take time under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to recuperate if their anxiety and depression become more advanced. It is important that HR make sure managers are adequately trained on leave and the FMLA.