[email protected] Q&A: Addressing Burnout in Your Inclusion Strategy

After over twenty months of living and working amidst a global pandemic, “burnout” is the word of the hour. What causes burnout on our teams? How can we prevent it, or address it when it occurs? What does burnout have to do with a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy?

In this Q&A, [email protected] founder and CEO Natalia Eileen Villarmán answered your questions about managing burnout in your organization. This conversation will address considerations including why burnout occurs disproportionately in certain groups, what mitigation tactics prove most effective, discussing burnout with your direct reports, and more.

Questions Answered:

12:01- The executive director at my company seems to doubt that burnout is worse or more common for women or people of color. How do I convince her that this discrepancy is real?
15:19- Many employees at the company I work for (including senior leadership) say things like “burnout comes with the territory” or “get used to it.” How do you distinguish real, urgent burnout from a “normal” high workload?
17:55- Whose job is it to address burnout? In our company, it feels like line managers, HR, and senior leadership are all saying it “should” be someone else’s responsibility, so nothing ever gets done.
20:22- How do I explain to my manager that I’m starting to feel burnt out without them assuming that I’m no longer able to do my job?
22:31- How can I address burnout with those I manage if I don't have any real decision making power (like giving people a better time off policy).
25:42- What signs of burnout should I be watching for on my team? Are there specific things I should be looking for related to an employee’s race, gender identity, or other trait?
29:21- Can you explain more the intersectional nature of burnout and other identities? And how I can support those that have more factors working against them?
34:27- Is there a quick solution in giving a raise or a bonus to an employee that I notice is feeling burnt out or is that not helpful?
37:28- How do I ask underrepresented employees to tell me more about their experience with burnout without making it just one more thing for them to do? I feel like this could easily slip into being like the “Don’t ask your Black ERG to be your DEI saviors” phenomenon.
40:42- Is there anything different that we can do to address burnout that might be mixed from both work overload but also things happening in society and in life that might also be overwhelming and contributing to the burnout? I don't want to pry but if they're overloaded from stressors that aren't work related I'm worried that I won't be helpful.
43:18- I am a man and I manage a mixed-gender team. I am getting the sense that the women on my team are experiencing serious burnout, but none of them have explicitly brought it up to me as of now. Is it appropriate for me to assume or ask if it’s about gender? I want to be inclusive and cognizant of how gender impacts their work experience, but I’m worried about overstepping here.

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