What are the root causes of burnout? How does info. overload play a role, and what can be done?

  • 17 October 2022
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  • Anonymous
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What have you all learned about the causes of burnout at your organizations (e.g., through ENPS or other employee experience surveys)? What effects has employee burnout had on teammates and the business? How has information overload - both the volume of information and the proliferation of tools and notifications - contributed to burnout you’ve experienced or observed on your teams? So many questions...would love to hear different perspectives from the community!

@Julia Soffa (Principal Internal Communications Manager at Guru) explored this topic recently at Knowledge Fest, and it was fascinating to hear her insights and recommendations for how to combat information overload, and burnout, in the workplace.

There wasn’t time for Q&A after the session, so I wanted to pull in some questions from the chat for follow up discussion:

  • Erin Grau asked: “Can you share how you use Loom? I'm so intrigued, but it seems a bit intimidating.”
  • @Tim Subealdea asked: “My team sends weekly announcements and I’ve noticed our read rate has leveled out to a consistent number each week (~60%). The people that aren’t pressing "i read it" have pretty much never pressed it, so they have a bunch of Card requests that have stacked up in their inbox. Does guru have a way for them to mass read all Cards to give them a fresh start?”

What additional questions do you have about addressing information overload and/or burnout? What insights and examples can you share from your own experiences?

Let’s keep the discussion going! Tagging in a few others who joined the session live: @Cora Van Leeuwen @David MacVicar @Rachel Wiggins @Kai Shank @Nathan Anderson @Reba Mitchell @Jenny Storm @Valerie Renda @Molly Lippsett @Alyssa Neville


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Lack of clarity/clear goals is a big one. It can feel like rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship. I think this is especially true when you’re not getting immediate feedback. I think most employees don’t mind putting in the work, as I’ve experienced from many organizations I’ve been to. 

If someone was building a castle and then they were told after that it shouldn’t have been built or it was on the wrong side of the river, it’s demoralizing. But seeing someone lay the bricks down and inquiring about the building earlier can save a lot of headache. An effective weekly one-to-one or team stand up can help reduce the feedback lag. 

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@Kai Shank! I love your metaphor here. It’s so important to find the balance of bringing employees along for the ride in terms of feedback and buy-in (having them take turns driving the boat) and not charting way too off-course. I heard someone recently talk about NO-KRs (objectives and key results) that you are not going to focus on. This helps everyone ruthlessly prioritize and I plan on borrowing the term for Guru. 

 

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One of the themes that came up on our employee climate survey was the concept of ‘information overload’, as our internal comms strategy doesn’t have clear guidance on when and where to post information. So often times, important updates are provided in either Slack (across multiple channels), email, Guru, or some combination of those three - and typically coming from different sources. As a result, I’m trying to work with our HR teams to get Announcements as a more widely used feature to solve for this.

I’m curious how other teams use Announcements and whether that’s preferred to email updates for full company-wide information. 

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@Valerie Renda I can speak to how Guru uses announcements at Guru. To combat information overload (which empirically leads to burnout) we have a couple of best practices:

  • An announcement must include an action for employees (i.e. you are receiving this announcement because you need to fill out a form) 
  • Announcements that are sent to more that 33% of employees need to be cleared by the communications team via our internal communications calendar (this is to ensure the same group isn’t receiving multiple announcements per day)
  • We don’t typically post the announcement card in Slack to we can better understand the data and read-rates via Guru :) 

Happy to discuss more! 

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