Module 9 – Employee-focused Approaches to Reducing Burnout Risk

Overview and Learning Objectives

In this module we will cover evidence-based strategies focused on employees. In conjunction with organizational efforts, these approaches can help minimize burnout risk. After reviewing this module, you should be able to:

  • Identify and describe examples of employee-focused intervention efforts to reduce employee burnout risk that target multiple levels (Individual, Group, Leader, Organization, Overarching Context; IGLOO) within a typical public health work setting.
  • Explain how employee-focused approaches to reducing burnout risk can affect the demands experienced by and resources available to public health workers.
  • Define what self-care means and explain why it is important to sustain a self-care program, personally and professionally.
  • Describe elements of restorative self-care/recovery experiences.
Questions for Reflection and/or Discussion with your Team
  1. How do you typically respond when you are faced with high demands? How are these typical strategies helpful or unhelpful?
  2. What activities or practices do you commonly use to recover during and outside of work? What “key ingredients” for restorative recovery do these activities have (or lack)?
  3. What is one specific self-care goal you could implement? How can you overcome barriers that may affect your ability to carry out this goal?
  4. What does our organization do that makes it easy for you to prioritize self-care and recovery? What does our organization do that makes it difficult for you to implement strategies for managing your burnout risk?
  5. What would you write in a letter to yourself, to remind yourself of why self-care is meaningful for you and how it affects you personally and professionally?
  6. How would you (or workers in your team/department) answer these questions to evaluate your organization’s norms around stress, burnout, and recovery?
    • Do most people work overtime? Is it normal to keep working during “off” time?
    • Is stress treated as a badge of honor or a state to avoid with sufficient recovery?
    • Are those who seem overwhelmed met with sympathy and support or is it a culture of learning to “toughen up?”
    • How do people in your organization tend to recover from work demands? If you do not typically talk about recovery, why do you think that is?
    • If you had your ideal workplace culture, what would be different from the current culture around well-being, stress, and recovery?
Recommended Readings and Resources
  • The Center for Supportive Leadership training includes resources for leader training around sleep, mental health, and safety.
  • Joy in work resources for leaders, developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and provided by The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), give suggestions for cultivating positive states.
  • The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has a leader resource center with additional resources on addressing burnout, workforce well-being, and related topics.
  • Basic self-care resources:
  • Phone apps and websites designed to facilitate guided meditation or different forms of relaxation may be helpful.