What You Are Getting Wrong About Employee Burnout

Updated: Jan 24

Bernie Wong | Senior Associate, Mind Share Partners


This article was originally published on Forbes. Go here to read more of Mind Share Partners' Forbes features.

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“It’s a challenge when you are a young, black journalist.” Imade Nibokun is an award-winning writer, journalist and founder of an online movement called “Depressed While Black.” In a previous role, Imade recalls seeing news pieces every day about the black community and police brutality.

“All I saw on the cover of my own publication were black people with mugshots. It was traumatizing… How do you fight the system when you are working for the system?”

As the toll of these stories grew, Imade sought the consult of her managers and shared how she was really struggling when readers would say negative things about her work. They told Imade that she would just be letting the readers win if she gave up. Despite the fact that Imade was already seeing a therapist, she felt disempowered with little support from her team within an emotionally taxing environment. Imade ultimately left the company. 


With increasing awareness about mental health at work and the World Health Organization’s recent classification of burnout as a growing occupational syndrome, companies have begun to invest in resources like mental health benefits, “mental health days,” meditation rooms and mindfulness apps to support employees in challenging environments like Imade. While resources like therapy and time off are imperative as basic necessities for employee well-being, experts say they are fundamentally ineffective to combating burnout.


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Employee Burnout Solutions
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The Cause of Employee Burnout Is The Workplace, Not Employees


The WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Burnout is clearly tied to factors at work, but what actually causes burnout? And where does the onus lie in its successful management?