Episode 6: How can nonprofits can prevent staff burnout?

The problem we are going to tackle today is a big one. How can nonprofits prevent staff burnout?

Let’s first consider why burnout is a problem. If we examine this problem from the point of view of an individual organization, when staff experience burnout, their productivity declines and the quality of their work declines.

We also know that if and when staff do burn out and leave the organization, now the nonprofit needs to replace that staff member. Turnover has a high cost to the organization, financially and emotionally.

When the social impact space loses intelligent, committed people, we’re all worse off because we need intelligent, talented, skilled people to help us solve these huge complex problems nonprofits are charged with solving. 

That being said, is there anything nonprofits can do to prevent staff burnout?

Here’s what you can expect to take away from this episode…

⦿ Why nonprofit professionals are particularly at risk for experiencing burnout

⦿ An understanding of the causes and mitigating factors for burnout

⦿ How to approach solving burnout in your nonprofit

Sneak peek at the episode…

⦿ [6:13] People get into nonprofit work to find meaningful work. Many of us have a strong drive toward prosocial values and when we can attach our skills and intelligence to prosocial work that we find meaningful, there is a great deal of satisfaction that nonprofit workers and leaders can achieve.
⦿ [8:38] This model essentially theorizes that job demand and job resources both affect work stress, and high job demand combined with low resources is a recipe for stress and burnout.
⦿ [10:14] I also think it’s interesting that the authors of this paper and others that I’ve read and researched for this episode, they all seem to indicate that burnout is an occupational hazard of the human services sector.
⦿ [13:02] The results from this study are really eye-opening. Like we would expect, and consistent with the researchers’ hypothesis, job demand and burnout were strongly positively associated.
⦿ [15:15] Putting this information together, we can see how the dark side of meaningful work, coupled with high job demands, and low job resources could create a scenario for burnout. But, what’s the solution?
⦿ [18:43] So, now that we know quite a bit about burnout, it’s causes, and mitigating factors, now we can begin to think about what hypotheses we can test to solve this problem in our own nonprofits.

Click here to listen!

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Links mentioned in this episode:

⦿ Article: Beyond ‘psychic income’: An exploration of interventions to address work-life imbalances, burnout, and precarity in contemporary nonprofit work
⦿ Article: Job demands and resources, burnout, and psychological distress of employees in the Chinese nonprofit sector
⦿ Download “The SIGNALS Framework” e-book

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