Eller College of Management Doctoral Candidate Offers Tips to Help Organizations Prevent Employee Burnout

May 18, 2023

In a recent research paper, Kelly P. Gabriel, third year doctoral candidate in Management and Organizations at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, addresses the topic of employee burnout. Published on the ScienceDirect website, as well as the Business Horizons journal, the study aims to help businesses create healthier workplaces during crises and beyond. 


Kelly Gabriel

Gabriel says the goal of the paper is to “help organizations facilitate the availability of job resources and diminish the pressure of job demands.” This, she adds, maximizes employee engagement while minimizing the chance of burnout.

In the paper she provides recommendations including intraindividual — such as providing stress management interventions; interpersonal — such as reducing stressful and unnecessary social interactions; and organizational — for example, communicating transparently and implementing fair and equitable performance management.

“Compared to the more common individual-level initiatives such as encouraging employees to do self-care or manage their time better, organizational-level initiatives such as restructuring work or providing outlets for employee voice in decision-making are more effective and also have longer-lasting positive effects,” Gabriel says, adding: “Individual-targeted methods alone cannot overcome institutional problems. Employees cannot meditate away poor work conditions, precarious unemployment and widespread global death like in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Burnout, caused from chronic work-related stress, leads to people feeling emotionally drained, negative and detached from work. This in turn leads to decreased performance, inhibited creativity and innovation, work-place accidents, absenteeism and physical and mental illnesses.

While Gabriel notes that fostering healthier and more equitable workplaces is a necessity at any time, it is even more important during a crisis that has intensified job demands, drained job resources, and exacerbated existing inequalities. Based on her research and review of evidence, she offers the following five tips to help organizations prevent and combat employee burnout:

1. Provide stress management interventions
2. Allow employees to be active crafters of their work
3. Cultivate and encourage social support
4. Engage employees in decision-making
5. Implement high-quality performance management

She believes her evidence-based recommendations combined with implementation guidelines provided in her paper can help business leaders promote and create sustainable wellness at work during crises and beyond. Gabriel is available to speak further about her study and tips to help organizations prevent employee burnout in the workplace for news stories and television segments.