Consider these 4 points to inspire and retain your best millennials !

Consider these 4 points to inspire and retain your best millennials !

Original publication in Gallup.com on October 28th 2019

For years now, millennials have been criticized as job hoppers, easily bored and over-entitled.

The critique is so widespread and well-known that it hardly seems worth investigating. It should be — because it’s not true. Millennials are as likely as anyone else to be loyal to their workplace.

If they get what they need from it. But most, apparently, do not.

According to Gallup data, only 29% of millennials are engaged at work. The national engagement average is 34%, which means many more millennials than their elders feel uninspired, unmotivated and emotionally disconnected from their workplace.

Those are the millennials with the least reason to stay, so they leave. In droves. Millennials are three times more likely than their elders to say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, 10 percentage points less likely to expect to be with their current employer in a year, the most likely to be looking for a new job, and the most open to whatever opportunities might come along.

What Millennials Want

This may seem mystifying to business leaders — why would millennials be so disengaged? They’re treated the same as everyone else, so why would they leave?

The answer is in the question. Millennials don’t want to be treated like everyone else. Their elders may be satisfied (though satisfaction is a poor workplace metric) with a mediocre job, but millennials are not. They’ll keep looking until they get what they need, which includes:

A sense of purpose: More so than others, millennials are motivated by mission and purpose. Of those who say they don’t know what their organization stands for and what makes it different, only 30% say they plan on staying in their position for at least another year.

High-quality management: 58% of millennials say “quality of manager” and “quality of management” are extremely important to them when applying for a new job. For a millennial, their job is their life, so a bad manager will quickly drive them away.

Chances of advancement: Perhaps because they have lower net worth and higher student debt than other generations, millennials (50%, compared with 42% of Gen Xers and 40% of baby boomers) are most likely to say advancement is extremely important when looking for a new job.

Millennials are as likely as anyone else to be loyal to their workplace.

Not coincidentally, what millennials want is the same thing everybody wants in a job. Millennials just want it more and are less likely to wait around to get it. Their refusal to settle for less increases businesses’ turnover costs, which bleeds $30.5 billion from the U.S. economy every year, according to Gallup estimates.

However, leaders who focus on employees’ growth and advancement, who select managers for talent, and who know their company’s purpose can engage millennials.

Those who do will keep millennials.

Those who don’t will train another company’s employees — and wonder why millennials just won’t stay.

Written by Jennifer Robison

4 levers to grow as a purpose-driven compagny

4 levers to grow as a purpose-driven compagny

Original publication in Forbes on October 31st 2019

As untamed capitalism and corporate greed come under increasingly fierce and widespread siege, the business world has begun to respond, loudly.

In August, the elite CEOs of the Business Roundtable lobbying group released a statement promising to move away from the decades-old corporate belief in “shareholder primacy” toward a more holistic, purpose-driven approach that “serves all Americans.”

Let’s be clear: this move is a huge milestone in the recent history of management. After all, the signers of this statement lead organizations that take in a combined $7 trillion in revenue and employ 15 million people. However, whether the group’s stated goal of shifting commitments actually transpires remains to be seen.

The advantage of purpose-driven companies

Still, the business roundtable’s announcement, while greeted excitedly, shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise. Over the 11 years since the start of the fiscal crisis, more and more attention has been paid to the ethical, social and environmental responsibilities of co~rporations.

Yet businesses that do operate with a sense of purpose and of bettering society reap economic benefits. Recent studies have shown that the performance of companies with a clear sense of purpose grew by 10 times the median rate of companies on the S&P 500. 

What’s more, purposeful organizations appeal to younger people just entering the workforce. This generation has grown up connected in unprecedented ways by technology to a global community, alert to what threatens it and attuned to social justice. To reach these new or future workers of the Greta Thunberg generation, companies can’t ignore social ethics.

How to promote purpose throughout your business

Purpose is a word that packs a punch. It’s an idea whose meaning, while lofty, may be easily grasped. But attaining a sense of purpose can prove daunting, especially in the context of business and its more practical economic goals.

This can be seen in the gap between society’s expectations of businesses and its perception of results: just 39% of people think that organizations work with the goal in mind of improving the quality of life and well-being of their employees and surrounding communities.

It was with this challenge in mind that I, along with my colleagues A. Lleo-de-Nalda, C. Rey, A. Alloza and N. Pitta, set out to research the promotion of purpose in business. And to develop what we call the Purpose Strength Model compiling the successful techniques and strategies drawn from analyses of 25 purposeful businesses.

How can CEOs and managers promote purposeful business? It’s helpful to first recognize the three pillars of purpose: 

1) Coherence, or the alignment between what a company says and what it does.

2) Authenticity, or the true motivation and intention behind the things a company does. 

3) Integrity, or the naturally occurring behaviors that help maintain a purposeful drive. 

Then, it’s necessary to understand the first and most fundamental step toward building and sustaining purpose, which is constructing a shared purpose that enters the minds and hearts of all employees and inspires them to do their best, most purposeful, work.

How exactly can this communal purpose be achieved? Our model presents four factors, or levers, to attend to while sowing purpose in your organization: 

1. Strategy. The company should define a strategy for the development of a clearly defined purpose. This may sound simple, but it requires deep, prolonged reflection and understanding of corporate responsibility and ethical objectives. This strategy should include specific mile markers to be met along the road to purpose. 

2. Leadership. Company leaders must be depended upon to capably transmit the company’s purpose to employees so that it enters their minds and hearts. This leadership includes directors who promote purpose from the top of the organization and, so that purpose permeates each employee, leaders at all levels and divisions of the company.

3. Management. Systems of management and organizational procedures that guide day-to-day work and ensure that purpose is remembered each day. The organizations we studied saw fit to integrate the company’s purpose into all daily aspects of work including budget planning, talent recruitment and performance assessments. 

4. Clear communication is paramount to demonstrating that what the organization is, what the organization says it wants to be, and what it is perceived to be, all align. 

By following the model of companies who are ethically and financially successful, managers can help lead their companies into a thriving, purposeful future.

By Nuria Chinchilla

What HR needs to look for hiring new leaders ? Check what defines the “3C’s leaders”!

What HR needs to look for hiring new leaders ? Check what defines the “3C’s leaders”!

Original publication in InsideHR on October 18th 2019

The leader of the future is the antithesis of many current leaders who focus on their silos to achieve results, writes Jerome Parisse-Brassens, who explains that HR needs the appropriate tools to support the development of new culture leaders

There is a significant shift occurring in organisational cultures, in response to the VUCA world we live in and the coming-of-age of digital and artificial intelligence (AI). What I find interesting is that this is happening in every market, regardless of their levels of maturity. And this has big implications for leaders and HR professionals.

Over the past twenty years or so, businesses have increased their focus on results, achieving significant profit, establishing a strong reputation and setting fast track records in growth. Successful cultures were centred on achievement, with environments in which accountability is king, people keep their promises, KPIs are clearly established, and little room for error. Achievement cultures required leaders to take personal responsibility, drive accountability, and manage large teams of people who knew what they had to do.

Side-effects of achievement cultures
While this enabled growth, it also reinforced silos at all levels and limited cross-collaboration. For HR teams, this meant they had to recruit leaders who were experts, had delivered results before and could lead teams in fairly predictable environments.

An unexcepted consequence of the strong pressure on results has also been a sharp increase in burnout and staff disengagement, leading to increased absenteeism and sick leave and higher recruitment costs. In the race for results, people were often forgotten.

It’s recently become obvious that the siloed, results-focused model is not sufficient anymore, and the concept of agility made its appearance as a technology enabler, tool, and cultural attribute. True agility is a step change from the previous business model.

“It’s recently become obvious that the siloed, results-focused model is not sufficient anymore”

Beyond customer-centricity as the anchor, agile cultures are requiring leaders to be open, lose the fear of mistakes and not knowing, adopt a learning mindset and the ability to establish collaborative networks across the business. The silos still exist, but new bridges are being built.

What HR needs to look for in leaders
What this change means for HR is the need to recruit and develop leaders who are curious, have courage, and display a collaborative mindset. The significant shift in culture today is not a shift away from a focus on achievement and results (this has to remain strong in the current competitive environment) but the dialing up of the people lever.

Organisations have realised that the next step-change cannot come solely from more pressure, but from utilising the strengths, the skills and the capabilities of their people. This translates into increased empowerment, enhanced work/life balance and wellbeing, more trust and caring, and loosening the top-down approach. Many of my clients are working on just that – but this is easier said than done.

Putting people at the centre of AI and digital transformation
Unfortunately, this is not enough. With the coming-of-age of digital and AI, organisations have to reinvent themselves. AI’s power comes from the amount of data at our disposal and the speed at which machines can analyse it to make faster decisions than us humans could ever do.

The big difference between today and tomorrow is the sheer amount of data available and its connectedness. Silos do not exist with data and this is where the true power of AI lies. It is breaking down barriers. The good news, which the most fearful of us have not yet understood, is that digital transformation and AI are putting the human at the centre. It is the human who will teach machines how to make decisions based on the data they receive, it is the human who will clarify ethics and arbitrate between values, it is the human who will feed the machine data and rules and tell it what to do, how to learn, and how to surpass us in many of the tasks we care currently performing.

So, how does translate for tomorrow’s culture leaders?

“The next step-change cannot come solely from more pressure, but from utilising the strengths, the skills and the capabilities of their people”

What the culture leader of tomorrow looks like
The culture leader of tomorrow is a connected leader. They have to let go of their need to control and their fears of not knowing. They have transitioned from a “command-and-control” mindset to one of trusting and serving people to help them be their best. They have a whole-of-organisation approach to thinking, which allows them to connect data, processes, customer, people and results beyond traditional boundaries.

They are curious, responsible, and learn from their mistakes. They are not experts, but they can find the expertise where it resides, from customers through to employees and machines.  Their vision is clear, and they can flex the roadmap along the way. To be effective as a networked leader, they have developed openness, caring and listening skills. And everything they do adds value to the customer. I call them “3C leaders”: customer-centric, connected and caring.

What this means for HR
Understanding this shift is critical for HR teams. This new kind of leader is the antithesis of many current leaders who focus on their silos to achieve results. The keys to tomorrow’s success are not the keys employed today. This has strong implications for recruitment, learning and development, performance management and communications. Each of those systems needs a complete overhaul, a new perspective, and the appropriate tools to support the development of the new culture leader.

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Wellbeing at work: CEOs are getting it but struggle to find the right solutions

Wellbeing at work: CEOs are getting it but struggle to find the right solutions

Originally publicated in Benefits Pro on October 2nd 2019

Nearly all CEOs in a recent survey say they feel some form of isolation in the workforce, and they recognize that this is a concern for their own well-being and work.

CEOs are getting it: employee well-being matters.

So say 25 top executives, who responded to a qualitative survey by LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell.

“Employee well-being ranks number one, because your organization is only as good as the people that you have working for you, and their well-being determines how successful or unsuccessful you’re going to be,” says one respondent, Michael Colucci, CEO of Idilus LLC, a professional employer organization.

A CEO from an engineering firm responds: “I don’t believe that customers should come first, I believe that employees should come first. It’s a tenant at my company. It is a cornerstone of my company to have happy well-adjusted employees.”

Well-being programs are also becoming table stakes to attract and retain talent, especially younger generations. One CEO says that “employee well-being programs are becoming more of an expectation rather than a perk.”

The importance of employee well-being also impacts the bottom line, the respondents add.

“If my employees are unhappy or they’re going through whatever stresses that they are encountering at home in their personal life, they bring that in,” another CEO says. “If you have a big team environment that we work in…it can cause absenteeism. People who aren’t focused at work, it creates delays with projects so things get backed up at work.”

The respondents are also candid about their own struggles with significant work stress, though many say they are successful in “compartmentalizing that anxiety” – and hiding any signs of it from employees because of the “contagious nature” of workplace stress. As a result, nearly all of the CEOs say they feel some form of isolation in the workforce, and they recognize that this is a concern for their own well-being and work.

But that masking may not really be working after all, some concede.

“I’m sure they feel it when I have stressful situations because I put that back on them,” one CEO says. “They can tell by your disposition, you create a level of anxiety within the team concept that we have at our place and that affects them adversely because it makes them feel anxious or unsure about what’s going on maybe, within the corporate structure.”

While a majority of the respondents measure the success of their well-being programs using metrics such as retention of employees, satisfaction in their role and employee engagement, most of the CEOs agree that a comprehensive employee well-being index would be helpful to measure the level of employee engagement within the programs.

“Employee wellness is increasingly critical to business success and at the top of the agenda for many CEOs and even board members,” says Paula Allen, Morneau Shepell’s vice president of research, analytics and innovation. “But executives still struggle with methods to properly execute and evaluate that support. LifeWorks is positioned to address these concerns.”

By Katie Kuehner-Hebert 

Regenerative business calls for new leadership qualities. Great read (10 min)

Regenerative business calls for new leadership qualities. Great read (10 min)

Originally published in Medium.com on October 1st 2019

In a recent meeting of the Business Roundtable, “the CEOs of nearly 200 companies just said shareholder value is no longer their main objective”. Given the dominant paradigms of endless growth and shareholder profit at any cost, the articulation of this sentiment from prime business circles is a shift indeed. Of course, it needs to be seen whether this is only talk or is it backed by commitment and intention. Nonetheless, it is proof that we have reached a point of stagnancy and exhaustion with our old models and structures. There is no further benefit to be gleaned from them. In fact, clinging to the old ways is now proving to be chaotic, cataclysmic, and even apocalyptic.

In a deeply complex, inter-related and interconnected world, every single thought we have, each decision and action we take has far-reaching impact — often beyond our ability to comprehend. And this is multiplied manifold when the actor is a large organization. Hence, it is time to change the underlying narratives, metaphors, and consciousness that are driving today’s organizations. This requires a complete reinvention and re-designing of the fundamental organizational principles, ethos, and purpose — the very raison d’etre of organizations must shift. New strategies, technologies, and processes superficially affixed on top of the existing paradigms and worldviews will not work. The old debilitating and destructive patterns will creep in through the backdoor, under different names and guises. The shift from maximizing shareholder profit to the well-being of all calls for an awareness-based, conscious transformation toward building life-affirming, regenerative, and thrivable organizations.

In this post, I have attempted to explore some of the key dimensions and facets of the leadership quest that this shift is asking of us…


We are at a transformational moment in human history — on the cusp of a profound transition from an Industrial Growth Society (IGS) to a Life-Sustaining Society (LSS). The breakdowns on multiple fronts are heralding the destabilization of the old order. The system is literally self-terminating. And as Arundhuti Roy says so eloquently, “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Joanna Macy calls it The Great Turning. What we are collectively experiencing as decay and disintegration, disequilibrium and dissolution are the death throes of an old-world order.

In the face of this destabilization, our organizations and leadership must become amplifiers and compasses for another world — one which is built on the principles of thrivability for all and not only for a handful of the rich and powerful. Michelle Holliday describes “thrivability” thus:

In practice, thrivability is about identifying and committing to your organization’s own best means of enhancing life’s ability to thrive. And it’s about aligning with life’s core operating patterns across every aspect of the organization.

Is the idea far-fetched? I don’t think so. Is it necessary? I can think of no other purpose for the existence of an organization in today’s context. Will it be easy? Absolutely not. It will require each and every one of us to operate from and aspire to our highest selves, to reclaim our essential humanity lost to years of conditioning, and to push back against the forces doing their utmost to drag us backward. As Umair Haque says,

“Organizational leadership today means building an organization that is a model for the world it hopes to create. That models — demonstrates, displays, shows, exemplifies, for all to see — the better world that it hopes to spark.”

However, our current organizational paradigms and business models reward ruthlessness, aggression, cunning, competitiveness, authoritarianism, and an overarching “what’s in it for me” attitude. Unfortunately, these very traits strip us of our innate humanity and purpose, which are imbued with generosity, gratitude, compassion, courage, joy, love, and meaning. These qualities find little place in our organizations today — or lurk and hide in corners, afraid to reveal themselves for fear of ridicule, contempt, and condescension. This has created workplaces that are devoid of purpose, possibilities, and promise. People are literally ‘Dying for a Paycheck.’

Given this backdrop, I have used the phrase “leadership quest” deliberately. I believe leaders, and each one of us, have to “undertake a journey toward actualizing our highest future potential” in the service of a thrivable and regenerative world. And this quest will see an unfolding of pioneering and regenerative leadership principles and ethos necessary to build a life-sustaining society…. It is a quest, a journey of human evolution, a collective awakening of consciousness that is already taking place across the world in many shapes and forms.


We are at a unique stage in human history where technology and human consciousness are evolving and growing rapidly and exponentially. Their intersection — if put in the service of the well-being of all sentient beings and our Planet — can have an astounding impact. And our organizations can become platforms and holding spaces for The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible. Wouldn’t that be a worthy quest for all?

The inspiration for this post came while reading Jenny Andersson’s summary of the Connectle webinar on Regenerative Leadership 2  Becoming Imaginal Cells: Co-Creative and Collaborative Leadership for the Future. As I read, a few thoughts arose that I have tried to capture here in relation to regenerative leadership, the leadership quest, and Leading in Uncertain Times.

Pathways for a Leadership Quest

Nurture imaginal cells. Underneath the chaos, disintegration, and disarray apparent across the board lies the DNA of a new order waiting to be manifested. And what is to be birthed bears no resemblance to the old. Just as the caterpillar bears no resemblance to the butterfly, and yet holds the key — the imaginal cells — for its own metamorphosis. In the same way, the key — the imaginal cells — of regenerative, anti-fragile, and thrivable organizations are hidden within this collapse and chaos.

They are to be found in the shapeshifters, the wayfinders, the edge-dwellers, and the norm-breakers within our organizations. These individuals bear the seeds of a different narrative and the visions for an emergent future which is life-sustaining. They carry the possibilities of breakthroughs amidst the breakdowns. Regenerative leadership calls for an ability to identify and nurture these imaginal cells within the organization, to support their endeavors, and protect them from the onslaught of the status quo.

These individuals will often come across as fearless and bold contrarians, and the natural tendency will be to resist and fight them, to try and eject them from the system, to sideline them. The dominant status quo can be a formidable force. And this is precisely where leadership comes in — it will be the job of leaders to nurture and protect these people, to ensure they can grow, connect, and collaborate till a tipping point is reached. Once these wayfinders form clusters, and clusters of clusters, we can be sure that we are on the brink of a transformation.

Goto the edge of the system. The explorations and experimentations typically take place at the edges of a system. The edge is an interesting place; its very fluidity fills it with possibilities. It is also where two or more ecosystems come in contact with each other and give rise to interesting phenomena, like the mangroves (where the sea meets the land). Similarly, the edges of an organization are where the seeds of its next stage of evolution can be found should the leaders care to look.

A leader’s task is to be a bridge between the edge and the center — not to diminish the burgeoning potentials of the edge but to infuse the center with its spirit, vision, and energy. As more and more edge practices find their way into the center, the old patterns embedded at the core start to loosen and dissolve. With the releasing of the old ways, new practices, mindsets, and beliefs take root, transforming the organization. As Bucky Fuller said,

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Recognize the power of intention. This is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of regenerative leadership. A leader’s intention is the North Star that guides an organization towards becoming a regenerative business. It is about holding onto the vision of a life-affirming organization, and then putting it in practice. It involves not only recognizing that an organization is a living system but also following through with life-sustaining ways of being and doing. (I have been writing about these shifts in my earlier posts — Leading in Uncertain Times and Leading in Uncertain Times: The Journey Within.)

No amount of re-engineering, reorganization, and re-training will work if the fundamental intentions and consciousness are still rooted in the past. In short, the foundations of a thrivable organization cannot be built on profit maximization. The inner conditions of leadership have a profound impact on the outer reality. Only when leaders stay steadfastly true to the purpose of the organization, uphold its capacity to be a regenerative and healing force, and take actions and decisions rooted in their intention, can they propel an organization to move to its next stage of evolution.

Create conditions for emergence. Emergence is a fundamental property of living systems as they adapt to their constantly changing environment. When we move from the metaphor of “organizations as machines” to that of “organizations as living systems,” it is easy to understand why creating conditions for emergence is important. Emergence in organizations takes place at the intersections of relationships — their divergence and their synergy. Synergy arises from maintaining and facilitating a fine balance between agency and symbiosis among diverse and different individuals for something fundamentally novel to arise. This means that diversity and inclusion are pre-conditions for emergence, and it behooves leaders to design for this.

One of the foundational qualities of regenerative leadership is then to create and safeguard an inclusive culture based on embracing widely divergent worldviews, perspectives, and even paradoxes. Holding space for emergence is an active process of staying in the liminal space, listening deeply, engaging all our sensemaking capacities, and staying open to the “magic in the middle.” Leaders who can lean into the emerging future are the ones who create magic in the face of chaos.

Go beyond collaboration. Collaboration has become an increasingly important aspect of 21st century’s boundaryless, distributed, and fluid workplaces. Individuals and teams collaborate across borders to pool expertise, accomplish a set of pre-defined goals, and share learnings. I am proposing that in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity, we need to move beyond collaboration. Collaboration works when the path is known, an outcome is defined, and solutions are clear.

But when there is no path and outcomes cannot be predicted, then it is time to go beyond collaboration and embrace co-creation — a process of manifesting what is wanting to come through; giving shape to the emergent future by staying present, curious, compassionate, and courageous. Leaders need to become enablers and connectors — balancing divergence with synergy, facilitating the letting go off familiar outcomes, and holding the space for collective co-creation toward an ‘evolutionary purpose.’ This act of collective sensemaking requires deep trust in oneself, in the process, in human potential, and practice in Presencing. It should be a central part of today’s leadership quest to cultivate one’s capacities to create the conditions for co-creation.

Make life-affirming decisions. Organizations today can hardly be called life-affirming. They abide by and are driven by systems and policies that have turned them into profit-making machines at profound cost to their people and Planet. We are in the midst of a crisis that is beckoning us toward a different future possibility — one characterized by harmony, balance, resilience, and generativity. The purpose of the leadership quest today will be to make this potential a possibility. This will require leaders who are self-aware, mindful, and operate from a conscious understanding of the inter-connectedness and interbeing of everything. Without this felt sense of inter-relatedness, they will not be able to make life-affirming decisions.

The process is neither easy nor linear. It is an inner quest as well as an outer one. Leaders will be faced with infinite paradoxes and ambiguities, forces which will compel them to play by the old rules, and circumstances which will cloud their vision. However, by holding on to the overarching intention to be life-affirming, they can still act as stewards and facilitators of life. As Daniel Christian Wahl says in the context of regenerative leadership:

“Re-patterning the future regeneratively requires the transformation of the whole playing field, the redesign of our economic system and our monetary system, and — ultimately — the collective redesign of the human presence and impact on Earth.”

In conclusion, I believe that we are at a point in our evolutionary history where we are collectively being called to listen to our deepest truths as human beings, as stewards of life, as imaginal cells of the future, and to direct our intentions, thoughts, and actions toward co-creating a life-sustaining society.

“Thrivability emerges from each of us holding the persistent intention to be generative: that is to say, to create more value than we consume.” ~Jean M. Russell

Written by Sahana Chattopadhyay

How about bringing a “week-end feeling” into your week? Solutions to apprehend your week more serenely

How about bringing a “week-end feeling” into your week? Solutions to apprehend your week more serenely

Originally published in the HuffingtonPost on October 4th 2019

The weekends are supposed to be our intentional break from work. When you’re burned out, you can forget what a break actually feels like.

Burnout is a real occupational hazard, and it does not disappear when the workweek is done. The tired, snappy, apathetic employee at the office is the same person who still holds those grudges at home. 

According to the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases, the main criteria for burnout isn’t necessarily being overworked. It can also come from being under-challenged. Burnout is chronic workplace stress that can result in feelings of being drained and being increasingly disengaged and cynical about your work.

When you are experiencing burnout from the stress of your job, you can forget what time off is supposed to feel like. You can even develop bad habits on the weekend that are making you feel even more drained and overwhelmed on Monday morning.

Psychologists and career experts shared weekend habits that can contribute to burnout and offered solutions to combat it.

 

You live too much for the weekend.

There’s a difference between having something to look forward to on your days off and having that be the only part of the week you live for. That’s when this all-or-nothing thinking can be a sign of underlying burnout. “When people say, ‘I hate Mondays,’ or ‘Thank God it’s Friday,’ these are cute little sayings, but what you’re telling yourself is, ’80% of my life sucks,’” said clinical psychologist Ryan Howes.

“When people split their week up and start thinking of work as bad and the weekend as all good, that contributes to the problem,” Howes said. “They spend all weekend dreading going back to work on Monday and griping and complaining about it.”

 

Solution: Bring your weekend into your week, and find engagement elsewhere.

“If your weekends are filled with connecting with friends and getting some rest and going on little adventures, fantastic. How can you make that part of your workweek?” Howes said. Examples Howes offered are getting breakfast with a non-work friend or going to a bookstore on your lunch break.

When your work is draining the life out of you, “people have to feed their soul,” said Adriana Alejandre, a licensed marriage and family therapist. She said that surrounding yourself with people who are funny can be helpful and that trying something new can invigorate curiosity.

When you feel like your job isn’t challenging enough and you’re burned out from being under-challenged, you can also find fulfilment elsewhere, said Melody Wilding, a licensed social worker and executive coach. “That weekend time can be really valuable for starting a side hustle or volunteering or doing an artistic project. Something that makes you feel more engaged,” she said.

You can’t stop thinking and venting about work.

Constantly complaining about your terrible colleagues and your overbearing boss on the weekend can feel like a stress release in the moment, but in the long-run, this rumination can make you feel even worse.

When you can’t get the feelings off your chest and keep expressing these negative emotions, Howes said, “you’re not venting, you’re ruminating, you’re dwelling on it, you’re holding a grudge, and that means that the venting isn’t effective.”

 Solution: Gain self-awareness and reframe your thinking. 

 

“What can I do about this?” is a reframing question Howes said employees can ask themselves to redirect their complaining energy into something productive. “Venting should be the beginning of a problem-solving process, not an end to itself,” he said.

Wilding said a “brain-dumping” ritual of using reflective questions to think about your workweek can provide you the necessary closure to move on to your weekend. “I find a lot of people crash into the weekend and they don’t really have this time to decompress,” Wilding said.

Wilding added that some questions you can ask yourself for this ritual are ones that help you reflect on what did go well, such as, “What did I accomplish this week? Where did I make progress? What would I like to improve?” or ones that have you looking ahead, like, “How can I learn from this going forward?”

By giving yourself emotional and mental closure, you don’t let your work thoughts “leak over and be this pervasive thing that haunts you all weekend,” Wilding said.

 

You’re completely checked out, even in your free time.

When you’re experiencing burnout, your tunnel vision of work, work, work can lead to trouble engaging in the world outside of it on the weekends.

“I see a lot of times where people are so overwhelmed with the sheer amount of life things they have to do or want to do that they just check out over the weekend, so they’re not even spending that time in a restorative way,” Wilding said. “They’re sort of just numbing out with Netflix or bottomless brunches and things like that to escape everything and avoid it.”

 Solution: Be intentional. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t relax on your couch and watch movies, but be thoughtful about this plan. “It’s fine if you’re going in for a Netflix binge for the right reasons, and you know what you want to get out of it,” Wilding said. “As long as it’s a personal choice. But if your reasons are, ‘I just want to turn everything off, I just want to go into my cave and hide from the world,’ then it’s not with the healthiest intentions.”

 

Technology controls you and not the other way around.

When your phone is nearby, you can feel like you are on-call to your boss, even when you’re officially not. You may even find yourself checking email apps and work notifications mindlessly to check in.

First, recognise where this need to be available may be coming from. “Usually, that’s all based in fear. That’s why it’s stressful, because they’re afraid. ‘I’m afraid I’m going to miss out on something. I’m afraid I’m going to get behind. I’m afraid I’m going to come back and be unprepared,’” Howes said.

 

Solution: Create boundaries about when you’re available, and share those expectations. 

If you are driven to stay on-call by a fearful urge of “what if they need me?” self-reflect on how this thinking can perpetuate the burnout cycle. “If they’ve always depended on you and if you reply to them or engage with them on your time off, you’re enabling them to continue relying on you. Fighting against that anxiety is really important,” Alejandre said.

Even if you need to be reachable, you can be intentional about how much work you allow to take up your weekend, Wilding suggested. “Yes, you need to be reachable and you need to put parameters on that,” she said.

Once you make boundaries for yourself, you can share what your parameters are to others. “Be clear around your working hours, when you will be available, when you won’t be available, and the timeframe in which you’ll get back to someone,” Wilding said.

 

Burnout is not always your problem, but you should feel empowered to change what you can.

Of course, some of the contributing factors of burnout ― demanding bosses, unreasonable deadlines ― are outside of your control. But this can also be a signal that you need to change what is not working. When you trace your burnout to a systemic toxic source, you need to decide whether staying at this job outweighs what it is doing to your mental health. You may need to have a conversation with your boss about work expectations or get real about your career priorities.

But in the meantime, reclaiming your weekend is possible. But it does take work to cure the stresses of work.

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