In her opinion piece, in De Standaard on December 23rd “Burn out is het nieuwe staken” (Burn-out is the new way to strike), Prof. dr. Peggy de Prins argues that burn-out can be an expression of feelings of impotence related to work. In that sense, burn-out is just as much an organizational topic as it is a psychological one. Causes for burn-out are not only psychological in nature, but also the sociological aspect on burn-out should be taken into account.
I couldn’t agree with her more. I’ve already discussed the link between the way work is organized and psychological capital in a previous blog.
Burn-out obviously is linked to the topic of careers. I think organizations can benefit if they find ways for their employees to seize power over their careers. One way to this is to discuss the following questions within organizations with the various career actors; employees, managers, HR-professionals and unions :
Are we still holding on to the old paradigm of career management and trying to plan careers or are we more into the facilitation of careers?
When we discuss the careers of individuals, for instance in a talent review meeting, are we focusing on things important for the organization/job or do we also have a clear view on the subjective career success of our employees? Do we have an idea of what gives /takes energy for this particular employee?
Are we stuck in narrow job descriptions, linked to the system that shapes our pay system? Do our managers want their employees to all clones of each other or can we allow some individualization in the way a role is being fulfilled by an individual?
Do we have a talent culture in which career negotiation is accepted and formalized or do we experience frustration in our relationship with employees who behave like true career architects?
Do our job descriptions put the focus on competences and results or is there also attention for what brings meaning to work, for example: identity, learning opportunities, meaningful relationships, contribution, personal growth and so on?
"I believe that having a broad dialogue about these kinds of questions is crucial in building a sustainable talent culture, built on self-management, well-being, employability, and growth."
Janssen Pharmaceuticals has understood the necessity of continuous dialogue and opening up an adaptive space in which new ideas, principles and experiments concerning work, jobs and careers can find their way into the formal system of the organization. You can listen to Hilde