Managers are burning out – and it's leading to a culture crisis

There's no such thing as 'work-life balance' – it's just 'life balance'

Managers are burning out – and it's leading to a culture crisis

This article was produced in partnership with O.C Tanner.

Earlier this month, O.C Tanner released its annual Global Culture Report, looking at the current state of culture, collaboration, and community in our workplaces. For the fifth year running, the report revealed in detail the challenges, passion points, and strategic plans in our organizations – looking at everything from how to beat the Great Resignation to battling management burnout.

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This year’s report saw a particular focus on leadership styles when navigating disruption and uncertainty. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, rising inflation , and mental wellbeing fallouts, the report uncovered that managers are feeling more disconnected than ever before. Leaders are succumbing to extreme stress and burnout, with leaders 42% more likely to say work is interfering in their ability to be happy. Furthermore, there’s a disconnect between what leaders believe they’re achieving and what their employees expect. O.C Tanner’s research found that while 79% of leaders think they have a "good sense" of what their employees want, only 48% of employees agree, with only 54% of employees believing that their manager is “on their side”.

It's this mismatch that’s wreaking havoc in organizations. Speaking with Meghan Stettler, director of the O.C. Tanner Institute, she believes that leaders need to work on building that sense of community and belonging in organizations in order to help people truly thrive.

“Community and fulfillment were two of the main themes running through our report this year,” says Stettler. “In order to create a culture and an organization where employees feel connected, leaders must focus on the role recognition plays as well as looking at fulfillment levels. The six key elements of workplace culture, purpose, opportunity, success, appreciation, wellbeing, and leadership, they all determine employee decisions around retention and engagement.”

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What’s more, the report found that when employees score high on the Community Index, strong outcomes naturally follow. For instance, companies high up on the Index have 100% higher odds of aspirational levels of great work, 785% higher odds employees feel like they belong, and 58% lower probability of turnover. By balancing all these factors, leadership teams can not only harness the power of community in their workplaces, they can actually help their employees thrive -  and continue to do so in their organizations.

"There's no such thing as 'work-life balance' – it's just 'life balance.' With that, a meaningful focus on employees' holistic wellbeing is crucial for organizations to retain and attract talent in today's environment," added Gary Beckstrand, VP of the O.C. Tanner Institute. "Data from our 2023 Global Culture Report shows that when organizations enable life balance, support the growth and development of everyone holistically, create a thriving workplace community, and help each person contribute to the collective purpose, great business outcomes are abundant."

Take a look at O.C Tanner’s full report here.

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