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Is Your Workforce Burned Out? Stanford’s Well-being Success Model

October 29 2018 / by Mari Ryan

At some point you’ve probably felt like you were running out of gas. Perhaps you were in the midst of a major project, experiencing a particularly busy time of year (think holidays or family visits), or just had one too many things go wrong over the course of a day. Occasionally feeling run down and frazzled is inevitable. But when this is your life every day, chances are you are burned out.


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The symptoms of burnout are:

  • Physical and emotional exhaustion – chronic fatigue, insomnia, increased illness, anxiety, depression, anger
  • Cynicism and detachment – loss of enjoyment, isolation, pessimism
  • Signs of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment – apathy, hopelessness, irritability, lack of productivity and poor performance.

Though burnout touches organizations of all sizes, employees at larger organizations seem to suffer in greater numbers, according to Kronos. One in five HR leaders at organizations with 100 to 500 employees cited burnout as the cause of 10 percent or less of their turnover. While 15 percent of HR leaders at organizations larger than 2,500 employees said burnout was responsible for annual turnover of 50 percent or more.

Physician and Employee Well-being at Stanford

A national survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reported that US physicians suffer more burnout than other American workers.

Stanford recognized the profound impact that physician and employee burnout could have on patient care, health care costs and turnover costs. In a recent interview with Patricia Purpur de Vries, director of the Stanford Health Promotion Network, we talked about the model Stanford developed to address employee well-being.

The model has professional fulfillment at the core. Professional fulfillment is defined as, “happiness or meaningfulness, self-worth, self-efficacy and satisfaction at work.”

The following three dimensions complete the model framework that is used to support employee well-being initiatives:

Personal ResilienceStanford Model

Individual skills, behaviors, and attitudes that contribute to physical, emotional, and professional well-being. From thousands of classes to world-class athletic facilities, Stanford is supporting their workforce with numerous resources to support this dimension.

Culture Of Wellness

Organizational values and actions that promote personal and professional growth, self-care and compassion for ourselves, our colleagues and our patients. Leaders set the tone and lead by example to create a culture where employees feel valued, appreciated and supported.

Efficiency Of Practice

Workplace systems, processes, and practices that promote safety, quality, effectiveness, positive patient and colleague interactions, and work-life balance. This dimension seeks to create ways to effectively manage work processes and practices that promote safety, quality, effectiveness, and positive patient and collegiate interactions.

This model, initially created as a response to physician burnout, is now being utilized with the over 16,000 employees in the Stanford University and Medical System.

Topics: Worksite Wellness, Wellbeing, worksite wellbeing, workplace wellbeing, hr, employee well-being, human resources, workplace wellness, corporate wellness, physician burnout, employee burnout

Mari Ryan

Written by Mari Ryan

Mari Ryan is the CEO/founder of AdvancingWellness and is a recognized expert in the field of workplace well-being strategy.