Justin Black, Head of Glint People Science at Linkedin May 7, 2020

At Glint, we’re seeing an increased sense of urgency from many of our customers as they seek a real-time understanding of employee sentiment during the COVID-19 crisis and make swift changes to support employee well-being.

Since March 18, we’ve gathered over 2.9 million survey responses from more than 700,000 employees around the world, in a sweeping range of industries. The biggest emerging trend threatening employee well-being? Burnout.

What we’re seeing is that employee survey comments around burnout doubled from March to April, increasing from 2.7% to 5.4%, suggesting that it’s a growing threat to the productivity and engagement of today’s workforce. This is to be expected, as employees attempt to maintain their mental health while learning new ways to manage their many responsibilities. In fact, employees who said they struggle with balancing their personal and work lives were 4.4x more likely to exhibit signs of burnout, and the effect was 2.3x for employees who felt overwhelmed by their workload.

Communication is also a critical factor impacting employee well-being: employees who felt their managers were ineffective communicators were 2.7x more likely to use language signaling burnout; 2.1x for those who felt their organization communicated poorly about change. Good communication reduces uncertainty and increases perceived control — and can protect employees from feeling overwhelmed in this “new reality.”

Fortunately, employees and employers are stepping up and owning well-being as a personal and organizational focus. In fact, in April, over 10x as many people watched mindfulness and stress management courses on LinkedIn Learning compared to February.

The reality is, with the amount of uncertainty and distress we’re all facing, it’s unlikely that the threat of burnout will dissipate anytime soon. As a leader in your organization, you can promote employee well-being by checking in with employees regularly, encouraging managers and employees to have regular, meaningful conversations about how they’re doing, and modeling ruthless prioritization and re-prioritization.

We’re all learning what it means to be productive in a time like this. We remain hopeful that shedding a light on employee concerns will help organizations continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. To connect with like-minded peers, join the People Success Forum on LinkedIn or drop me a line in the comments below.

On our methodology: Our system tags survey comments when any number of ~150 topics are mentioned, and those topics can be tracked and analyzed over time. A comment can be tagged with multiple topics, and it isn’t necessary for the specific topic name (e.g., “Burnout”) to be mentioned in the text being tagged (e.g., “I’m exhausted and feeling completely unproductive.”).