Over the last thirty years, the psychological contract between employer and employee has changed because of globalization and major advances in technology. This CQ Dossier focuses on the concept of psychological contracts and raises several important questions such as what is a psychological contract and how does it work?
Managers are typically tasked with overseeing and taking steps to ensure the productivity of their employees. This task is complicated and requires a finely-tuned blend of providing motivation, doling out consequences, adapting to institutional change, and helping employees build independence and new skills.
Most managers are, by definition, focused on factors outside of themselves. Managing a team of employees and running an organization requires a ton of outward attention, and an ability to prioritize others’ needs before addressing ones’ own. This perspective, however, can come at a high price: managers may neglect to notice or address their own stress and physical health.
Burnout is, largely, a social phenomenon. Many of the causes of burnout are social: when an organization is run in an unjust fashion, conflict is high, and employer demands are difficult to meet, employees are at a greater risk of burning out (Oberle et al, 2016). Burnout is also exhibited in social terms: burned out employees are more disagreeable, apathetic, and jaded. The diminished performance of a burned out employee can create more conflict and disappointment within their workplace, negatively impacting those around them (Kim et al, 2017).
Burnout is the enemy of productivity, collaboration, and morale. When an employee is experiencing burnout, they report low motivation, low investment in their organization’s goals, and an outlook that is pessimistic and grim. Burned out employees are more likely to be absent, waste time at the workplace, make avoidable errors in their work duties, and generate conflict among their co-workers.
A growing number of organizations are focusing on caring for their employees in a holistic, wellbeing-focused manner. Particularly among tech companies and start-ups, employee benefits now surpass simple health and retirement benefits, and include physical health programs, continuing education credits, and even on-site wellness facilities such as yoga rooms (Dailey & Zhu, 2017).