How to Tell If a Potential Employer Has a Burnout Culture

by Emily Stark, Becca Carnahan, and Jacqueline Kerr


How can you identify whether a potential employer has a burnout culture? Will the company support your well-being and productivity? Or will they leave you exhausted and looking for a new job again? The authors offer signals to look for, questions to ask, and ways to evaluate answers during your interview process.

Burnout is often seen as an individual problem. But research has shown that burnout at work is due to systemic negative conditions, such as unequal promotion opportunities, a lack of autonomy or flexibility, feeling like you don’t belong, or a values misalignment, such as a lack of support for working parents.

The guide provides signals to look for, questions to ask, and ways to evaluate answers during the interview process to assess whether a company has a burnout culture in which it treats employees as commodities or whether it has a human-focused, whole-person culture.

The six causes of burnout are identified as –

  1. Lack of Autonomy
  2. Lack of Fairness
  3. Unsustainable Workload
  4. Lack of Reward
  5. Lack of Community Support
  6. Misaligned Values

If you’re struggling with burnout, you might want to seek support to help you develop boundaries, reset, or identify your needs and values before embarking on a job search. When you are ready to apply for a new position, use this guide to help you look for supportive companies, find a good match with your needs and values, and set yourself up for success in your new role.

Read the full Harvard Business Review article here.

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