the agile methodology to cope with employee burnout

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Once the domain of project teams, the agile methodology is increasingly becoming mainstream, Lim Chee Gay, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, TDCX, writes. Here are three reasons leaders should look at adopting this approach in their organisations today.

After more than two years of coping with the pandemic, a few things are clear: the pace of change will continue to accelerate, companies need to be quick to respond to changes, and employers will have less face time with employees as remote work is here to stay.

All these factors mean that traditional employee engagement methods are no longer sufficient. As such, organisations will have to rethink how they help their workforces thrive while preventing the very real issue of burnout. Burnout is also one of the factors that contributes to employee resignations, an issue compounded by the pandemic, and resulting in a trend known as the ‘Great Reshuffle’.

One of the ways organisations can enhance employee wellbeing is by adopting the agile methodology. The ‘Agile Organisation’ defines agile working as the bringing together of people, processes, connectivity, and technology, time and place, to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task.

By finding the most effective ways of working, we create a conducive and productive environment for employees to be their best. This in turn leads to a higher performing workforce and better business outcomes.

The need for organisations to become more agile is also a view taken by customer experience leaders, according to a finding from the Future CX Talent Strategies report from TDCX. In a dipstick poll, more than three in four industry leaders expressed the need to develop an agile workforce. This is particularly important given half of these leaders believe that their teams are currently not equipped to cope with such fast-paced change.

Reduce time spent on unnecessary and non-value-added tasks

The agile methodology emphasises short-cycle iterations that pushes teams to focus on fewer, more critical activities. As a result, teams identify and work on tasks that are more important, streamlining activities, and cutting out unnecessary tasks. This not only increases the organisation’s efficiency, but also helps in creating a better employee experience and work-life balance for employees.

Higher job satisfaction

Having an agile approach also gives employees greater empowerment. Through the short-cycle approach, employees see the outcomes of their efforts at a higher frequency. This acts as a form of continual feedback, and enhances job satisfaction. Leaders in the organisation can therefore use this to motivate and energise their team by creating opportunities for individual members to own the results.

Strengthened social bonds

Last, and perhaps one of the most important benefits, is the effect on social bonds. Agile teams tend to have strong social bonds, supported by a collaborative culture and high-trust levels. This leads to deeper engagement with the organisation and a stronger sense of belonging, factors that are even more important today as employees spend a lesser proportion of their time in the office.

When employees feel engaged with the company, it will help mitigate burnout or at least encourage the employee to raise the issue, rather than to leave the organisation entirely.

This perspective is supported by a study on agile methods as a stress management tool, stating that a combination of control and social support seemed to play a role in protecting against stress and burnout.

Through the agile approach, we saw results on two key metrics – employee and customer satisfaction, achieving 89% satisfaction on both aspects. Once the domain of project teams, the agile methodology is increasingly becoming mainstream. When free to work in an agile environment, employees are empowered, more productive, and engaged. This leads to higher job satisfaction, lower attrition, higher employee experience, and hopefully, more work-life balance.

Read alsoExploring possibilities: Why flexible workforce models are key to winning the talent war for TDCX


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