What are evidence-based strategies for mitigating burnout?
Organizational strategies are necessary in order to address the root cause of burnout. Strategies include practice delivery improvements, workflow modifications, institutional policy changes (i.e., time off and leave policies), culture change, and expanding resources for staff (i.e., childcare and family support programs). 5 evidence-based interventions are outlined below.
Availability, Responsiveness, and Continuity (ARC) Intervention: This team-based, manual-guided approach helps to improve organizational and social contexts of clinician burnout. This intervention takes 18 months and has been shown to increase morale, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and personalization. In addition, it has been shown to decrease role conflict and organizational rigidity.
Participatory Workplace Intervention: Focuses on identifying adverse psychosocial work factors, implementing environmental interventions (i.e. ergonomics), addressing communication, training, staffing processes, and team building. This intervention takes between 12 – 36 months and has been shown to increase supervisor support for up to 3 years, and decrease psychosocial demands, effort-reward imbalance, and work-related burnout for up to 3 years.
Workplace Interventions: Aim at improving communication between staff members, redesigning workflows, and implementing quality improvement projects that address clinician concerns. This intervention takes between 12 – 18 months to implement and has been shown to decrease burnout and increase job satisfaction.
Multi-component Intervention: Consists of leadership prioritizing the well-being of employee’s at the same level of quality of care and financial outcomes. This intervention can take up-to 5 years, and has been shown to significantly decrease both emotional and work-related exhaustion.
Organizational pilot program: Aims to improve well-being by utilizing an assessment, cultural transformation practices through leadership, team development, and addressing workflow design. This intervention takes 12 months and has been shown to decrease emotional exhaustion and increase the likelihood an employee would recommend the workplace to a friend or relative.
In each of these strategies a needs assessment was conducted, and input was solicited from every type of staff position (and there was leadership buy-in). After completing the needs assessment, a multi-disciplinary team was established to review data and develop an intervention. Strategies were prioritized based on the needs of the organization. After implementation, there was continual monitoring of progress and revising of plans as needed.
Ultimately, burnout is reduced, when organizational interventions are implemented. In addition, work-related attitudes are improved, and better cultures are created. For more detailed information, review SAMHSA’s Addressing Burnout in the Behavioral Health Workforce Through Organizational Strategies report.