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Adopt agility principles to prevent employee burnout

Resources - By Mr Lim Chee Gay, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, TDCX

As pandemic wears on, a few things are clear; the pace of change will continue to accelerate, we will have to find ways of adapting to those changes quickly and employers will have less face time with employees.

All these factors call for organizations to think about how they help their workforce thrive while preventing burnout. Burnout is also one of the factors that lead to employee resignations, an issue compounded by the pandemic and has resulted in a trend known as the “Great Reshuffle”.

At TDCX, we have looked to the agile methodology as one of the ways we keep the organization nimble while ensuring employee wellbeing. 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 way 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 organizations to become more agile is also a view taken by customer experience leaders, a finding that we share in the Future CX Talent Strategies report. In a dipstick poll conducted by TDCX, 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.

TDCX Featured Articles - Adopt agility principles to prevent employee burnout

Reduce time spent on unnecessary and non-value added tasks

The agile methodology emphasizes 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 organization’s efficiency but helps in creating 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 effort at a higher frequency. This acts as a form of continual feedback and enhances job satisfaction. Leaders in the organization can therefore use this to motivate and to energize their team by creating opportunities for individual members to own the results.

Strengthened social bonds

Lastly, 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 organization 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 would help mitigate burnout or at least encourage the employee to raise the issue, rather than to leave the organization 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.

We have also experienced the benefits arising from the agile approach. Apart from being able to respond to changes swiftly, we were able to improve on our performance for our clients, delivering a direct and measurable benefit to our business. Our teams were able to deliver an increase in customer satisfaction from 88 per cent to 89 per cent, in the few months after we pivoted into a work-from-home arrangement.

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.

For more insights on Future CX Talent Strategies, download our free e-book here.

TDCX Featured Articles - Adopt agility principles to prevent employee burnout