I recently dumped my corporate career and founded my company, Human Innovation Creations. I walked away from a “glamourized” dead end career where I worked 70 to 80 hours a week. Amongst other reasons, one of the reasons as to why I left was extreme burn out. Burn out is the most detrimental experience one can undergo and it has a 3 prong effect. But first, let me tell you what I have noticed from my 15 year corporate experience as a whole on how nuanced burn out is. Additionally, how it can be knowingly created by the wrong people in management and to what extreme it can affect a high achieving individual, an individual who is misaligned with tasks  or an individual who has been picked on.

Burn out is not only from working long hours. It is nuanced and organizations are failing to see the root problem and the bigger picture. Here are some of the different types of burn outs I have witnessed from my corporate experience:

  1. Long Hours
    • Yes, there is a lot of work to be done but hiring people and expecting them to stay longer to “get the work done”  without giving them the liberty to innovate or giving them time to live, eat, breath, exercise, spend time with their friends or family creates burn out.
  2. Work Overload
    • Dumping work on employees when they disagree or overloading work on employees with one sided expectation creates burn out.
  3. Constant Misdirection/Misinformation
    • This is an infamous habit with bad managers and leaders where polarizing directions or misdirections and misinformation are provided. Misdirection and misinformation creates chaos where there is no clarity to focus on a collaborative unified goal that looks at the bigger picture. Constant misdirection and misinformation creates burn out.
  4. Churn and Burn Tasks
    • When existing jobs and new jobs are focused on tasks that can be automated but are not automated, or tasks that managers do not wish to take on but expect their employees to do it manually, or tasks that does not allow an employee of any level to progress creates burn out.
  5. Exclusive
    • Creating a space where only “favourite” employees are included into decision making processes or excluding those who challenge management and propose better ideas than management creates not only a volatile culture, it creates burn out for those who are being excluded.
  6. Oppressive Behaviour from Management
    • Management who prevent employees from sharing information, vet information before going out to other teams, constantly prevent employees from executing projects that benefit multiple teams and the company, prevent them from speaking with other managers or leadership reach burn out at a swift rate.
  7. Petty Feedback
    • Too many times petty feedback are given to employees for having their own voice or for not “listening” to what the manager dictates their employee to do. When the egos of management is hurt, petty feedback is often the result. This is another cause of burn out.
  8. Roadblocks
    • When employees are faced with constant roadblocks with their work flow, tasks assigned, decisions, projects, or even with their managers/leadership, employees face burn out quickly.

According to research published on PLOS ONE, burn out causes extreme health hazards to humans. It can result in lack of commitment, disengagement, dissatisfaction, exhaustion of the brain, and quality of job execution. Note that how I do not say job performance as I have a different ideology on performance reviews.

The various above mentioned types of burn out creates a disruptive and constrictive environment from progressing. For human innovation to occur, one needs to be in a conducive, optimal environment where one can approach challenges with clarity. When any one of the above types of burn out situations are presented, humans’ thinking capabilities are discombobulated. Furthermore, burn out can cause serious health consequences according to Mayo Clinic. But fret not! Here are some ways we can shift the laggard ways of work place thrall to ensuring humans are thriving.

Ways to Shift the Burn Out Culture

I have emphasized in my previous articles of how our employees are our number 1 priority and it is our social responsibility to ensuring their well being is focused on to ensure a holistic growth from a 3 prong perspective – the employee, the management/leadership, and the company.

1. Be Receptive

We live in an era where our employees are exposed to the swift innovation of technology and information. They have the information and ideas to innovate. Being receptive to ideas and giving them the reins reduces a few types of burn out. Not only that, employees’ thoughts are of quality and in turn the quality of their work becomes optimal. Remember – even computers break down when and if pushed to maximum.

2. Create an Innovation Enablement Team or Hire a Third Party for Enablement

The purpose of an innovation enablement team is to ensure that ideas , inputs, and talents are moving forward. This team is not the average HR business partner, other HR teams or the direct managers. A modern work place needs to have someone who does not have any biases and can move things from a fresh perspective whilst including those employees who proposed the ideas. This will create a more conducive environment for humans to thrive.

3. Develop and Continuously Realign your Humans

Yes, it is a time consuming task to develop our talents but it is the biggest investment we can ever make. Furthermore, it becomes our social responsibility in ensuring we are developing and realigning talents within the company. Develop them even if they are not ready. No one is ready until they are put in circumstances to try and learn from attempts. Continue to realign them according to their interests and capabilities. Treat them as though they are the owner of the company and team.

People often think burn out is a millennial thing. Burn out is inherently present and pertains to all generations. Millennials and Xennials are more confident about speaking up, and walking away from tasks that creates a churn and burn environment.  A churn and burn environment and a churn and burn enabler becomes a company’s worst enemy. Shift to executing an environment where everyone can thrive.

At Human Innovation Creations, we approach all topics from a 3 prong perspective. There is more than one lens to how we innovate ourselves.


  • Mila DeChant

    Founder and CEO of "Fear Has A Face" Movement | International Speaker

    Fear Has A Face

    Mila is a storyteller, host, a global speaker, a thinker of possibilities, and an advocate of achieving limitless potential for human kind. A global speaker, Mila has given talks at events for Universities around the globe, organisations, and more. Mila is known for hosting Human Becomings on iTunes and a web series on YouTube. She is the founder of the Movement “Fear Has A Face” where she is bringing awareness to how fear isn’t a singular concept and the danger it brings to humans. She became motivated to create this social movement when she was reminded of her childhood abuse during her corporate tenure.