Editor’s note: Merilee Kern is a brand strategist, analyst and founder of The Luxe List.

Employee burnout is one of the greatest challenges facing national economies. Studies show that, in some, a near majority of workers suffer from work-related stress, with over half of worker absences directly related to that stress. Not only is this a significant drain on resources that drives avoidable opportunity loss, it’s also a major contributor to both mental and physical health problems. While any number of interventions can address and resolve employee burnout, one solution is within earshot...literally: active listening. 

Today’s modern management must take a top-down approach to support its staff and not just hear what is being said but rather actively listen to it. A Harvard Business Review study found that active listening is a key factor in improving leadership effectiveness which, in turn, improves employee productivity, engagement and retention.1 Conversely, failing to do so presents a critical missed opportunity to address, and resolve, root causes of workforce stress and burnout. With employee burnout so widespread, aptly addressing the issue can seem daunting for managers. However, the overwhelm of the issue can apparently be mitigated with a clarified understanding of common challenges that cause and exacerbate employee burnout. According to Adi Segal, CEO of Hapi, there are five red flags that can readily be identified and resolved through active listening.  

When employees feel isolated, their emotional state is compromised and they are more likely to experience anxiety, stress and burnout – factors that can erode and impair a company’s growth. The work from home culture has only exacerbated the issue. In fact, Airbnb’s CEO warned that the most dangerous part of remote work isn’t lost productivity – it is loneliness.2 Active listening can help leaders identify employees who are struggling wi...