72% of working dads are close to burnout. That’s what Talking Talent revealed recently in their survey of working professionals. Rob Bravo, the man behind that survey, talks to DaddiLife about his thoughts on the eye opening results, and why this needs to be just the start of a bigger conversation.
From corporate marketing to corporate wellbeing
Safe to say Rob Bravo has had an interesting career! As one of the directors at Talking Talent he’s been coaching in the workplace for the last 10 years, and as a dad of 3 himself, he also somehow manages to find the time to coach Rugby!
But life wasn’t always like this. Rob spent 25 years in the corporate space, across marketing first, then HR mainly in the financial services industry. It was that time that turned out to be rather transformative.
Selling a Marathon, but expecting a Sprinter
During his time across financial services, he saw more of a behaviour that needed addressing:
‘Organisations tend to say they have a long term view. They sell that as their vision, and yet expect people to perform for the short term.’
It was that insight that guided Rob through a coaching career where he’s coached hundreds of mums and dads going through various work/life areas.
When Rob joined Talking Talent to look at the Wellbeing agenda he said something was emerging – ‘we were finding more and more themes that there were pointing to real issues of balance and wellbeing. There was a gut instinct that many people were approaching burnout, and we wanted to really test that assumption.’
He wanted to look particularly at how burnout was affecting different groups of people, using the knowledge around the Maslach Burnout inventory that states Emotional Exhaustion, Depersonalisation, and Reduced Personal Accomplishment as the signs of real burnout.
Amongst the eye opening results were that:
- More than half (57%) of all professionals feel worn out by work;
- This number rises to over two-thirds (67%) for working parents; and 72% of working dads;
- And rises further to 70% of senior managers who feel the same way;
- 58% of senior managers report that they often lose focus at work;
- More than half (57%) of graduates feel worn out by work;
- Two-thirds of graduates (66%) feel they give a lot but get little in return;
- And three-quarters (75%) of professionals aged 25-34 already feel worn out by work.
Time to give dad’s a genuine voice
While the extent of the results even surprised Rob, he told us that this needs to be the very start of the conversation, not just a shock statistic.
“Many dads have never given themselves permission to think about how they’re going to be as a dad”
It’s that insight that, he says, is creating ever more pressure in the workplace for dads. He told us of how some dads even invented fictional meetings at 17:00 just so they could leave ‘on time – without fear of being judged. Isn’t it time to have a serious conversation at work?
But who owns it?
The area of burnout is a tricky one to assign to any one particular group at a company. ‘It isn’t just ‘HR’s responsibility,’ it needs to be a larger part of ‘leadership’s responsibility’ to put mental health awareness on the agenda throughout the organization.
And what about those dads going through this right now? Well, here’s what Rob suggests:
- It’s time to be more courageous amongst dads – we need to have the slightly more difficult conversations with our line managers.
- Dad’s need to go into those conversations saying – ‘It’s important for me to be that part of myself. And this is what I need from you. it might just I need you to know it. Or more flexibility, without fear that my performance won’t be judged.’
- Equally for any line managers – they need to recognize that they need to give the same level of support to new fathers, as they do with new mothers.
- It’s all about being aligned to what’s important to them as people.
Isn’t it about time we get the know the human being, not the human-doing?