Eric Garton has identified organizational issues that lead to employee burnout - but I immediately recognized that these are also spanners in the gears of effective search work.
Let's start with a basic observation developed over years of executive recruiting: all companies have processes and norms in place to reduce or distribute risk, but some are especially problematic for executives making critical decisions.
Three in particular are interrelated and lead to burnout, but also frustrating and prolonged executive search processes.
Excessive collaboration: too many participants on calls and too many interviewers? The key decision-maker should accept hiring risk, cut out non-essential team members, and be empowered to make key decisions during a search.
Weak org-wide time stewardship: time is scarce and search progress is about tempo, tempo, tempo. High drag on a leader from an inefficient, meeting-loving organization leads to canceled check-in calls, lack of "thinking time", and rushed or distracted interviews with star candidates.
Overloading the most talented: our hiring execs are extremely skilled people wrestling with tough business problems, so are often asked to take on too much. When it comes to hiring, the best leaders will delegate critical interview components to their lieutenants while focusing their interview time on the most critical strategic and cultural issues.
The right executive recruiter will identify these problems early, help address them, and empower the hiring exec to be an overall better leader and manager.
Executives need to own up to their role in creating the workplace stress that leads to burnout—heavy workloads, job insecurity, and frustrating work routines that include too many meetings and far too little time for creative work. Once executives confront the problem at an organizational level, they can use organizational measures to address it. In our book Time, Talent and Energy, we note that when employees aren’t as productive as they could be, it’s usually the organization, not its employees, that is to blame. The same is true for employee burnout. When we looked inside companies with high burnout rates, we saw three common culprits: excessive collaboration, weak time management disciplines, and a tendency to overload the most capable with too much work.