Laura L. Lemon, Ph.D., University of Alabama
This blog is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center.

One aspect of employee engagement that is minimally discussed in the public relations literature is employee burnout. Burnout was initially established and investigated in the human resource literature and is conceptualized as the opposite of engagement (Gonzalez-Roma, Schaufeli, Bakker, & Lloret, 2006). Specifically, the Job-Demands-Resources (J-D-R) model demonstrates the two processes that lead to job burnout include the high demands of a job and a lack of job resources (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).

Despite some advances in the scholarly conversation on burnout and disengagement, we (professionals and scholars alike) don’t spend much time and effort looking into how to help employees cope with burnout. Instead, we focus on how organizations can increase employee engagement through programming or improved processes. However, employee engagement cannot be addressed if a workforce is burned out. Given our current world, I suspect that many industries and organizations are faced with employees who are simply burned out. To speak from experience, I know academics are experiencing such burnout, and the fall semester has yet to begin.

PRovoke Media explored how the PR sector has risen to the unique creative challenges of the COVID-19 era. 

This report is based on a survey of more than 300 agency and in-house executives from across the world, which took place earlier this year.

Key findings include:
  • 44% of respondents say that COVID-19 has had a "positive" or "very positive" effect on their personal creative abilities/output, compared to 25% who described the impact as "negative." 
  • 88% of respondents believe creativity will be either "extremely" or "very" important to business recovery post-COVID.
  • 63% of respondents describe their agency’s creativity as "inspirational" or "good" during COVID-19, compared to 54% prior to 2020.

McKinsey investigated the topics that board directors and executives are focusing on post-COVID-19.

A global survey of 846 board directors and C-level executives in a range of industries was conducted.

Key findings include:
  • Boards that were quickest to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis are now focusing more on specific external risks than on corporate resilience overall.
  • Respondents expect to maintain many of the operational changes they made during COVID-19 but also expect to focus more on:
  • Geopolitical and macroeconomic risks (up 19 percentage points)
  • Political risks (up 15 percentage points) 
  • Climate-related risks (up 10 percentage points)
  • More than 75% of respondents said that “innovation and growth” was a key focus.

Pew Research Center examined long-term trends in U.S. newsroom employment to understand the state of news, information, and journalism in the digital age.

This report analyzed an Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2020. 

Key findings include:
  • Newsroom employment in the U.S. declined 28% between 2008 and 2020.
  • There were 114,000 U.S. newsroom employees in 2008 compared to 85,000 in 2020.
  • Newspaper newsroom employment fell 57% between 2008 and 2020, from roughly 71,000 jobs to about 31,000.
  • The number of digital-native newsroom employees rose 144%, from 7,400 workers in 2008 to about 18,000 in 2020. 
  • Newsroom employment at broadcast TV stations (around 28,000) and cable TV stations (2,000 to 3,000) has remained stable from 2008 to 2020.

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