Say your organization is having a problem with hotline burnout — one person tends to burn out each month. You really need some kind of burnout protection, but how? You’re the crisis coordinator, and you have advocates that are taking between 30-250 hours / week. They range from seasoned staff to new volunteers. What do you do?
This is a real situation we’ve seen at a real crisis agency.
The first approach might be to look at the data. You might think, okay let’s see who’s taking the most shifts, and reach out and see if they can take on fewer shifts. That should help. Losing key staff is very problematic, so maybe we start there.
But the data didn’t help. Come next month, someone else burns out. What is happening! It turns out that we didn’t even reach out to this individual – they only took 30 hours this past month. So how come they’re burning out You think, I know this person, and they’re a hard worker. What’s happening???
We need different data.
The Answer: We looked at the amount of time that each person spent on the phone actually speaking to someone. The surprising thing is that one person was single handedly answering nearly 20% of all hotline calls, but they were only taking about 30 hours of shifts each month. Shifts were incredibly uneven. That’s nuts!
It Worked! A soon as the crisis coordinator saw our new burnout protection dashboard they thought — I better reach out to this person, because they’re going to burn out. So they went to their inbox only to find an email from that individual, saying that they had to step away from the organization. Only admin had access to this new dashboard, not the volunteer that burned out.
This dashboard is now a standard part of our hotline management system. Do you want to learn more best practices, or do you need help solving a specific issue for your local, state, or national 24h hotline? Reach out and introduce yourself at firstname.lastname@example.org, or schedule a meeting with an expert.
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