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Reducing Burnout for 911 Dispatchers and Call Takers: A Field Experiment

EasyChair Preprint no. 1158

21 pagesDate: June 10, 2019


The rapid rise in reported front line worker burnout, as well as the WHO’s recent reclassification of burnout as a syndrome, has spurred renewed interest in evidence-based strategies to reduce burnout across many mission-driven occupations. This study presents findings from a multi-site field experiment aimed at lowering burnout in 911 dispatchers and call-takers, the “forgotten victims” of law enforcement. Drawing on evidence on workplace social support and community building, treated individuals received six weeks of emails that shared stories from other dispatchers and invited participants to write about their own experience anonymously on an online platform. By the four-month follow-up, the intervention had reduced burnout by 8 points (p = 0.014), from a control group mean of 52 (0.4 standard deviations), and significantly reduced resignations post-intervention by 3.4 percentage points, from a control group mean of 5.1 percent (p = 0.021). We did not find an impact on any resignations occurring within the six-week intervention window, nor on sick leave taken. The findings suggest that even light-touch behavioral interventions can meaningfully reduce burnout, and they can improve employee and organisational outcomes.

Keyphrases: behavioral economics, Burnout, field experiment, front-line workers, Turnover

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Elizabeth Linos and Krista Ruffini and Stephanie Wilcoxen},
  title = {Reducing Burnout for 911 Dispatchers and Call Takers: A Field Experiment},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1158},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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