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Even before Oct. 7, Jewish groups struggled with security issues, burnout

A survey of more than 18,000 employees and CEOs puts forth ideas on how to keep Jewish employees energized and engaged.

Photo: Judy Lash Balint. Israel-Lebanese border not far from Yiftah. Photo by Judy Lash Balint.
Photo: Judy Lash Balint. Israel-Lebanese border not far from Yiftah. Photo by Judy Lash Balint.

Leading Edge released its report “The State of the Jewish Workplace 2023” based on data from 18,212 employees and 304 CEOs at 327 organizations. The information comes from a May 2023 survey.

The results of the survey—the largest of its kind researching Jewish organizations—offered five conclusions presented by Leading Edge.

First, the organization urged increased security, given that 14% of employees in May reported not feeling safe. Leading Edge pointed out that post-Oct. 7 polls showed that 70% of American Jews now feel less safe. The survey also found a link between workers feeling a sense of belonging and their on-the-job performance.

The research also revealed that organizations’ managers also needed more support. Leading Edge also reported that 66% of employees felt that employee well-being was a priority at their organization, a number below that of the average employer. Leading Edge urged an improvement here to reduce burnout, which it described as a “crisis.”

The report also found that the primary problem with employee engagement was a lack of confidence in organizational leadership—an issue that could be relieved with greater dialogue between workers and their bosses.

“Check in frequently with your team about their workloads and well-being. You can do that with employee surveys, conversations in one-on-one meetings, and other ways of checking in,” Gali Cooks, the president and CEO of Leading Edge, told JNS. “Set aside frequent, official times to ask for help. Ask in every weekly all-staff meeting if anyone has a project they need support on.”

Cooks urged for the occasional organization-wide shutdown, saying: “Giving all employees the chance to be ‘offline’ at the same time gives everyone permission to truly shut down and recharge, and allows executives to model the behavior for everyone. Plus, when everyone is out of the office, no one returns to a full inbox or a sense of missing out on key meetings.”

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