Employee burnout is a global concern, affecting employees across every industry. According to a recent survey, over 70 percent of employees report having experienced some level of employee burnout at their current job. Job burnout may result from various factors, including unclear job expectations, a lack of support, a dysfunctional company culture, or a poor work-life imbalance.
When companies are struggling with worker attrition, it becomes imperative to identify employee burnout risk factors and take steps to improve them to enhance employee retention. Creating a positive work environment, having open communication, and instituting a company recognition and rewards system are all ways businesses can help keep employees happy and productive.
What happens during employee burnout?
Employee burnout can cause employees to feel emotional and physical exhaustion. This type of work-related stress can cause employees to display various behaviors, including disengagement, making mistakes, reduced productivity, and increased absenteeism.
What is Employee Burnout?
Employee burnout is a type of workplace stress where employees feel emotional and physical exhaustion. Burned-out employees are generally both unhappy and unproductive. Employee burnout may manifest itself through an increasing lack of enthusiasm and disengagement that builds over time. Burnout can affect employees in any position and every industry.
While not classified as a medical condition, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress and causing exhaustion, feelings of negativism towards one’s job, and reduced professional efficiency.
Time pressure, a lack of control over work tasks, and long working hours can all be risk factors for stress and burnout. For a company, the consequences of burnout can quickly affect the bottom line through lower productivity and increased employee absence.
How Can a Manager Identify Employee Burnout?
Preventing and counteracting employee burnout starts by identifying when it is happening. While signs of burnout can vary between employees, these four general outward signs can help you tell if your employees are at risk:
- Increased Absences: Employees experiencing burnout are likely to take more sick days than their co-workers. Additionally, some employees can come in late and leave early more frequently to avoid projects or interactions with co-workers and supervisors that may be causing them stress. In contrast, employees may also work long hours, which can easily cause burnout.
- Decreased Productivity: Employee burnout can cause employees to feel less motivated and may ultimately cause them to fail to complete their tasks. Burned-out employees who feel unmotivated will likely exhibit lower levels of innovation and overall productivity.
- Mistakes: When employees experience stress and burnout, they may become less careful, more likely to make mistakes, and engage in poor decision-making. These employees may procrastinate planning and then become forced to react quickly to situations as they appear.
- Disengagement: Burnout can also cause employees to feel disconnected and may look like an employee who keeps skipping plans or choosing to isolate themselves. Disengagement can lead to employees displaying increased irritability or feeling cynical about their workplace.
Keep in mind many of the signs of burnout are intertwined. Additionally, it can often be more difficult to identify burnout with hybrid or remote employees as interaction with them can be much lower. To help, managers can use their business’s specific key performance indicators (KPIs) to assist them with identifying employees experiencing burnout.
3 Steps to Address Employee Burnout Across Your Organization
Employee burnout directly affects a business’s bottom line, which is identifying burnout and finding ways to address it is so critical.
Step #1 – Engage in Effective Communication: Preventing employee burnout starts by identifying when it is happening and can be aided by maintaining open lines of communication with employees. Having clear communication with employees can help them stay engaged and energized. This helps them to have a clear understanding of their job duties and company policies, which may aid in preventing burnout from starting. Managers should make sure they are checking in with each employee regularly and creating a welcome space for honest feedback.
Step #2 – Optimize Company Culture: Company culture plays a key role in determining how much employees enjoy their job, making it foundational to the workplace experience. Company culture sets the tone for everything an organization does, incorporating everything from communication styles to leadership behaviors. Companies can cultivate a positive work culture by focusing on their core values to derive purpose and guide business decisions.
Step #3 – Adding a Recognition & Rewards Program: Every employee wants to feel appreciated for what they do for the company. Employees who feel valued are more motivated to continue performing well. Employee recognition can include highlighting professional achievements and milestones and personal traits that make an employee stand out. Employee rewards may include a thank you note, team shoutout, gift card, time off, promotion, or bonus.
If you have hybrid or remote workers, keeping them connected and engaged can be more difficult. Taking steps such as meeting regularly and providing recognition is even more important.
Business leaders who can identify and address employee burnout will gain a greater competitive advantage. You can count on your Safeguard Advisor to learn about your unique goals and help you with personalized solutions that fit your business. Get started today.
- Employee burnout can cause employees to feel emotional and physical exhaustion.
- The consequences of employee burnout can quickly affect the bottom line through lower productivity and increased employee absence.
- Organizations can take three steps to address employee burnout: engaging in effective communication, optimizing company culture, and adding a recognition program.
- It can often be more difficult for business managers to identify employee burnout with hybrid or remote employees, as interaction with these employees can be much lower.