Employee burnout happens when your ‘once productive’ employees become exhausted, both physically and mentally, in the workplace. It is thought of as a psychological process and happens due to a prolonged period of stress or excessive work hours.
What can cause employee burnout?
From a lack of control (in decisions that affect their role in the business), to having unclear job expectations, relationship issues within the team, or a work-life imbalance, there are a number of factors that can lead to employee burnout.
Sometimes the cause is the work environment. Stressful jobs, lack of support and resources, and tight deadlines can all contribute to burnout. Other times, burnout has more to do with employees' expectations of themselves or their personal circumstances.
Signs of employee burnout
Burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways, both noticeable in the employees’ behaviour and personality, as well as their work;
- Frustration or indifference toward work
- Persistent irritability
- Anger, sarcasm, or being argumentative
- Mistakes being made
- Decline in motivation and productivity
- Lack of job satisfaction.
All of these things can drain an organisation's morale—as well as its wallet. Burnt out employees can be costly in terms of productivity, and if burnt out employees quit, there are the costs of replacement searches and training.
A recent Gallup survey found that out of 7,500 employees, 23% of them reported feeling burnt out.
63% of employees are more likely to take a sick day if they are facing burnout at work or are facing personal issues. Even if they do not take sick days, their performance is likely to reduce by 13% (Gallup).
Reducing Employee Burnout
To reduce employee burnout in the future, prevention is key. If employers don’t take action to resolve and prevent employee burnout in the future, burnout can lead to poor physical and mental health of their employees, reduced job satisfaction and an increased risk of accidents and mistakes, to name a few.
In order to effectively manage employee burnout, people need to
- Understand the reasons for burnout
- Find mutually agreeable solutions
- Rekindle employee motivation
- Make wellbeing part of company culture
- When an organisation makes wellbeing a priority of its culture and provides resources for employees to live healthier lives, employees genuinely tend to take better care of themselves.
- If an organisation's culture promotes working excessively long hours, working during personal time and generally putting work ahead of family, those burnout-inducing habits are going to be difficult to break.
- Equip your managers to prevent burnout.
- Managers are responsible for generating positive employee experiences and learning how to reduce stress at work for employees.
- It's their duty to set clear expectations, remove barriers, facilitate collaboration and ensure that employees feel fully supported to do their best work. When they do, managers can reverse burnout and prevent further burnout before it starts.