Employee burnout is wide-spread and it’s eating away at the productivity of the workforce across the nation.
A survey conducted by Gallup on 7500 employees revealed some shocking statistics:
- 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always.
- 44% of employees reported feeling burned out some of the time.
- This means roughly two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout at work.
Workers have different ways of dealing with burnout. Most have just accepted that it’s “just part of the job.” Burnout not only affects employee morale, but also drives down production within an organization. Employees who are burned out are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be looking for another job.
Employee burnout is also contagious. When the guy next to you is motivated, excited and engaged you tend to feel that way to. Conversely, if he is sluggish and tired that rubs off on you as well.
So, what’s a manager to do? Managers want to inspire higher production, get employees to work longer, harder and more effectively. But how is this accomplished without fostering burnout?
The solutions lie within the 5 key reasons burnout occurs.
One - Massive Workloads
Confidence is a major factor in productivity. When an employee is certain and confident he can get a tremendous amount of work done. However, when this confidence is shattered through repetitive failure productivity suffers.
High producing employees bite off way more than they can chew or managers overestimate what they can handle. In either case, the employee is set up to lose from the get go. High morale and confidence in the workplace comes from hitting targets and accomplishing goals over and over again. When the failures out number the victories morale will sink and burnout follows.
When workloads are massive and unmanageable, employees look to their managers to be their guide. Managers need to be constantly aware of how work is distributed and which employees can do accomplish what. Workloads properly distributed so victories can be obtained by employees actively combats burnout and creates engaged employees.
Two - Unfair Treatment
As much as we might not want to admit it, human beings are emotional. We try to separate emotions out from work to maintain professionalism and not take anything personally, but even the most thick-skinned of us feel things at work.
Seeing a colleague get a bonus or rewards when we worked harder; when someone else gets the promotion that we should have gotten stings
When employees strongly agree that they are often treated unfairly at work, they are more than twice as likely to feel burnt out. It’s hard for employees to stay engaged and dedicated when they feel cheated.
Unfair treatment can include managers playing favorites, bias, mistreatment by a co-worker going unnoticed or unhandled, and the various monetary compensation that can occur. Mistrust of management or upper-level leaders can break the mental bond that makes work meaningful.
Make a conscious effort to treat employees right and fairly. Work to eliminate bias and favoritism within the ranks. Being a good leader involves inspiring confidence within the workforce that you are just and handle matters to benefit not only the company but each individual employee. People will work hard for a leader they trust and believe in.
Three - Lack of communication and support from management.
Employees need support. They need to feel like managers and the organization are supporting them. A supportive environment that invites open communication doesn’t happen overnight. Communication needs to be frequent and predictable. Knowing a manger will come check and talk to an employee once a week on Fridays can go a long way in helping him feel supported.
Employees who feel supported by their managers are 70% less likely to experience burnout on a recurring or regular basis.
A huge weapon against employee burnout which not only works to eliminate, but also builds up company culture and engagement is a formal mentoring program. Big organizations can leverage Mentoring Software (like Wisdom Share provided by Mentor Resources) to match junior employees with senior managers, upper management and veteran employees. Usually (but not always) matches are made from separate departments or areas of the company to promote diverse interaction.
An employee who has a mentor has a weapon to cut right through burnout. He has someone on his team who can assist him to stay motivated and focus on his future career. When an organization provides a mentoring program, employees feel cared for as they know the organization is investing in their well being. Productivity on an individual level can boost dramatically and retention rates improve.
Four - Lack of role clarity
Only, 60% of workers feel they know what is expected of them at work. When accountability and expectations are constantly changing, it creates a murky work environment.
Employees who are uncertain of what is required of them are prone to work frantically and suffer anxiety about job security. They don’t know what is needed so they work to the bone in an effort to hold a job. They can spend less time working and instead be causing confusion around the organization trying to figure out what they need to do which can be exhausting for them and those around them.
There are two solutions to this. One, have a strong onboarding process that orients new employees to company structure, roles, expectations, and what is needed of them. Again, a mentoring program can really help you out here as employees how already know the ropes can mentor newer hires to how things are done.
The second solution is simply having managers discuss work responsibilities and performance targets with employees frequently. There should be active collaboration between managers and fellow employees to achieve tangible targets and complete projects that have clear endings. Defining tasks and then acknowledging the completion of these tasks creates security and clarity.
Five - Unreasonable time pressure
Burnout is directly proportional to stress levels at work. Deadlines can be stiff, but when they are downright impossible employees will be driven into apathy. When an employee is given a deadline which he knows he can’t meet no matter how late and how hard he looks all sorts of negative emotions will come flooding in.
Managers can oftentimes work faster and more efficiently than the employees under them. That’s how they became managers. But managers need to keep in mind that it may have taken them months if not years of practice on the job to develop the skill and speed to get work done at their level. Not all employees are there yet and they all operate at different speeds.
So be conscious of deadlines and what employees are actually capable of doing. Just because a manager might see how to get a project done within a week doesn’t mean an employee will. It may be a daunting task to the employee and he needs to be helped through it until he can operate at the optimum speed on his own. To do otherwise is to court burnout!
Burnout is not inevitable
No matter how proactive management is. No matter how hard companies and organizations work to build a fun and cultures environment. No matter what measures HR takes to increase engagement and combat burnout it will occur.
Burnout can be prevented and the best approach is to attack it head-on using the above-mentioned solutions. Know that burnout will happen, but it doesn’t have to last. It can be blown apart through good mentoring and management.
Burnout can be minimized resulting in maximum production.
If you are a leader with maxed out HR resources to spend on addressing employee burnout, look at the above 5 points and work out how to integrate solutions within your existing ranks and operations.
Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.
Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.