The Dangers of Employee Burnout

Burnout is the exhaustion of physical, or emotional strength or motivation, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. Burnout often strikes when an employee has spent far too much time in a stressful work environment. Lacking in support, no access to resources, tight deadlines, and not being allowed to take a break can cause burnout. Sometimes, burnout can is caused by the employee’s expectations of themselves and failing to meet demanding goals and personal standards.

Employee burnout is a widespread problem in companies and businesses in every industry. Often, employers treat burnout as a personal issue that should be handled by the employee rather than the responsibility of the organization. Fact is, employee burnout is not the employee’s fault. It is the fault of the employer, and the dangers of employee burnout could affect the entire company.

Pushing an employee to work late hours, setting rushed deadlines, not communicating effectively, and denying time off requests can all cause employee burnout.

Burnout is more than just occasional stress. From time to time, everyone experiences a little bit of discomfort and tension in the workplace. The typical employee may grumble a little at the idea of some extra work, but they continue to work through their assigned tasks and make the most of any situation. They may even seek help or guidance along the way to reduce the amount of stress they are feeling.

An employee who is feeling burned out might do more than grumble. Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to cynicism and detachment. Many employees suffer feelings of ineffectiveness and lack accomplishment. They may even struggle to complete simple tasks in instances where they are so burned out that they can no longer function appropriately.

There are several signs of burnout to look for in the workplace. Employee burnout can manifest in any number of ways, but some of the more common signs and symptoms include:

  • Frustration toward work assignments, even simple ones
  • Irritability
  • Angry or argumentative behaviors
  • Sarcasm or disregard for serious situations
  • Absenteeism
  • Decreased productivity and quality of work

A Gallup poll recently discovered that 23 percent of employee’s report feeling burnout at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent feel burned out some of the time. Employee burnout has become such a common issue that the World Health Organization has added the aliment to it’s International Classification of Diseases.

Avoidable and treatable symptoms cost employers billions each year. Researchers estimate that up to $190 billion every year gets spent on the healthcare costs associated with employee burnout. Burnout is also one of the leading causes of employee turnover. Between 20 and 50 percent of employees who have left their jobs sight that feelings of burnout are the primary cause. The symptoms of burnout can cause employees to be disengaged and disgruntled. Disengaged employees can cause low productivity rates, low customer retention rates, and an increase in accidents and incidents in the workplace.

Employee burnout is contagious. It can create a toxic work environment that continues until company leaders mitigate it. Companies wanting to improve their bottom line must take responsibility for resolving employee burnout in their businesses. Making positive changes to the work environment can enhance the culture and give employees a fulfilling work experience. To lower the risk of workplace burnout by focusing on building a community of employees who feel appreciated, connected, and enjoy a positive work-life balance.

By partnering with an employee engagement program provider, companies can help employees avoid burnout. Engagement programs can be customized to offer employees an engaging experience that gives them a positive connection with the workplace. Engagement programs encourage employees to set both individual and team goals that they can work towards and achieve recognition as they complete them. The incentives and recognition offered through an employee engagement program allow employees to work for and receive gratifying rewards.

Programs also encourage employees to seek balance and take stock in their health and mental well-being. Several programs offer health and wellness modules that can give employee valuable information on burnout prevention, meditation, and exercise. With the knowledge, employees learn how to keep their minds and bodies happy and healthy.

When it comes to preventing burnout, companies should offer employees the opportunity to learn new things and take on new challenges. Doing so keeps them involved and excited about the work they are doing. With an engagement program, companies can offer employees learning and training opportunities, career development coaching, personalized recognition, and acknowledgment for their accomplishments. They can even help improve employee relationships by offering peer to peer recognition.

Employees are happier, less strained, and feel a greater connection to their work when they know that they are in an environment that fosters growth, inclusiveness, and appreciation. Employees experience a reduction in stress, and, in turn, are at lesser risk of burnout, making them healthier, more productive, and an active contributor to the company’s bottom line.

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