Businesses of all sizes and industries experience a common corporate trend: employee burnout. This often-overlooked shortcoming is detrimental to businesses' workplace cultures and productivity levels. Most of all, it severely impacts corporate attrition rates, leading to an increase in costly recruiting and loss of valuable, skilled employees.

A recent Gallup report found that employees who oftentimes or always feel the effects of burnout are 2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer. In addition, they are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 23% more likely to visit the emergency room. The Harvard Business Review found startling data that employee burnout accounts for approximately $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending every year. Some common health risks this trend has been proven to cause include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, gastrointestinal issues, and even casualties for employees under 45 years old. Employee burnout can be dangerous both for the quality of production put forth by your organization and for the health of your employees.

If you'd like to lower the prevalence of employee burnout in your operations, you might consider focusing on the following action plans:

Team huddle - tackling employee burnout


Create a manageable workload

When employees feel stressed about the amount of work their employer expects from them, they might channel their stress into their work performance. In order to plow through their many assignments, they might rush through them, leaving plenty of room for error. In addition, their stress can get in their heads, affecting their ability to meet deadlines and create exceptional work. Even the top-performing employees in an organization can allow an unmanageable workload to get in the way of their abilities.

It's on employers to ensure managers are not asking too much of their employees. There's a big difference between having high expectations and putting way too many tasks on their plates. Encourage managers to meet regularly with their staff to gain feedback on ways they can better communicate their expectations. Just as employees have tasks to complete, effective managers should develop action plans on how they can prevent workloads from becoming too heavy. These plans and the tasks assigned based on them can be facilitated and automated through HCM technology, helping managers to responsibly distribute workloads without adding too much to their administrative overhead.

Treat all employees with respect

While a large workload can cause a formerly happy, successful employee to spiral, nothing can destroy staff members' morale quite like being treated poorly at work. According to Gallup, employees who are treated unfairly are 2.3 times more likely to feel burnt out. Some common examples of unfair treatment include favoritism, mistreatment, unfair compensation, inflexible corporate policies, and bias.

Improving the respect level delivered to each employee should be done on both the large-scale, macro level, as well as the individual, micro level. Employers should accommodate their employees by evaluating any corporate policies that have faced backlash and developing ways they can improve this policy to better their employees' experiences. In addition, employers may consider working directly with managers to ensure they are providing equitable experiences for each of their employees. Finally, people analytics tools can give ongoing insights to HR professionals and leadership around manager effectiveness and help catch and correct problems before they result in burnout.

Encourage support from managers

Many employees have a healthy discourse with their manager, in which they can approach these higher-ups if anything goes wrong. They might be seeking advice for how to move forward with a project that has gone awry or simply looking for support to make them feel better after a misstep. When employees feel that their manager is clueless or overly passive, they may not feel that this co-worker has their back. Even worse, when a manager is untrustworthy or overly confrontational, employees might feel the need to hide the mistakes they've made, leaving them stagnant and defensive rather than proactive and adaptable. A transparent electronic approach to performance can help here by setting clear goals that employees can easily update progress on, allowing communication back and forth on goals outside the high-pressure environment of a performance review, and reminding managers of what goals are assigned to their employees to prevent unexpected changes.

Create a culture of understanding

Employee burnout is completely avoidable. Taking strides to prevent this workplace trend involves a strategic approach, evaluating how managers in the organization are leading their staff and making sure burnout isn't a taboo topic.

It isn't worth it to neglect employee burnout. When your employees are not happy, you are risking your business' reputation; this can impact all areas of your business, from customer respect to recruiting efforts. Leadership should oversee how much work managers are assigning their employees and constantly ask for feedback from all members of the business to make sure everyone feels empowered and supported by their managers. Again, the transparency that a unified HCM platform brings to the table is a big help here since it allows this data to be collected much more easily and for goals to be cascaded throughout the organization.

Handling employee burnout with the right HR platform

When you want to tackle employee burnout in your organization, you might consider investing in a human capital management platform that can improve employee engagement and increase productivity, all while reducing employee burnout rates. Don't allow the dangerous trend of employee burnout to impact your business's bottom line. Make the case for the importance of a burnout-free corporate culture to show upper management that investing in HCM software can make a significant impact on your business.

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2019