What Leads to Workplace Burnout?

In the beginning, things at work are new. Exciting. An adventure. But then … reality sets in. Routines are established. Tasks are assigned. And those goals that looked good on paper must take shape with daily focus. Over time, the hours, stress, or a pouty co-worker can grow tiresome.

 

Before you know it, your employee feels burned out. Their productivity dips. They become a bit gossipy. There’s talk that they may be looking for another job.

 

As the manager, you’ve got to step in immediately before it’s too late.

 

While many people associate workplace burnout with long hours on the job, we find there are many other contributing factors: pressure, tight deadlines, low morale, combative office relationships, and less than stellar health and wellness benefits. Organizational changes that disrupt the norm — such as new managers, new leadership, or new lines of business — can also create stress for employees.

 

Helping employees manage through stressful times is crucial to the performance of the team and to the organization as well. However, from our recent Global Perspectives study of 7,295 employees around the world, only 51% are satisfied with the policies/practices in place to help manage health and well-being. Additionally, only 51% of employees say their organization cares about their health and well-being overall. Clearly, improvement is needed.

 

Our research also indicates that the tolerance for things that lead to burnout is higher or lower depending on many factors, but most obviously age. For example, Gen Y employees tend to have a more mobile mindset. They think they can get a job anywhere, so if they start to feel burned out or dissatisfied, they will leave. Conversely, older generations, such as the baby boomers, can stay put in a job they’re unhappy with because their goal is to ride out their time until retirement. We call employees in this category “critical stayers,” because, while they have no intention of leaving, they tend to bad mouth their job, managers, or the organization. These employees can be a drain on the team, facilitating burnout for others.

 

Of course, we are speaking in generalities with the examples above, but workplace burnout is a serious situation that greatly impacts the bottom line.

 

Our most recent paper provided suggestions on how leaders can continue to find better ways to bring out the best in their employees. Read more here on a host of strategies to keep employees engaged and help mitigate burnout.

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