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January 2017

What Causes Employee Burnout and What Can I Do About It?

What Causes Employee Burnout and What Can I Do About It?

Are your employees looking a little sluggish? Have you noticed a dip in productivity and a severe lack of morale? They’re probably suffering from burnout.

Strategic human resources consultants know that more than half (57%) of organizations see employee retention as a problem. While there may be a number of reasons for your high turnover, it’s likely that burnout is one of them.

What causes burnout?

  1. Mismatched values
    If the values of the organization are not in line with the values of the employee, she may become dissatisfied and less motivated. Without a strong sense of purpose, an employee will only see work as a means to an end (a paycheck) rather than a meaningful endeavor.
  2. Poor communication
    Without proper communication, problems remain unresolved and growth is impossible. Dealing with the same issues and frustrations every day with no hope of improvement can be exhausting, ultimately leading to burnout. Additionally, an employee who believes that her voice is not being heard will begin to feel unimportant, undervalued, and demoralized.
  3. Lack of recognition
    Similarly, when standout employees are not recognized for their hard work, they will feel used and unappreciated. Your team will lose motivation and productivity will plummet. Researchers have learned that money is not the only source of motivation; in fact, it’s not even the strongest source. A sense of well-being, personal growth, and validation are all incredible motivators for most people, which makes recognition from your boss extremely important.
  4. Excessive workload
    People can only do so much in one day before exhaustion kicks in. If the job is overly complicated or asks too much from employees, they will become burned out quickly. Work should challenge employees without causing severe stress. Likewise, employees should be allowed to take time off, within reason, to prevent burnout.

Identifying and addressing employee burnout is just the first step. Implementing long term change is often the hardest part. As a leader, you need to create a company culture based on honesty and transparency in order to help employees sort through their issues. Show your employees that they are valued and understood by listening and addressing concerns directly. Being proactive this way can help contain burnout before it reaches a tipping point. Encourage employees to use their vacation days or to take “mental health days” as needed. Promote mindfulness and self-care in and out of the workplace.

For more ways to prevent and address burnout, discuss your options with experienced strategic human resources consultants.