If you’ve spent any time in today’s workplace, you’re most likely familiar with the term “burnout.” In fact, you may dread its existence entirely... And you’re far from alone in fearing burnout; why does this 7-letter word strike so much anxiety and fear into the minds of managers, HR professionals, and even C-suite executives?
Just so we’re on the same page, we define burnout as a sense of disengagement from work along with overwhelming exhaustion onset by prolonged physical, emotional, and mental stress. At some point in your professional career or personal life, you’ve most likely felt the immense fatigue, depression, and detachment that accompanies burnout; Maybe you have felt squandered by your own incapability and like you can’t keep up with life’s incessant demands. I assure you that you’re not alone. Here are a few of the most common causes of burnouts:
Recently, the iAlign.Work team chatted with a leadership expert on this matter. He told us that that the type of employees who are experiencing intense burnout aren’t necessarily the ones you would expect to. Counter to common belief that you can spot a burnt out worker by looking for the "slackers," he told us that the top performers who regularly go above and beyond to achieve extraordinary results are the individuals falling prey to burnout at the fastest rate. They are rapidly overworking themselves and are facing debilitating stress at work. He explained that in his experience, top performers usually aren’t implementing sustainable work practices and are leaving companies sooner (contributing to high churn rates) because they exhaust themselves too quickly…. What he referred to as “a tale as old as time.” In fact, most employees are feeling the immense societal pressure to sacrifice personal work-life boundaries for the sake of producing desirable results or clocking in 60+ hours for the week. As a result of this problem, organizations are losing astonishing amounts of money.
According to Harvard Business Review, research reveals that U.S. companies alone spend an estimated $190 billion on workplace-stress-related healthcare costs each year. Additionally, we know that burnout leads to disengagement, and disengagement also costs companies money. For example, Gallup found that burned-out workers who are disengaged cost their company the equivalent of 18% of their annual salary. With numbers like these, it’s understandable why so many organizations are working hard to keep engagement up and turnover down.
Not only are companies facing the readily available costs of burnout, but they also are challenged in other less obvious ways. After top performers leave their employer, organizations suffer the cost of finding new talent to fill those positions. As we probably all know, the cost of hiring is much greater than retaining.
To learn more about the outrageous costs of turnover, take a look at our blog post How Much Does Turnover Actually Cost? – The ROI of Investing in Your People.
Now that we understand the magnitude of the problem at hand, how do we address it? Well, there is no one correct answer or magical formula capable of guaranteeing the elimination of employee burnout at your company. However, there are methods that will help you create a workplace environment that will lower it. Here are 4 ways you can help keep your workforce from experiencing burnout:
Easier said than done right? While these tips certainly aren’t the end-all be-all to solving burnout in the workplace, they are a great start to get you on the right track.
Burnout doesn’t have to be a common experience at work. You deserve to feel a sense of purpose, enjoyment, and achievement. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out at your company, you should pursue implementing practices that curtail burnout for yourself and your coworkers. Remember that creating a burnout resistant organization requires an integrative approach and takes time to develop. Focus on meeting the needs of employees and always seek out ways that you can better serve them.
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