The Top Reasons for Employee Burnout and How You Can Prevent It

Continue reading to learn the causes of employee burnout and four ways you can prevent it within your organisation.

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Job burnout also known as “employee burnout” or simply just “burnout” is becoming a problem seen often in the workforce of today. It can be defined as the mental and physical fatigue that an employee feels in the workplace as a result of overworking and operating at over capacity. Employee burnout is one of the leading threats to the level of employee engagement and well-being and can happen to any of your employees at any time.

A recent study shows that 48% of employees are burned out, and whilst the stress typically derives from people's jobs, the stress from their overall lifestyles can also be a contributor. Burnout is detrimental to the mental and physical health of employees, causing feelings of depression, stress, and exhaustion. For organisations, it also has negative effects, such as lowering productivity within the workplace and decreased retention levels.

Throughout this article, we will be investigating the causes of employee burnout and also discussing ways you can prevent it within your organisation.

What Causes Burnout?

Many employers fail to recognise the main causes of burnout. But what causes it? Is it just stress or something different? Unsurprisingly, there are several causes, some main ones include:

1. No Career Progression

One of the biggest causes of burnout is lack of career progression, your employees want to not only feel challenged within their role but also develop and progress within their careers. If your employees feel like they are doing their job on autopilot and see no clear path for growth within your organisation, they will slowly but surely start to feel burnt out. Apart from burnout, it’s important to make sure employees have the opportunity to grow within your organisation, or it can also lead to declined work satisfaction, inspiration, and productivity.

2. Overworked Employees

Sadly, it’s not an uncommon sight to see managers who overburden and overwork their employees. When your employees feel overworked within their role, they will start looking for new jobs. Even your high-performing employees can see a dramatic mindset shift when they are struggling to manage and maintain their workload. Employees who are faced with unrealistic expectations and more responsibilities will begin to feel the pressure of their workload. When this happens, they are more likely to start taking shortcuts which will result in more errors being made in their work, which in turn can make employees feel guilty and cause further stress and hopelessness.

3. Bad Management

The effectiveness of leadership is something that can make or break an organisation. Bad management can cause havoc for your employees. From lack of communication to employees not feeling appreciated for their work, awful management can contribute to stress and burnout of your employees. Pay close attention to the leadership within your organisation and determine whether they’re effective at leading their team or not.

4. No Work-Life Balance

One of the leading causes of employee burnout is no work-life balance, which many organisations fail to recognise as an important factor in the overall health and well-being of their employees. When employees have unclear boundaries on where their work life ends and their personal life begins, burnout is bound to happen. When employees don’t take time off work, they become exhausted and bored, which reflects on their work. Employees need time to relax without having to worry about work.

5. Unfair Treatment at Work

Not only is unfair treatment of employees highly illegal, but it’s also morally wrong for employees to be treated unfairly within the workforce. All of your employees want and deserve to be treated equally at work. Unfair treatment includes bias, favouritism, and mistreatment. When leadership within your organisation are picking their favourite team members for promotions for example or recognising everyone else’s achievements and not specific workers, it can be extremely demotivating to employees. When your employees feel valued and respected, it creates a sense of community in the workplace that shapes the success of the organisation.

Solutions to Burnout

Now you know some main causes of job burnout, it’s time to explore the different cures and solutions to preventing it within your organisation. Let's look at some solutions you can use in your organisation:

1. Mentoring Program

Mentoring programs are a great way to reduce burnout levels. Implementing an organisational mentoring program is an incredibly valuable and vital tool that is becoming an increasingly popular method used by organisations across the globe. The benefits of mentoring programs are endless, from increased employee engagement to reduced employee turnover, it opens up infinite possibilities for your employees. Mentoring is a great way to ensure career progression is happening within your organisation and that employees are being supported within their roles. These are two of the biggest reasons for employee stress and burnout, so if you want a happy workforce, you need to address them. If you want to learn more about implementing a mentoring program within your organisation and the value it can bring, book a free demonstration here.

2. Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Your employees need clear boundaries and expectations, this should be promoted and play an important part in your organisational culture. Your managers need to set an example of the expectations and boundaries within the workforce. Management should be motivating employees to have a healthy work-life balance by encouraging their team to take holidays, to get the rest and refresh they require. Boundaries should also be set such as no-contact (unless for emergencies) outside of work hours, these need to be respected by all employees and management. Clear expectations in place are essential if you wish to reduce the amount of stress felt by employees. Having expectations, such as the amount of work that you expect from your team and a timeframe, greatly reduces burnout because employees won’t feel inclined to overwork.

3. Acknowledge Mental Health and Well-being

Mental health and well-being should already be a priority within your organisation, however, if not, it’s never too late to start. Employee burnout doesn’t just happen within a week, it’s due to extended stress levels they face before they fully feel exhausted. It’s important to keep the mental health dialogue going within your organisation, with more and more people facing mental health issues than ever, it’s important to offer the support your employees need. From offering free counselling sessions for struggling employees to delivering mental health and well-being workshops, there are many ways you can make well-being a priority for your employees.

4. Reward and Recognise Employees

It’s only fair to properly reward and recognise your employees for the work they do. As mentioned, lack of reward and recognition is one of the main causes of employee burnout and lucky for you, it’s an easy fix. Employees want to feel recognised and valued for the work they accomplish, whether they be rewarded with organisational perks and bonuses or a simple “thank you” for the great work they do. When employees are appreciated, you will soon see an increase in productivity and motivation across your workforce.

Final Thoughts

The well-being of employees needs to be a priority within your organisation and whilst burnout can happen to anyone, it's important to explore different ways you can tackle it. We hope that this article helped you understand employee burnout and that it provides you with effective solutions you can implement so that it never becomes a problem for your workforce.

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