In today’s competitive business world, employee burnout is a growing occupational hazard. Characterized as exhaustion accompanied by a loss of interest in work-related activities, burnout is said to be primarily stress-related. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to burnout in the workplace, certain stressors have been identified that employers seeking to mitigate employee turnover should be aware of. The following is a short list of the five main reasons employees experience burnout.
Unrealistic Expectations and Employee Burnout
To stay competitive, companies often cut back on personnel and resources while expecting the same or better results. The result is that employees are faced with unrealistic expectations by management as to what they should be able to accomplish. This can lead to a stressful work environment where employees are unclear as to how to proceed and constantly worry that they do not have the time or resources needed to properly complete the task. Try as they may they will never feel successful in meeting management’s impossible expectations, putting them at higher risk of burnout. Managers need to be sure that employee work requirements are both realistic and that the means of achieving desired objectives are clearly understood.
Lack of Sufficient “Down Times”
Today, many employees are subject to high-stress “crunch times” that require them to put in long hours in order to handle more intense workloads. As long as these intense work periods are followed by adequate down times, employees can generally handle them. But when every day feels like “crunch time”, and the down times become few and far between, stress builds up as employees feel overworked and under appreciated. To avoid employee burnout from overwork it’s incumbent upon management to factor sufficient down times into the work schedule.
Lack of Empowerment
Employees thrive best in a work environment that gives them a sense that they belong, have a real purpose, and that the work they are doing really matters. They also do better with managers who ask for ideas and suggestions relative to the job at hand and allow them the opportunity to use their creativity and skills to solve problems without being micromanaged. Conversely, work environments where employees feel that they have no say or control over how the work gets done, and are constantly micromanaged, are at risk of creating burned-out workers.
Lack of Recognition
Working for a company that never shows appreciation and employee recognition for a job well done is no fun for anybody. Companies where management fails to recognize and reward both individuals and teams for their achievements run the risk of putting employees who feel under appreciated and taken for granted on a path that will lead to burnout. Implementing a program that recognizes and rewards employee achievements via awards, public praise, bonuses, and other means can go a long way in elevating morale and reducing burnout. The key is to avoid generic cookie-cutter awards and make sure that employees are recognized and rewarded in ways that are personal, meaningful and relevant to them.
In every company there are barriers to communication that exist between employees and management. Failure to address and break down these barriers can lead to poor communication and eventual employee burnout. Good workplace communication is about managers engaging employees with real-time face-to-face conversations. It’s about sharing passions for the company and clearly explaining the company’s mission and objectives. It’s about being open and encouraging honest feedback to show employees that their ideas and opinions matter. Most importantly, it’s about staying positive and helping employees feel confident, inspired and empowered.
When employees stay motivated to light things up they are far less likely to ever burn out.