What is employee burnout and how can managers help?

  • ServiceNow Blog
  • Employee Experience
  • Solutions
  • 2023
12 June 2023

Employee burnout: overworked woman in front of a computer with her face in her hand and eyes closed

You might think that burnout is solely linked to an overwhelming workload. This is untrue. The World Health Organisation states that employee burnout is the combination of three symptoms: feelings of exhaustion, feeling negative towards the job, and reduced productivity.

Managers who notice their teams are experiencing exhaustion along with a and a loss of productivity should take action. Burnout results from being overworked, underappreciated, or understimulated and can translate to chronic stress. stimulated.

Everyone burnout differently. For example, people in the medical sector often sacrifice their time for others. They might get emotionally affected by their work and be prone to getting burnt out. Among the signs are a lack of energy, low productivity, and stress.

Job burnout can affect all levels in an organisation. It is an issue that should be addressed as part of the company culture.

Why managing employee burnout is important to business

Managing burnout is a must for a successful business. Companies should aim for a healthy work culture, stable work-life balance, and optimum employee satisfaction to avoid burnout. Doing so can have multiple positive results:

  • Reduced turnover. Statistics by Deskbird confirm that burnout is responsible for up to 46% of annual turnover.
  • Strong employee morale
  • Qualitative work and increased customer satisfaction
  • Enhanced employees experience
  • Optimum employee productivity
  • Reduced absenteeism. Findings from Workplace Options (WPO) wellbeing study show that absenteeism due to workplace issues equates to 47% of all absences in the UK.
  • Strong internal drive

Identifying and preventing employee burnout

Managers have a role to play in preventing burnout and influencing employees’ wellbeing. Leaders should be aware of and look out for symptoms of burnout, such as if their teams are being more critical at work, if they have trouble being efficient, or if they are not satisfied with their achievements. Managers should also look out for employees who call in sick often, struggle to focus, or are more irritable.

To help prevent burnout, we recommend that leaders avoid risk factors with their teams, such as heavy workloads and long hours. They should give employees more control over their work and empower them. This can be achieved by determining what motivates them and by avoiding micromanagement. Building a learning culture can also contribute to preventing burnout.

HR teams should work with leaders to implement the appropriate benefits and compensation plan. The compensation should be fair for all. It’s important to recognise hard work by acknowledging individual contribution as well as launching an employee recognition programme. Reward programmes give employees something to aim for and can boost engagement.

Minimising burnout in the workplace

If managers spot burnout, they should discuss their concern with the employee in question. It’s important to keep an open mind and welcome feedback. Cultivating an atmosphere of trust with transparent communication can accelerate the journey towards healthier employees.

Leaders can help minimise burnout by discussing their expectations and ensuring employees are working towards attainable, rewarding goals. This is essential for employees’ sense of achievement. Managers can also provide support through regular one-to-one meetings with employees on their team.

Additionally, leaders should encourage employees to take part in mindfulness activities such as yoga or meditation, and advocate that employees take time off to disconnect from work and rejuvenate.

Leaders must also take care of themselves to promote wellbeing within their teams. To promote a healthy work culture, managers can:

  1. Develop soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and empathy.
  2. Communicate effectively and provide clarity about expectations.
  3. Be transparent and open about burnout to ensure it doesn’t become a taboo subject.
  4. Encourage teamwork and collaboration.
  5. Celebrate successes big or small, which can directly influence motivation.

Find out how ServiceNow helps organisations create a unified employee experience.

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