Predicting Employee Burnout – Measuring Your Biggest Threat To Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a vital factor in productivity, albeit extremely hard to measure and quantify. Still, it is an indicator of work satisfaction, helps demonstrate that you treat your people well, and contributes to long-term retention and high-quality work.

One of the biggest threats to engagement is burnout. Employee burnout is common and results in high levels of absenteeism, "presenteeism" (the employee comes into work but they are unproductive or distracted), and turnover. Thankfully, there are things you can do to learn how to manage employee burnout.

How Common is Employee Burnout?

Sadly, employee burnout is widespread. According to a survey by Deloitte, 77 percent of respondents say they have experienced burnout at their current job, and over half said it had happened more than once! Burnout can occur in all industries and all types of jobs, and it is particularly likely to lead to turnover amongst millennials.

What Causes Stress in the Workplace?

So, if burnout is happening all the time, what causes it? The primary causes are workplace stressors, which include:

  1. Lack of agency, a feeling as if you can't impact anything at work. Having a supervisor who doesn't listen.
  2. Poor organization.
  3. Lack of support from managers.
  4. Overwork, tight deadlines, and expectations that force staying late. Also, not getting enough breaks.
  5. Internal changes may lead to a sense of insecurity.
  6. Job insecurity.
  7. Lack of autonomy, such as having to schedule bathroom breaks.
  8. Poor treatment by customers.
  9. Contradictory demands.
  10. Constant negative feedback and criticism.
  11. Lack of opportunity for growth.
  12. Unpleasant physical conditions such as crowding, noise, or poor ergonomics.

Some people may find things that stress them out and others to thrive. For example, you may have an employee who wants tight deadlines because that helps them get everything done.

What Are the Signs of Burnout?

Unfortunately, people are unlikely to admit to supervisors that they are exhausted and stressed, so it can be hard to spot employee burnout signs. It's almost certain that they have received an unsympathetic response in the past, and if conflict with their supervisor is a contributing factor, they are particularly unlikely to say anything.

Because of this, it's important to train supervisors to spot signs of burnout (both in their employees and themselves). Everyone should determine when burnout happens and be empowered to speak up if they feel burned out.

So, here are the signs of employee stress and burnout:

  1. Exhaustion. The person might be having problems sleeping, or they might be sleeping fine and still be tired. Watch for fatigue, increased consumption of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, and increased mistakes.
  2. Disengagement. The employee might show a loss of interest and enthusiasm; they might be grumpier. They might stop volunteering for tasks or drag themselves to meetings only to fail to participate. They might also avoid communication with others.
  3. Absenteeism. The employee might be taking more sick days without an obvious explanation. They might fail to show up to meetings and events (note that if they have always shown up for happy hour, suddenly not doing so can be a red flag, so look for participation in voluntary events too. They might also be leaving early or coming in late or suddenly being "clock bound" when they might have been willing to stay a few minutes. They might also not volunteer for projects.
  4. Isolation. They might withdraw from social activities, distance themselves from people they usually get along with or hide in their office at lunch instead of coming to the break room.
  5. Sensitivity. If somebody starts taking feedback personally and becomes defensive or sensitive to criticism, this might be a sign of burnout.
  6. Decreased productivity and quality of work. They might be getting less done and/or not doing it as well.

Most employees won't openly admit to feeling low, so keep the causes and symptoms of employee burnout in mind. If an employee starts to exhibit stress, you should consider working with them before it becomes too severe. For example, you might encourage them to take vacation time, talk to a therapist, or take a project away from them so that they are less overwhelmed.

Ensure Happy, Healthier, More Productive Employees with PRO Resources

This is something PRO Resources can help with. We free up your team to develop a culture that promotes engagement and reduces burnout by taking on the tedious parts of human resources. We can also increase your productivity and workflow and help everyone who is overwhelmed with administrative tasks. Contact Us today to find out how we can help you build a burnout-free culture.

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