A recent Gallup survey found that two-thirds of workers experience burnout on the job. It may seem likely that the causes of employee burnout may correlate with expectations of hard work, but in reality, the causes are more directly linked to how employees are managed. Gallup identified five factors correlated with employee burnout:
Employees who say they experience burnout at work are:
- 63% more likely to take a sick day
- Half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager
- 23% more likely to visit the emergency room
- 2.6 times as likely to leave their current employer
- 13% less confident in their performance
1. Unfair Treatment at Work
Gallup found that when employees feel that they are treated unfairly, they are 2.3 times more likely to experience burnout.
Include every employee’s opinion and voice and actively listen and include them–when people are given a voice, they are inclined to take ownership of their ideas which injects meaning into their work.
2. Unmanageable workload
Employees can often feel the need to take on as much responsibility as possible to prove their worth, yet when managers aren’t working alongside them to set realistic goals, they can become overwhelmed and stress can become exacerbated by that need.
Set expectations for employees with performance benchmarks and frequent communication. Consistently discuss goals and progress, even informally to keep motivation high and build trust. Encourage teamwork among employees–peers serve as a secondary support system for employees experiencing signs of burnout or low morale. Empower employees to help one another and stay involved in the conversation.
3. Lack of role clarity
Only 60% of workers strongly agreed that they know what is expected of them at work, according to Gallup’s most recent State of the American Workplace study–frequent, consistent communication and clear expectations and performance goals eliminate confusion and encourage growth.
Employees and managers alike choose the jobs at the companies they do to not only build a financially stable life, but also to find meaning and purpose in their work. Remember why employees were hired or what attracted them to the company, and incorporate meaning into their goals and tasks. Meaning paired with active listening, open communication, and progress updates can inject passion into an employee’s work.
4. Lack of communication and support from manager
Employees whose managers actively listen and engage with them are 62% less likely to experience burnout. Infrequent or lack of communication by managers can leave them feeling not only burned out, but isolated and even defensive.
Employees who feel they are given the opportunity to do what they do best are 57% less likely to experience burnout. Focus on strength-based feedback to, again, inject meaning, and purpose into their work, and encourage increased productivity in those areas. Employees who are tasked with responsibilities in their chosen area of expertise view their job as a pillar of their identity, not as a burden, and are more likely to perform and exceed.
5. Unreasonable time pressure
Be sure you know and understand the time and effort it takes to execute your employees’ tasks. Unreasonable time constraints are highly correlated with burnout, and are typically doled out by people who lack full understanding of the time required to deliver. Gallup found that employees who have enough time to complete their work are 70% less likely to experience burnout.
Listen to your employees - even about work-related issues. Employees who feel that their voice is being heard by managers are 60% less likely to experience burnout on the job. Encourage autonomy and flexibility in roles: Gallup found that employees who have control over which tasks to do, how much time to allocate to each, and how much time to spend on each are 43% less likely to experience burnout.