The Cost of Burnout

Feb 24 / Margaret Stockley

When the demands of a job outweigh both an individual’s sense of control and capacity to cope, they can flounder as they perceive that they are losing their ability to manage their life and career.

A 2018 Gallup survey of over 7,500 employees reported that “23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.

What the poll also found was that 70% of employees felt that their company was not doing enough to address it.

The World Health Organization classifies burnout as a syndrome arising from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed and characterized by three dimensions:

·       feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;

·       increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;

·       and reduced professional efficacy.

The Gallup survey identified five key areas that were leading to employee burnout:

1. Unfair treatment at work

2. Unmanageable workload

3. Lack of role clarity

4. Lack of communication and support from manager

5. Unreasonable time pressure

These were largely tied into how an individual was managed, rather than actual performance, working conditions, or expectations.

When the demands of a job outweigh both an individual’s sense of control and capacity to cope, they can flounder as they perceive that they are losing their ability to manage their life and career.

Engaged leaders are key to healthy workplaces and are more likely to create an environment in which employees choose to engage.

Using the five areas listed above, consider ways that your organization can manage employees better. For example, an unconcerned or provocative manager can leave employees feeling cautious, isolated, and defensive.

Employees who feel that their manager listens to and understands their needs are 62% less likely to be burned out because they feel supported and are being treated as people first.

These five areas can be a starting point to help you to put a plan in place to reduce burnout and provide an environment where employees feel and perform their best.


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