While the physical and psychological impact of employee burnout has been under scanner over the years, the pandemic has highlighted the need for a healthier work environment for workers across various industries and job positions.
Managing employee burnout requires thorough understanding of what’s causing it because if unchecked it can massively impact your employee’s productivity.
Employee burnout occurs when individuals experience prolonged dissatisfaction, stress, and exhaustion due to their work, leading to severe physical, emotional, and mental fatigue. Beyond demotivated employees and lack of productivity, burnout can take a toll on your employees physical and mental health.
This article explores the signs of employee burnout across industries, delves into its causes, and offers insights on managing the issue.
Table of Contents
How do you spot signs of Employee Burnout?
A high absenteeism rate due to illness can indicate employee burnout. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, employees experiencing high levels of workplace stress are twice as likely to report ailments such as headaches, anxiety, colds, and flu.
If you are witnessing a noticeable increase in health-related absenteeism, it can indicate burnout. Managers must investigate the potential burnout issues before they spiral out of control.
2. Mistakes & errors
Preventing employee burnout is paramount in industries where precision and safety are critical. However, the consequences of burnout-related mistakes can be severe for any industry. Most blue-collar job positions require repetitive, physical labor, which accelerates burnout.
Research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicates that workers experiencing burnout are more prone to errors resulting in injuries and accidents. Companies must monitor noticeable spikes in workplace accidents or near misses. Such incidents can be indicative of employee burnout requiring immediate attention.
3. Low motivation
Another sign of employee burnout is lack of motivation and dropping productivity levels at work. Employee burnout can be a significant reason for brain drain, especially in blue-collar sectors where repetitive and physically demanding work is common. For such roles, motivation is essential for maintaining productivity.
If your company is experiencing lower output or production inefficiency and workers lack enthusiasm for their tasks, take it as a warning sign of employee burnout.
4. Higher Employee Attrition Rates
A notable surge in turnover rates, particularly among trained and experienced workers, is a red flag for employee burnout.
Unsurprisingly, high employee burnout is typically accompanied by high employee turnover. If your workers are resigning in droves, it is a symptom that the work environment is no longer positive and encouraging for them.
Another reason preventing employee burnout is essential is that recruiting costs can be much higher. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the cost of replacing an employee can range from 50% to 60% of their annual salary.
If your organization fails to manage employee burnout, your employees will seek alternative job opportunities, forcing you to face increased recruitment and training costs.
5. Irritability or hostility in the workplace
Hostile and irritable behavior at work is a serious concern that can harm team dynamics and disrupt productivity. Suppose your workers are showing behaviors such as complaining more and more about coworkers, tasks assigned to them, or company culture. In that case, it can indicate early signs of employee burnout.
In blue-collar settings, where teamwork is essential, as many workers work together, heightened irritability can create a toxic work environment. Frequent conflicts and a palpable tension among employees are signs of potential employee burnout.
Managers must proactively look for signs of effective early intervention and prevention of employee burnout. Once it is determined that your workforce is suffering from burnout, the next step is to identify the causes so you can foster a healthier work environment, reduce costly turnover, and maintain productivity and safety standards.
Here are the common causes of employee burnout.
Causes of employee burnout
1. Heavy workload with tight deadlines
Industries employing blue-collar workers have demanding tasks and strict production schedules. It means that workers in such sectors deal with physically demanding tasks and pressure to meet deadlines.
This combination of too much labor and stress to be productive can significantly contribute to burnout. According to a study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, heavy workloads were identified as a leading cause of burnout among blue-collar employees.
Burnout becomes a real risk if your company constantly pushes employees to their limits. Furthermore, monotonous work can exacerbate burnout in industries like construction and manufacturing, where assembly lines or repetitive tasks are common.
For companies with tasks that lack variety and involve constant repetition, finding ways to mitigate a sense of stagnation and disinterest in managing employee burnout is essential.
2. Lack of communication
Effective communication is essential in any workplace, but it becomes necessary for industries employing blue-collar workers as teamwork and coordination are fundamental in such companies.
With clear and open communication channels, workers may feel safe and connected with their supervisors and colleagues. Such isolation may lead to a struggle to voice concerns and seek assistance when needed and can contribute to feelings of burnout.
You must establish strong communication channels between teams and management to ensure employees can handle the lack of support or information, which can intensify stress and lead to burnout.
3. Unfair treatment
Burnout employees are not only a product of physically demanding work; unfair treatment can also contribute. Unfair workforce management practices, such as discrimination or favoritism, can significantly contribute to burnout among blue-collar employees.
In workplaces with unfair treatment of employees and where promotions, assignments, or recognition appear biased or unevenly distributed, workers are most likely to develop resentment, frustration, and disillusionment.
For any company, teamwork and mutual trust among workers are critical. Any perceptions of unfair treatment can disrupt the cohesion of the workforce.
4. Poor employee training
Adequate training can help prevent employee burnout by ensuring that employees are confident and competent. Skilled employees often work with machinery or perform physically demanding tasks; needing to be trained appropriately can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. This, in turn, can contribute to stress and burnout.
If your workers feel unprepared or unsupported in their roles, they are more likely to experience burnout. You must create training and skill development programs to ensure employees can upskill and not constantly worry about making mistakes or facing dangerous situations.
As evident, almost every company has these underlying causes, which, if left unchecked, can cause productivity issues. Here are some steps for preventing employee burnout.
How do you manage employee burnout?
1. Promote work-life balance
Maintaining and encouraging employees to have a healthy work-life balance is an excellent way to prevent burnout. Create work policies that respect employees’ time outside work, such as flexible working hours and generous vacation allowances. Ensure your employees get enough opportunities to recharge and spend time with their families.
2. Define, Modify, and Optimize corporate ethics and values
Your corporate ethics and values clearly define what you want and what you expect from your employees. If you do not have set ethics and values, define them. On the other hand, if you have core ethics and values, you must alter the principles of it every now and then. Remember: employee health comes first and expressing it through company values is imperative.
3. Set realistic workloads
Unrealistic workloads and multitasking put undue pressure on your workers. Managers must assess workloads and deadlines to ensure they are achievable for employees. Scheduling tools like Truein can help manage workloads by prioritizing tasks effectively to help employees.
4. Provide adequate training
You are responsible for ensuring employees have the necessary tools, equipment, and training to perform their jobs effectively and safely. You should create an ongoing training and skill development program, say, for soft skill training, to boost employee confidence.
5. Monitor employee well-being
Management must keep a watchful eye on employee well-being. You can regularly check in with employees through surveys, one-on-one meetings, or anonymous feedback mechanisms.
The feedback from employees will provide the information managers need to identify potential burnout risks and address them promptly. Management can also craft a mental health policy for its workers.
6. Conduct open communication sessions
Discuss openly about problems faced by employees at the workplace. Such open discussions eases anxiety and stress experienced at the workplace. Also, it helps finding solutions to issues faced at the workplace.
Truein for attendance management and scheduling
Truein is a face recognition time and attendance tool that offers robust scheduling options too. You can use this software tool to keep track of employee productivity and monitor their schedules.
It also provides policy management with customizable templates to ensure that your company work policies align with employee well-being and evolving needs. By offering insightful reports, Truein helps managers proactively adjust schedules and workloads for workers, leading to a healthier and more supportive work environment.
Employee burnout is a serious concern not only for productivity and efficiency but also for the well-being of workers. The only way of preventing employee burnout is to recognize the signs of burnout and address its underlying causes.
You can build a more productive and satisfied workforce by managing employee burnout. This will lead to a more prosperous future for both employees and the organization.
1. How do you overcome employee burnout?
We can overcome employee burnout by prioritizing work-life balance, providing timely recovery breaks in between, encouraging flexible work environments, investing in employee engagement fun activities, etc.
2. Why should organizations care about employee burnout?
Burnt out employees are more likely to make errors which in turn drops workplace productivity and service quality. That is why organizations should care about employee burnout.