Employee Burnout is an issue which is now affecting more than 90% of the businesses across the world. It is very difficult to understand and measure the depth of its affect as there are so many kinds of industries. But, slowly and steadily it has managed to penetrate every industry and show its symptoms. So now you must be thinking what exactly employee burnout is in the first place! Right? Let us first understand about it.
WHAT IS EMPLOYEE BURNOUT ?
Employee burnout is a stage where the employee feels exhausted emotionally or physically. Mostly it is the outcome of experiencing stress or frustration for a prolonged time. There are a number of things which contribute towards employee burnout like tight deadlines, lack of support at the workplace, stress, not having right resource or tool for the tasks, etc. Burnout can also be experienced due to the personal issues in the employee’s life.
This is a very serious issue in today’s world. So now the question arises how do we know whether an Employee is Burned Out or not? Based on my experience and meeting several people over these years, I have tried below to list down some common symptoms to identify Employee Burnout so it helps you to identify the situation well in advance and take corrective actions.
SYMPTOMS OF EMPLOYEE BURNOUT
- More isolated and distant than usualDoes the employee stay away from the crowd? Is he trying not to be social? There can be circumstances where an employee may not be feeling good and may want to spend some time alone. But if it stays to be a scene, then it is time to check on the employee and look for the reasons of behavioral change.
- DisengagementAn employee who is stressed out for a long period of time then that employee can be on the edge of experiencing a burnout. This means all the employees who disengage from their work are not burnout rather there are chances that it can be a symptom of an underlying serious problem. So if the employee is not handled properly at this stage, it can lead to bigger issues.
- Being exhausted in every senseThere are chances that an employee may be tired because of working for long hours or having some personal emergencies or due to lack of emotional support, etc. But, when they show the signs for a prolonged time then it can be considered as the symptoms of physical, emotional or mental stress and exhaustion. They may seem to be tired all day, forgetful, lack in concentration, etc. Changes in physical appearance like dark circles around the eyes, ill-health like headaches or muscle aches, gloomy expressions, etc. can also be noticed. Even though mental exhaustion may not be evident but, signs of physical exhaustion can be noticed.
- Increased absenteeism and accidentsIf an employee is not interested in the work then he may tend to take more leaves. Mostly this happens when they are on the verge of the burnout. They are too stressed that they lack any interest and focus. Such an employee end up making mistakes and accidents at work. Now this can pose as a threat if they work in a team or have dependencies.
- Showing signs they are not built for the jobIf an employee feel that they are in no capacity to fulfill their work and job responsibilities then they will feel to be useless and drained out. They may feel a sense of failure and the inability to reach their target. Company should focus on such employees and measure their potential to understand whether they are capable for the role or not. Finding the inability at the early stage can save the employee from total burnout.
- Higher sensitivityThere are people who are extremely sensitive. They are intolerant and get upset at every criticism. Such people lack the ability to manage work pressure and criticism from their seniors. So it becomes important to understand the personality traits of the employees and know who are sensitive to criticisms.
- Extreme thinkingSome of the employees have the habit of extreme thinking. They end up coming with negative thoughts which demoralizes them. So if anything of that kind is experienced from the side of an employee, it becomes important to keep a check on them and make sure to give them the necessary support.
So, we saw some common symptoms of employee burnout and are able to identify that an Employee is burned out. Next important phase in this situation is to identify the root causes of employee burnout. Again, I have tried to list down below few common causes of employee burnout. One important point to note here is I have only covered the causes which are under the control of companies and its work culture.
CAUSES OF EMPLOYEE BURNOUT
- Excessive collaborationWhen it comes to organizations there are many decision makers and the channel of decision making process passes through a number of nodes. This leads to unnecessary pressures and collaborations which are actually not required. Some of the employees have to multi-task the projects as well as face too many priority tasks to reach the expectations of the company. All these leads to burnout and exhausted employees.
- Weak time-management disciplinesWith so much collaboration at the workplace, employees are left with a task to manage their time and ensure that they are not stressed out. With overwork being a trend as a part of the corporate culture, employees with the time management skills thrive while others are left burnout. Managers are responsible for this as they are not properly aware of the fact whether the employees are spending their time on more or less productive activities.
- Overloading of the most capableIt is a fact that many employees suffer from work overload problem. This happens mostly to those employees who are smart and have better knowledge as they are high in demand. So they are laden with extra responsibilities and they lose their important work hours collaborating and handling extra works. Such employees can easily become victims of burnout.
- Role AmbiguityAn employee can only perform well if he gets all the important information to get the work done and the expectations out of him is very clear to him. In case of any inadequacy, the employee will feel frustrated and burnout.
- Lack of FeedbackFeedback is very important and lack of feedback may demoralize the employee. In case an employee is hardworking then it becomes important for the organization to appreciate him for the work and give a positive feedback.
- Little Participation in Decision MakingIn order to give the best output and achieve a sense of satisfaction it becomes important to get a complete control on the work. In case if you don’t have complete power on decision making process or if you don’t have necessary resources to fulfill the tasks then the employee may easily get frustrated and burnout.
- Lack of Appropriate AwardsIt becomes tough for the employee to keep performing even when his work is not recognized by the company. Lack of awards, bonuses, public appreciation, etc. play a big role in demotivating the employee leading to burnout.
- Loss of a Positive Connection with OtherFor an employee to work in a corporate environment he needs the positive support of his supervisors and colleagues. In case an employee is ignored by everyone then he may feel left out and it can lead to burnout.
I hope you have now a better understanding for the subject ‘Employee Burnout’ and learnt to identify employees who are having this Burnout symptoms. In my next post, we will cover about some preventive & counter measures that can be taken by an organization to prevent and handle employee burnout.