One of the biggest threats to an engaged workforce is employee burnout. The newest study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace® found 95% of human resource leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention, yet there is no obvious solution on the horizon.
“Employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions. While many organizations take steps to manage employee fatigue, there are far fewer efforts to proactively manage burnout. Not only can employee burnout sap productivity and fuel absenteeism, but as this survey shows, it will undermine engagement and cause an organization’s top performers to leave the business altogether. This creates a never-ending cycle of disruption that makes it difficult to build the high-performing workforce needed to compete in today’s business environment,” stated Charlie DeWitt, vice president, business development, Kronos.
Too much work and too little pay are problematic, but many issues fueling burnout are in HR’s control:
- Unfair compensation (41%), unreasonable workload (32%), and too much overtime work (32%) are the top three contributors to burnout.
- HR leaders also identified key burnout factors falling under talent management, employee development, and leadership that should be in their control, including poor management (30%), employees seeing no clear connection of their role to corporate strategy (29%), and a negative workplace culture (26%).
- Insufficient technology for employees to do their jobs was identified by 20% of HR leaders as another primary cause of burnout.
But there are significant barriers preventing HR from implementing improvements:
- Despite 87% of HR leaders calling improved retention a critical or high priority over the next five years, one-fifth (20%) said there are too many competing priorities to focus on fixing the issue.
- Outdated HR technology is another problem: nearly one out of every five HR leaders (19%) reported their current technology as being too manual – i.e., lacking automation of repetitive administrative tasks – detracting from their ability to act strategically to fix big problems.
- The C-Suite must step up their commitment, too, according to HR leaders in the study, who say lack of executive support (14%) and a lack of organizational vision (13%) are additional obstacles to improving retention.
HR leaders in the Kronos study stated that 20-50% of employee turnover is due to employee burnout. Larger organizations tend to be affected the most:
- One in five HR leaders at organizations with 100 to 500 employees cited burnout as the cause of 10% or less of their turnover.
- 15% of HR leaders at organizations larger than 2,500 employees say burnout causes 50% or more of annual turnover.
“Engagement has been the workforce buzzword for the past decade. We talk about ensuring that employees are challenged, appreciated, and in sync with strategic objectives, but even when they have an intellectual or emotional engagement with their work, they sometimes still feel overwhelmed. While not all burnout can be eliminated, much of it can be avoided using critical strategies that balance consistency and personalization of schedules and workload; leverage managers as models for how their team can achieve work/life balance; and implement tools and technology that proactively manage burnout or otherwise support these efforts,” stated Mollie Lombardi, co-founder and CEO, Aptitude Research Partners.