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Managing Burnout for Leaders and Employees

Managing Burnout for Leaders and Employees

These past few years have been incredibly challenging for leaders worldwide.  As you take a look around your organization, have you noticed any of the following for your leadership team or your employees: 

  • Exhaustion: Physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that doesn't go away after time off.
  • Decreased job satisfaction: A feeling of disillusionment and negative attitude towards work.
  • Decreased motivation: Loss of drive, energy, and motivation to perform tasks.
  • Increased absenteeism: Taking more time off work, frequently calling in sick.
  • Decreased productivity: Decline in quality and quantity of work being produced.
  • Decreased engagement: Lack of enthusiasm and investment in one's job and responsibilities.
  • Increased cynicism: Negative outlook and mistrust towards one's employer, coworkers, and/or job duties.
  • Health problems: Physical symptoms such as headaches, sleep disturbances, and digestive issues.

If so, you are not alone.  These are all symptoms of burnout.

Research and Statistics on Employee Burnout 

Employee burnout has been on the rise globally, with an estimated 44% of workers reporting symptoms of burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, with remote work and increased workloads leading to higher levels of stress and burnout. 

Employee Burnout: Signs, Causes, Prevention

A recent Korn Ferry survey reported that: 

  • 89% of professionals say they are suffering from burnout, with the vast majority (81%) reporting they are more burned out now than they were before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19.  

  • Employee burnout accounts for 40% of staff turnover, and the average cost of replacement for these workers is 120%-200% of their original salary.

A Deloitte survey revealed that almost 70% of executives  are considering leaving their jobs for workplaces that care more for their well-being. According to the same study, 57% of employees outside of management roles want to quit for similar reasons. Fatigue and lack of support are dominant factors in leaders and execs leaving their roles. 

Forbes reports that in 2022 alone, major corporations, including Amazon, Starbucks, Pinterest, and American Airlines, have seen their CEOs resign. That’s in addition to the losses of 2021, which include Twitter and Disney. 

Employee well-being after the pandemic has become even more of a concern as the pandemic has brought a unique set of challenges that have contributed to increased stress and burnout among leaders and employees.  The sudden shift to remote work and the disruption of daily routines have been challenging for many employees, leading to feelings of isolation and disconnection. This, in combination with the constant need to be available and connected, has made it difficult for employees to disconnect from work and maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

The pandemic has also created financial stress for many people, which can lead to burnout. Job insecurity, layoffs, pay cuts, and economic uncertainty have made it difficult for many employees to feel secure in their jobs and financial situation. 

The prolonged stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic have also led to increased levels of anxiety and depression among employees, which can contribute to burnout. The constant state of uncertainty and the lack of control over the situation can make it difficult for employees to manage stress and maintain their mental and emotional well-being. 

It’s important for employers to be aware of the current situation for their leaders and employees and be proactive in addressing the challenges by providing support and resources and creating a culture of well-being.

How Employers Can Help With Employee Burnout 

  • Encourage work-life balance: Employers should encourage employees to take time off and set boundaries around working hours. This can help employees disconnect from work and maintain a healthy work-life balance. 
  • Provide flexibility: Provide flexible work arrangements, such as flexible work hours, part-time, or job-sharing options. This can help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. 
  • Promote self-care: Encourage employees to prioritize self-care and make it a part of the company culture. This can include providing resources for mental and emotional well-being, such as counseling services, wellness programs, or employee assistance programs. 
  • Communicate openly: Encourage open communication and create an environment of trust where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns and discussing their work-related stress. 
  • Foster a sense of community: Encourage employees to connect with one another and foster a sense of community. This can be done through team-building activities, virtual social events, or other opportunities for connection. 
  • Recognize and address burnout early: Monitor employee well-being and be proactive in addressing burnout before it becomes a more serious issue. 
  • Create a culture of support: Provide support and resources to help employees manage stress and maintain their well-being. 
  • Show value appreciation: Take the time to find out how your employees like to be recognized and be purposeful in your recognition. Identify the specific behaviors you saw and encourage them to continue exercising those behaviors. 
  • Offer team retreats: Create events or other activities that get people away from their normal routines and help relieve pressure. 
  • Encourage sharing: Provide outlets for executives to talk about their stressors and challenges with other leaders.

Making the decision to help employees lead healthier, more positive lives is an investment in your organization.  Employers who show care for their employees’ well-being through wellness programs, health benefits, stress management, and by supporting better work-life balance, improve the employee experience by building a positive, sustainable work culture. 

And remember that as leaders, sometimes we can move so quickly that we forget to take care of ourselves.  Part of your job as a leader is to make sure you – and your team – don’t put your individual well-being on the back burner. 

** It's important to note that burnout is a complex issue that can be caused by a variety of factors; a combination of the above strategies may be necessary to effectively address it. We recommend that organizations work with their leaders and employees to understand their individual needs and tailor their approach accordingly. 

This article was originally featured in the Talent Magazine

2023 Talent Magazine Now Available Download Now

Topics: employee burnout