10 Factors that Contribute to Employee Burnout
What is Employee Burnout? What are 10 More Common Employee Burnout Causes?
What is Employee Burnout?
Employee burnout, also referred to as “job burnout” or simply “burnout”, is when you feel so stressed at your workplace that you lose your motivation and focus and end up feeling depressed and highly uncomfortable.
Feeling burnout is not just about being stressed at your job or experiencing discomfort on a Monday morning. It’s about absolute lack of enthusiasm, motivation or pleasure in what you do. It’s definitely a scary thing to experience as you may not know how to get yourself out of this situation.
Employee burnout comes from feeling overwhelmingly stressed at work but also tends to come from specific types of stress factors in a job. Many factors can contribute to burnout, including lifestyle factors, personality characteristics, job-related features, co-worker relationships, communication skills and more.
Ultimately, feeling helpless and powerless at work is a serious thing and we have to talk about it. Experiencing syndromes of burnout can negatively affect almost every aspect of your life. Furthermore, employers have to be very cautious about it and act fast if their employees are obviously burnout. After all, you, as an employer, are trying to build a motivated and efficient high-performance team, ready to deliver outstanding results. If your team is burnout, you can’t simply expect such results.
What Can Cause Employee Burnout?
1. Unclear work requirements
When workers have no idea how to succeed, it’s harder for them to enjoy their work and be confident in their skills and abilities. When the work requirements or guidelines are vague, there’s no way for employees to feel they’re doing a good job. Team managers or leaders should clearly describe the job and provide requirements that are easy to follow and understand. When expectations are unclear, employees are at higher risk of burnout.
2. Unreasonable requirements
When the requirements are impossible, employees will inevitably be at higher risk of burnout. How can team members do their job well and feel confident and motivated to complete it when the time given is not sufficient or are asked to perform something that’s out of their job description? When they put a lot of effort into a task but failed to complete it due to unreasonable or impossible requirements and time constraints, they can’t feel successful and are at risk for burnout.
3. Poor leadership
Lack of company leadership can contribute to burnout. If the team leaders or managers are not recognizing the achievements of team members, not helping with problems or difficulties and do not showcase any type of interest towards their valuable employees, this can all result in lower levels of work efficiency, no confidence and ultimately, burnout. Team members will feel unappreciated, unrecognized, not in control and highly insecure about their position or activities. If you’re not ready to deal with a team of people who deserve support, proper guidance and human approach, you should think twice about becoming a leader.
4. No recognition
It’s difficult to feel encouraged and motivated to work when your managers, team leader or fellow team members never recognized you for your accomplishments. Awards, prizes, bonuses, public praises and other similar tokens of appreciation can go a long way in keeping spirits up and morale high. When nobody is even telling you “Good Job!”, burnout is definitely a risk.
5. Lack of communication
When there are no proper communication channels in a company, a lot of problems might arise. Imagine having a problem you’re really struggling with and having no one to properly discuss it with. If those who are in the position to help, such as managers, HR, team leaders or even company owners are always unavailable and seem unbothered by the problems of their team members, it can lead to feelings of low personal control and higher levels of stress and burnout.
6. Poor compensation
If the demands are high and the financial compensation is low, employees will not feel motivated to work and do their best to succeed. There are, undoubtedly, occupations that are stressful by nature but when the paycheck is sufficient, employees are more likely to stay in the job and do their best. When your team members think “They don’t pay me enough to do this!” you won’t get good business results and will only end up with a stressed staff.
7. Huge consequences for failure
People make mistakes. Employees and team members are not perfect and they will inevitably make occasional mistakes. When there are severe consequences to a fixable mistake, like a lawsuit or mental abuse, for example, the work experience becomes more stressful and the risk of burnout goes up. If you’re in healthcare or law, you’re more likely to experience burnout due to potential consequences of failure.
8. Longer hours and no time to rest
It’s not uncommon to work longer hours, especially in certain industries or when you’re dealing with a new project and facing strict deadlines. Absorbing intense workload for a period of time is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it can turn into one when this so-called “crunch time” starts happening more often than usual and workers have no time to recover from those stressful days/weeks.
9. Lack of feedback
If you don’t provide or receive feedback, you will never get what you want. A manager or team leader who is not giving sufficient feedback to team members and employees will never feel satisfied with the results and is more likely to experience high levels of burnout. Feedback is like hard work. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it clearly outlines what you did great and what it has to be improved. Without it, your work can feel meaningless and you might end up feeling discouraged.
10. Personality factors
Burnout is proven to be higher among employees who have external locus of control. That means that employees or managers believe that their professional achievements and successes (or even failures) result from external factors, such as luck, injustice, fate, bias and similar. Co-workers who are convinced that everything is out of their hands are more likely to experience this dreadful feeling of helplessness which ultimately results in higher levels of burnout.
Why Should Companies Care About Employee Burnout?
Companies should care about the wellbeing of their workers because employee burnout causes organizational costs.
When team members are burned-out, they are more likely to take sick leave or just quit for another job. This will increase employee turnover rate and various other costs, related to hiring and training new talent.
Employees who are struggling, feeling down and discouraged or experiencing any other symptoms of burnout, should not be ignored as they are a valuable part of the team. Normally, they are probably productive and motivated but something happened along the way that should be taken seriously and fixed as soon as possible. Managers and team leaders are responsible for their team and if they notice that even one team member is exhibiting symptoms of burnout, that can signal the existence of a big organizational problem in your company that has to be addressed.
At the end of the day, if a manager, team leader or boss cares about their teams, they will do everything they can to deal with the damage this condition may cause. Remember, feeling burnout can affect both professional and personal lives of your employees. Not just that but the body can react in such a way that it can send you to the emergency room.
How to Deal with Burnout?
- Take a break
- Practice breathing exercises
- Try to be positive
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a hobby for life-work balance
- Demand better work conditions
- Ask for detailed roles and responsibilities
- Try to establish communication channels
- Demand healthy work schedule
- Don’t overwork
- Use SMART goals to organize your thoughts into action plans
- Try another career path
- Seek professional help