Employee Burnout and How to solve it.

We all know what burnout looks like.

It’s the stressed-out manager who proclaims they’ve “had it” and books the next flight to Pulau Tioman. The start-up co-founder working 130 hour weeks who claims he “can’t take all this bullsh*t anymore” and goes on a week-long bender in Bangkok. The boss who yells with such intensity you fear he might have a heart attack.

Regardless of whether it’s you or your employees you’re trying to protect from burnout, it’s of vital importance to your business. Not only are burnt out employees unengaged, but they are less healthy. According to the American Institute of Stress, “workplace stress costs more than $300 billion each year in health care, missed work and stress reduction.” Being able to understand burnout, its causes, and how to prevent it is essential in order to maintain a positive environment and keep the best talent on the team.

The causes of employee burnout out are many—and few. Each situation is unique, but according to studies by Stress.org

[1], the main causes of workplace stress are:

  • Workload – 46%
  • People issues – 28%
  • Juggling work / personal lives – 20%
  • Lack of job security – 6%

How to Know if an Employee is Burned Out:

  1. Exhaustion results from the depletion of emotional resources to cope with the current work environment. This is the stressed out, overwhelmed employees
  2. Cynicism is an individual’s distant attitude toward the job. This is the disgruntled employee.
  3. Inefficacy is a reduction in personal accomplishment. This is the stressed out employee who has developed a cynical attitude and has given up trying.

What You Can Do: Take action

If you’re noticing signs of employee burnout, take immediate steps to prevent it from continuing. Here are six ways to stop burnout in its tracks:

  1. Lend a listening ear

As an employer, you have a duty to make sure your employees are being heard. Ideally, an employer would engage with a team member well before burnout begins, but the day-to-day workload can sometimes prevent this from happening. When burnout does begin to manifest, meet with your employee to get to the heart of the problem. Sometimes the solution is readily apparent. Sometimes, it’s a bit more complicated. You’ll never know, though, unless you listen.

  1. Provide functional equipment

Nothing can be more maddening than having to use a tool or equipment that is ineffective or slow to respond. Not only does the equipment’s performance reflect poorly on the employee’s production, the failure of management to recognize the need to upgrade can create an air of helplessness. Frustration with equipment can be one of the first symptoms of burnout, and solving this problem can alleviate work-related stressors tremendously.

  1. Give them a voice

For employees who feel as though they have no say in organizational decision-making, burnout can be a natural or even expected consequence. Dale Carnegie’s tips to empowering employees have endured because they work. They include:

  • Challenging your team members
  • Stoking their passion for the company’s vision
  • Giving them clear opportunities for advancement
  • Applying the same measuring criteria to everyone, and
  • Getting out of their way, and letting them do their work
  1. A Team That Plays Together Stays Together.

Build team morale, inclusiveness, and job satisfaction by scheduling company activities like snowboarding, go-kart racing, laser tag, or kickball. Be creative and make it fun!

  1. Have fun

Employees who enjoy coming to work will burn out far less frequently than those who loathe their job. Why not build a positive work environment for your employees? Stocking the fridge with goodies, having lunch-hour parties, or giving half-days off before a holiday can all boost morale and prevent employee burnout.

  1. Stock Your Kitchen Well.

Take a lesson from the Google playbook [2] and make your workplace feel a little like home. Make sure that your team is well fed and revved up!

  1. Allow Side Projects.

Allow your employees to spend some time working on a work-related side project that they feel passionate about. Some of Google’s most innovative ideas [3] came from an employee’s side project.

  1. Recognize success

No matter what they tell you, every employee wants to feel needed. An unexpected pat on the back or recognition in front of peers for a job well done can be a tremendous ego boost and go far toward stemming the onset of a burnout.

According to an employee engagement survey by SHRM [4], 71% of respondents believed that appreciation by a direct supervisor had the most impact on employee engagement in their organization.


Don’t let employee burnout become a problem at your workplace. Educate your staff, recognize the symptoms, and go to the root of the problem. Otherwise, seek HR professional  to provide you insights into building a more engage working environment.

By | 2017-08-16T02:30:54+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|