For a long time, employ­ee burnout has been dis­missed. In some instances, it’s been writ­ten off as employ­ee lazi­ness or sim­ply an employ­ee being con­trary. That, how­ev­er, is no longer the case.

In 2020, HR pro­fes­sion­als are going to have to deal with it as a real­ized syn­drome and one that is becom­ing more preva­lent in the work­place. By going unman­aged, it has become an issue for com­pa­nies all over the world. And if the trends are to be believed, it’s going to con­tin­ue to go as a prob­lem in the years to come. The impact is over­whelm­ing. Accord­ing to one arti­cle, in 2019 there was an increase in stress and burnout inci­dents report­ed. The result had an impact on work­place cul­tures actu­al­ly caus­ing them to decline.


Employ­ee Burnout
Impact on Workplaces

Employ­ee burnout cas­es have increased to the point where the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion has offi­cial­ly rec­og­nized it as an occu­pa­tion­al phe­nom­e­non. In fact, the WHO has includ­ed it in the 11th Revi­sion of the Inter­na­tion­al Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Dis­eases. The hand­book describes burnout as “a syn­drome con­cep­tu­al­ized as result­ing from chron­ic work­place stress that has not been suc­cess­ful­ly managed.”

“As work becomes more inter­twined with tech­nol­o­gy and work becomes more portable, the bound­aries of per­son­al time and work time are get­ting blurred,” Vishal Bhal­la said. He’s the Chief Expe­ri­ence Offi­cer for Park­land Health and Hos­pi­tal Sys­tem. “It’s impor­tant HR doesn’t puff its chest up and pre­tend it doesn’t exist and actu­al­ly address it.”

Why? Bhal­la says it can impact so many things in the work­place and out­side of it.

“Burnout impacts safe­ty issues. It impacts turnover. And there are many social effects because indi­vid­u­als who expe­ri­ence burnout tend to numb them­selves by indulging in things one should not indulge in and they even­tu­al­ly end up hurt­ing them­selves or oth­ers,” Bhal­la explained.

Gallup recent­ly sur­veyed more than 7,500 full-time employ­ees about burnout. 23 per­cent of those work­ers said they felt burned out more often than not. An addi­tion­al 44 per­cent report­ed feel­ing burned out some­times. To put that into con­text, near­ly two-thirds of full-time work­ers are deal­ing with burnout at some point while at work.

As a result, those employ­ees were near­ly three times as like­ly to start look­ing for anoth­er job. Addi­tion­al­ly, Gin­ger, an on-demand behav­ioral health provider, says 50 per­cent have missed at least one day.


Caus­es of Burnout
Bhal­la said any num­ber of things can lead to an employ­ee expe­ri­enc­ing burnout. Some­times, it has to do with the rela­tion­ship between the employ­ee and his or her man­ag­er. It can also be tracked back to instances of bul­ly­ing or dis­crim­i­na­tion. Anoth­er big com­po­nent to employ­ee burnout is the employ­ee doing more than his or her fair share of work. Bhal­la says this relates to, for exam­ple, the time it takes for the com­pa­ny to replace a mem­ber of the team that was pro­mot­ed, left the orga­ni­za­tion or was ter­mi­nat­ed. In most sit­u­a­tions, the team is expect­ed to pick up the slack. That can lead to stress which can ulti­mate­ly trans­late into burnout.


So how does HR solve for the problem?

“We can lever­age tech­nol­o­gy. We can lever­age cul­ture work. We can lever­age engage­ment because the oth­er end of the spec­trum is an engaged team mem­ber,” Bhal­la said. He also point­ed to design think­ing as an option.

“It’s more incum­bent on HR to take care of their peo­ple well. There are a lot of resources that are avail­able for us to be able to impact burnout.”

Cre­at­ing a work­place where an employ­ee is excit­ed to come to work can help curb the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an employ­ee devel­op­ing burnout. In real­i­ty, no one is immune, but cre­at­ing an envi­ron­ment where employ­ees feel hap­py, engaged and moti­vat­ed along with hav­ing the tools they need to suc­ceed goes a long way.

By Mason Stevenson

Orig­i­nal­ly post­ed on