Employee Burnout: Impact and Solution

In 2018, Gallup conducted a study that was published by CNBC stating that 23 percent of full-time employees report they very often or always feel burned out. This burnout accounts for $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending. The increase in healthcare spending is attributed to an increase in diabetes, heart disease, increased weight, high cholesterol, and mental health issues.

Employee burn out, resulting in an increase in healthcare issues, are a result of work related items such as ongoing stresses including increased vacant positions and thus increased workload, having to meet unrealistic deadlines, feeling the need to address work issues after hours like emails and voicemails, feeling inadequate in their work and feeling unappreciated for what they do. In addition to an increase in healthcare issues, employers will experience productivity and increasing vacancies.

According to the Great-West Life Center for Mental Health in the Workplace, there are a number of signs and symptoms of an employee who maybe experiencing workplace burnout. These include reduced energy, decreased motivation, increased errors, fatigue, headache, irritability, and increased frustration. As an employer there is concern that a burned-out employee will not only impact the productivity of other workers but also the moral and culture of the company. This should be a concern of any employer because the costs of not addressing are so high.

It is critical for employers to address the health and wellness of their employees in order to decrease amount of burn out. According to HelpGuide.org, a website specializing in metal health and wellness, there are a number of actions that can be taken by employers to reduce workplace stress. First, leaders need to consult and openly communicate with employees to better understand what is causing stress in the workplace. Even if all their concerns cannot be addressed, there will be an appreciation as the employee will feel they are being heard. Second, give employees the opportunity to participate in decisions that impact their work. If they are involved, they are more committed and feel in more control. Third, openly discuss deadlines and expectations and ensure they are realistic. Clearly defining the expectations and aligning the work with the employee’s abilities only increases the employee’s engagement and satisfaction. Lastly, offer rewards and incentives through organization wide praise and celebrations as well as opportunities for social interactions.

In addition to the above recommendations, Holy Family Memorial offers additional resources to employees to help reduce stress including access to an Employee Assistance Program, low cost wellness center memberships, wellness and nutrition coaching, and discounted massage therapy. All of these programs are made available to allow employees to improve their mental, physical and emotional well-being which will reduce their chance of workplace burnout.

As employers, we have the ability to positively impact the health and well-being or employees and reduce burnout. There are simple, low cost actions employers can take that will benefit the organization for years to come.

About the author.

Brett Norell is president and chief executive officer at Holy Family Memorial. Reach him at bnorell@hfmhealth.org.