What is employee burnout?
There aren’t many jobs out there that are completely stress-free. It’s normal, and even necessary, for employees to feel some amount of anxiety toward the demands of meeting deadlines and performing work-related tasks. However, when stress from work manifests in extended emotional or physical exhaustion it ceases to simply be stress and becomes what is known as employee burnout.
Recently, the World Health Organization updated their employee burnout definition to include three aspects of burnout:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy.
Employee burnout can make it difficult for an employee to feel accomplished in their work, it can lead to personal identity crises, and it can be signaled by a complete lack of interest in regard to work or otherwise.
It’s easy to see that employee burnout can lead to job performance issues, so both employers and employees can benefit from educating themselves about employee burnout. This article will provide information about employee burnout causes and cures and will show how proper training can help minimize the likelihood of burnout.
Employee Burnout Statistics
A universal problem
Forbes, in this 2017 article, reported that 95% of businesses are in some way affected by employee burnout. That affect comes primarily in the form of high turnover or low workplace efficiency. Onboarding and training new associates is expensive, and employee retention is a key to success for any organization. Ultimately, employee burnout costs organizations money, and it’s happening in every industry.
The ‘Burnout Epidemic’
According to CNBC, 23% of employees in a recent study reported feeling burned out by work either always or very often. 44% of the employees in the study said that they sometimes felt burned out by work. It’s numbers such as these that are the reason for the phrase ‘burnout epidemic’ becoming far too common. Employers today must make themselves aware of the factors leading to job burnout, the employee burnout signs, and of how to combat job burnout.
A study conducted in 2013 by Dr. Srini Pillay, M.D., and detailed in this Arielle article, found that 75% of the C-level executives and senior managers surveyed believed that senior managers in their organization were burned out. Executive burnout statistics like this one show that employee burnout can penetrate all the way to the top of an organization. When the senior managers at an organization are burned out it’s no surprise that the employees that they oversee are burned out as well. The same survey participants reported that 79% of front-line workers also showed signs of being burned out.
Star employee burnout
Employee burnout statistics 2018 show that burnout is not limited to employees who might be called “under performers.” A recent Yale University study, detailed in this Harvard Business Review article, found that 20% of the 1000 employees surveyed reported being highly engaged and, at the same time, burned out. This means that employers need to be aware of, and take steps to avoid, star employee burnout to ensure that they don’t lose their top talent.
A cross-industry quandary
As mentioned before, employee burnout is not limited by industry or profession. This Inc.com article reports on a survey of 11,000 tech industry workers that found that 57% of them reported suffering from burnout at the time of the survey. The Medscape National Physician Burnout Report 2019, which can be found here, gathered that 44% of physicians self-reported being burned out by their work. Physician burnout is not restricted to the U.S. either, the British National Health Service (NHS) has invested in a “burnout service” to combat the burnout symptoms NHS physicians are experiencing.
Tech workers, doctors, CEOs, and all employees in between are susceptible to employee burnout. The next section will cover the factors leading to job burnout, and shed light on why the specific type of work an employee is doing doesn’t necessarily impact the likelihood that they will become burned out.