Employee Burn Out

If you notice any of your employees becoming disengaged, missing deadlines, becoming forgetful or irritable, they may be experiencing employee burnout. A recent Gallup study discovered that 23% of employees felt burned out at work “often” or “always”, and 44% felt burned out “occasionally”. Employee burnout can be costly to your organization. An employee experiencing burnout is 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to seek new employment. A crucial factor in whether or not employees hit burnout is based on how they are treated and managed. How can you recognize the signs of employee burnout and what can you do to prevent it?

Read further for 4 tips to avoiding employee burnout:

Factors that can cause employee burnout:

  • Workload and intangible deadlines.
    If an employee is taking on an unreasonable workload and/or deadlines they can feel an immense amount of pressure and stress – they can soon fall behind on following deadlines and upcoming projects. The stress and pressure an employee feels from having too much work on their plate can lead them down the dangerous path of employee burnout. In contrast, when an employee expresses they have enough time to complete their workload, they are 70% less likely to experience burnout. Employees’ quality of work can start to diminish because they are rushing or disengaged. Over time this affects the passion and creativity the employee once felt for their work. Employees need to feel that they have the necessary tools and support to adequately manage their workload and deadlines.
  • Communication amongst employees and management.
    Communication between employees and management is crucial for an organization to run smoothly. If there is a disconnect between the two, the employee can become insecure or unmotivated which in turn leads to burnout. It is also important for your employee to feel like they can come to managers for support and assistance when needed. Clear direction from their leaders gives your team members the best opportunity for success. In Gallup’s recent State of American Workplace report, “only 60% of workers can strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work.” Successful managers communicate responsibilities to their employees and ensure an understanding of expectations and provide the necessary resources for their employee to do the job. Without clear communication or clear direction of responsibilities, employees can become lost and disconnected from their team and their job, resulting in burnout.


What you can do to combat employee burnout:

As managers it is your responsibility to foster a positive work experience for your team while ensuring that employees feel safe, supported, and are aware of what their expected duties are and how they align with performance goals. In order to prevent and potentially reverse employee burnout, focus on a few factors:

  1. Listen to your employees: Work to understand and meet their needs. Employees are 62% less likely to burnout if their management is willing to listen.
  2. Emotional support from coworkers: This is vital in alleviating employee burnout. Employees with a close friend at work are 40% more likely to have been praised for the quality of their work. Create an environment where employees can interact, share their opinions, collaborate, and feel connected to their team.
  3. Recognizing strength and skills: When it comes time for feedback, giving appropriate focus to the strengths and accomplishments of your employee and discussing how they have helped them develop in their roles is a great way to develop their success. Using strength-based development can help employees feel more confident and less stressed, and lead them on a pathway to success rather than burnout.
  4. Introduce the idea of autonomy in your company: If an employee feels they have some say and flexibility in how, when, and where they perform their daily tasks and responsibilities, they are 43% less likely to experience burnout.


Burnout is on the rise and your employees may be susceptible. Building a comprehensive management strategy that includes support for the emotional wellbeing of staff is the best way to prevent burnout from infecting your team. Burnout is not something that will solve itself so be sure to pay attention to your employees; communicate effectively and support them so you will be able to recognize when they are drained and over worked. Understanding the factors that cause burnout will help you develop preventative measures that best suit your employees and company culture. Happy employees – and managers – perform at their best when the feel their best.