All What are the Causes and Cures of Employee Burnout and How to Manage it with HR Tech? All What are the Causes and Cures of Employee Burnout and How to Manage it with HR Tech? Employee burnout is a pressing concern for organizations worldwide. Fortunately, with the rapid advancements in HR technology, innovative approaches have emerged to tackle this issue head-on. Discover the latest methods to revitalize your workforce by harnessing the power of HR tech. Ravijojla Novakovic September 25, 2023 11 minutes Introduction In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environments, employee burnout has become a pervasive challenge faced by organizations across industries. The toll of chronic stress, overwhelming workloads, and the blurring of work-life boundaries can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and a decline in employee and organizational wellbeing. According to research by Gartner, 2022 is the worst year on record for employee stress. Gartner surveyed 3,500 employees and revealed that 58% are stressed, 48% are worried about work, and 41% are also working 9 extra, unpaid hours of overtime a week. Stating burnout as the cause, 68% of employees in Gartner’s study claim they are less likely to stay at organizations. With the advent of modern HR technologies, there is newfound hope for effectively managing and mitigating employee burnout. In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies and cutting-edge tools to revitalize your workforce, improve wellbeing, and nourish resilient and engaged employees. What are the causes and cures of employee burnout? Employee burnout is a pervasive workplace issue that can stem from various causes. One primary cause is excessive workload and unrealistic expectations, often leading employees to feel overwhelmed and drained. Lack of work-life balance is another contributor, as employees struggle to disconnect from work, impacting their mental and emotional wellbeing. Poor management practices, including ineffective communication and a lack of recognition, can also breed burnout. To combat employee burnout, companies can implement strategies like workload distribution, promoting work-life balance through flexible schedules, and fostering a positive work environment with clear communication and regular employee recognition. Addressing these causes and nurturing a supportive workplace culture are essential steps in preventing and curing employee burnout. Why managing employee burnout matters for organizations Burnout has a catastrophic effect on organizational health. In tandem with skyrocketing burnout numbers, a Gartner survey showed that employees’ willingness to support enterprise change collapsed to just 43% in 2022, compared to 74% in 2016. Additionally, HBR reports that 55% of employees reveal a significant hit to their health, their team relationships, and their work environment to sustain high performance through the disruption (disruption caused by the pandemic). Addressing employee burnout proactively is essential to safeguarding organizational wellbeing. By promoting a supportive work culture, implementing wellbeing initiatives, and leveraging HR tools to identify and address burnout risks, organizations can create an environment that fosters employee wellbeing, engagement, and long-term success. Here are some of the key impacts of employee burnout on organizational wellbeing: 1. Reduced productivity and engagement Employees on the verge of a burnout often experience decreased focus, motivation, and energy levels, leading to reduced productivity. Tasks may take longer to complete, and the quality of work may suffer, negatively impacting overall organizational efficiency. 2. Increased absenteeism Physical and emotional exhaustion of employees leads to higher rates of absenteeism, leaving the organization to face frequent employee absences, disrupting workflows and putting additional strain on other team members, causing the overall morale to suffer even more. 3. Higher turnover rates Disengaged and dissatisfied employees who feel they are being taken for granted and that their health suffers due to work, are more likely to leave a company. Replacing experienced employees is costly and can result in a loss of valuable institutional knowledge. 4. Impaired decision-making Burnout can cloud an employee’s judgment and decision-making abilities, potentially leading to poor choices that may impact the organization’s performance and reputation. 5. Negative company culture A prevalent issue of burnout within the workforce can foster a negative organizational culture. Low morale and chronic stress can plague the workplace and spread like a virus, affecting team dynamics and hindering collaboration. 6. Increased health costs Prolonged burnout can lead to various health issues, increasing healthcare utilization, leading the organization to experience higher health-related costs due to burnout-related illnesses. 7. Lowered creativity and innovation Exhausted employees may struggle to think outside the box and find innovative solutions to challenges, hindering the organization’s ability to adapt and grow. 8. Decreased employee loyalty Burnout can erode employee loyalty to the organization, leading to a lack of commitment to its mission and values. This reduced loyalty can further contribute to turnover and disengagement issues. 9. Risking customer satisfaction When employees are burnt out, it can impact their interactions with customers, leading to decreased customer satisfaction. Unhappy customers may share their negative experiences, harming the organization’s reputation. How to Manage Employee Burnout with HR Tech Managing employee burnout is a critical aspect of maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. With the advancements in HR technology, organizations now have powerful tools at their disposal to effectively address and alleviate burnout among their workforce. HR tools offer innovative solutions that can identify early warning signs of burnout, streamline processes, and promote a better work-life balance. From wellbeing tracking and flexible work arrangements to automation and employee recognition programs, these tools play a pivotal role in fostering a resilient and engaged workforce while safeguarding against burnout’s detrimental effects. By integrating HR tools strategically and tackling burnout preemptively, businesses can create a supportive culture that prioritizes employee wellbeing and ultimately drives overall organizational success. 1. Prioritize health & wellness with wellbeing and R&R programs Leverage HR tech platforms that enable companies to launch wellbeing initiatives. Paired with employee surveys, feedback and cultivating a positive company culture that is psychologically safe, health & wellness platforms can help monitor and analyze employee stress levels, ability to manage their workloads, and overall wellbeing. By gathering data on these factors, you can identify potential burnout indicators and take proactive measures to address them. A great way of addressing employee burnout is via an R&R solution. Recognition is an additional motivator that helps promote campaigns that support the health of employees. These campaigns can both engage your workforce, celebrate employee accomplishment and spread awareness of taking proactive measures to increase rest. For example, HR managers may run an R&R program that promotes wellbeing habits and proactive rest, and employees can send each other kudos and earn points for practicing Yoga or Pilates every day. Proactively addressing employee rest and means of relaxing after work may help employees feel more empowered and able to create healthy boundaries between personal and private lives for their own benefit. Ultimately, healthy employees will benefit organizational health, too. According to Gartner, “proactive rest leads to a 26% increase in performance, as well as a significant reduction in burnout”. 22% of employees without proactive rest are burnt out, compared to 2% for those implementing these changes. R&R solutions also impact peer relationships, impacting employees day-to-day quality of life. Data shows that 82 % of employed adults consider recognition an important part of their happiness at work, and 82% feel happier as a result. If managers let a good deed pass by unnoticed, employees may slowly start feeling resentful. When managers and employers take time to recognize employee achievement and Moments that Matter, employees’ sense of confidence grows, which is a crucial factor in avoiding burnout. Scheduling recognition messages will be very helpful for busy managers, because it allows them to never miss out on employees’ crucial moments. Therefore, a company’s HR tech stack should include flexible R&R solutions armed with capabilities to tackle workforce wellbeing, to target employee experience in a wholesome way, and improve company culture at its deepest level. → Read more about scheduled recognition. 2. Encourage flexible work arrangements with internal communication and skills solutions According to IWG, 81% of businesses are adapting to improve talent retention by introducing flexible working. Same research studied employees and found that 35% would say that flexible working is so important, they would prioritize it over having a more prestigious role. Flexible work, in which employees do not stick to a fixed schedule but are allowed more flexibility to plan their workloads and times at which they work, depends on the nature of their job position and companies’ ideation of what work is: outcomes vs. ‘time spent in an office’. Research by IWG also found that flexible work directly impacts employees work/life balance, 82% of employees stated that their work/life balance has improved with flexible working. Companies should be aware that plenty of employees are care-givers in their private lives, and exhausted from burning the candle at both ends. With hybrid or flexible work arrangements, an employee is free to pick up their child from nursery during work hours, but finishes their tasks at another time. Allowing this flexibility, companies ensure both parties are getting their needs served. Working flexibly, employees control their work-life balance more effectively, with more autonomy over their workday and empowerment to manage their workloads easier, reducing the risk of burnout. Companies can also facilitate flexible work arrangements by enabling efficient coordination and communication among remote teams. Internal communication solutions ensure seamless collaboration, especially when they are user-friendly to both employees and HR admins and keep the workforce aligned and well-informed, no matter where they work. Additionally, employees are more loyal to companies that offer greater flexibility. According to research, “80 percent of workers in the U.S. would choose a job which offered flexible working over a job that didn’t, and almost a third (30 percent) of people value being able to choose their work location over an increase in vacation time.” With work flexibility, there is greater loyalty and engagement to do the work well. As long as work gets done and is measured in outcomes – companies nowadays have plenty of tools at their disposal that can align, inform and engage a flexible workforce. 3. Foster communication and feedback Utilize HR tech tools that facilitate regular communication, feedback, and recognition among employees and managers to encourage open dialogue and create a psychologically safe work culture in which employees are free to voice opinions. In the long run, employees in inclusive, open cultures are more likely to communicate their workload struggles and find innovative ways to be effective, preventing burnout to start with. With a fair and bias-free feedback system in place, companies can identify and address potential burnout triggers early on. Real-time feedback mechanisms with manager approvals and 360 degree programs within HR tech platforms can foster a culture of support and continuous improvement and make everyone feel empowered and listened to. Additionally, companies can conduct anonymous pulse surveys to gauge employee satisfaction, engagement, and wellbeing. This helps you gather valuable feedback and identify potential burnout issues at various levels within the organization. Use the insights from these surveys to implement targeted interventions and improve overall employee well-being. Companies should also be aware that employees expect transparency, so being agile in communication in critical moments means a lot to employees who are more likely to positively respond to change if they are not burnout. One great example of a company culture that is open and transparent is SAP. SAP not only uses internal communication solutions that foster excellent communication, but also have a fantastic understanding of Total Rewards and how instrumental it can be in driving change. Their employees are aware of their Total Reward offerings and empowered to make informed financial decisions regarding their careers at SAP. 4. Offer learning and development opportunities Empowering employees to enhance their skills and pursue growth can increase engagement and employee loyalty, and reduce burnout. According to Gartner, “75% of workers looking for development opportunities will do so outside of their current organization, and just 25% are confident about their career at their current organization.” According to Vitorio Bretas, director in Gartner’s HR practice, employees leave their current employers “for better professional development opportunities (45%) at similar rates as they leave for higher compensation (48%).” Semos Cloud’s Skills solution, in its innovative and unique approach to skills and growth, utilizes recognition messages as a source for ascribing various soft and hard skills to employees, and allows companies to shift their view of work towards focusing on outcomes, and helping employees grow in a way that the company needs them to. Learning and development opportunities within a company encourage employees to stay at a company, and be more engaged. According to Gallup, 56% of employees felt a lot of stress the previous day when actively disengaged, and 30% of employees felt a lot of stress the previous day when engaged. In essence, engaged employees are less likely to experience workplace stress. Key Takeaways While HR tech can be a powerful tool in managing employee burnout, it should be complemented by a supportive culture, effective leadership, and a comprehensive wellbeing strategy. Great company cultures experience less burnout employees because these companies tackle issues preemptively and support their company culture with fundamental building blocks: recognition, wellbeing, internal communication, and a clever approach to nourishing employee skills. In summary, companies can: Use HR tech tools to create boundaries between work and personal life. Encourage employees to take breaks, set realistic expectations, and promote self-care with R&R programs and complement these with powerful internal communication systems to keep employees well-informed. Support a positive company culture with open dialogue and feedback and surveys, and workplace relationships with recognition systems to ensure more peer to peer support and help avoid burnout. Shift your approach to a skills based envisioning of work, and allow employees to grow and show them how it benefits them. By integrating HR tech solutions strategically, organizations can create an environment that promotes employee wellbeing, reduces burnout, and fosters a resilient and engaged workforce.