According to research carried out with 200 HR Directors by the recruitment firm Robert Half, 30% of HR Directors surveyed reported that employee burnout is a common phenomenon in their organisations across all pay scales.
So, what were cited as the main causes for this burnout?
- 67-75% blamed it on ‘workload’ (there was some variance in results based on the size of organisations and whether they were in the public or private sector).
- 56% cited ‘overtime and long working hours’ as an important reason.
- 35% named ‘unachievable expectations’ as a cause of burnout.
- 32% gave ‘economic pressures’ as the main cause.
- 27% suggested an ‘inability to balance personal and professional commitments’ as a major reason for burnout.
Many organisations are trying out initiatives in an attempt to prevent employee burnout with the aim of taking the pressure off staff who may already be feeling the pinch. These include:
- promoting a team-based environment;
- providing flexible working options;
- restructuring job functions and tasks.
The figures quoted above are troubling and show just how much pressure many employees are under, perhaps because they fear their job may be under threat, they are struggling financially or in their personal lives, or because their employer is putting them under pressure to work longer and harder.
Communication is key. Developing an organisational culture in which staff feel comfortable talking to their line managers about any work/health issues they may be facing will help prevent the build-up of stress and pressure that might eventually lead to employee burnout. Advice is available for employers/line managers from the Health for Work Adviceline (0800 0 77 88 44) on how best to support staff who appear to be struggling, or who are already suffering from some kind of physical or mental illness.