In today’s increasingly-competitive business environment, organizations are under pressure to outperform the competition while delivering unmatched products and services. Aggressive production goals set an expectation that employees consistently expedite an unsustainable workload within ever-tighter deadlines. Demands to perform better and faster may appear to be the pathway to success, but this cutthroat approach tends to do more harm than good. According to a survey conducted by Indeed.com, 52% of respondents reported feeling “burned out,” and 67% of the respondents indicated that their burnout has worsened over the course of the pandemic.
So, what does employee burnout mean for an organization’s financial success?
Before we explore the influence that burnout has on productivity, it’s important to identify the causes and symptoms of burnout. Work-related stress can cause emotional exhaustion, reduced accomplishment, a loss of personal identity, and more. There are countless stressors that contribute to workplace burnout, but some of the most commonly-reported pressures include:
These burnout triggers are challenging enough on their own, but the COVID-19 pandemic compounded and exacerbated common stressors. Pandemic impacts and health protocols have resulted in pay cuts, diminished client bases, and reduced staffing, yet employees are often expected to meet the same (or higher) production metrics. The consequences of COVID-19, including the added strain of isolation during quarantine, have resulted in unprecedented reports of employee burnout in the workplace.
As employee exhaustion increases, so do accounts of declining mental health, decreased drive and motivation, low energy and productivity, and heightened irritability with colleagues and clients. Left unchecked, isolated incidents of burnout may spread company-wide with large-scale impacts. Stress, anxiety, and frustration are contagious; humans have a tendency to pick up on and mimic emotions. Rehabilitating a workplace infected by burnout can be arduous, so it’s critical that leaders take proactive, meaningful steps to improve organizational culture as soon as burnout is identified.
Change management is the application of a structured process and resources to lead the ”people side” of change, with the goal of achieving a desired outcome. The change management framework calls for a customized plan that’s tailored to fit the needs of the staff and organization as a whole. When evaluating your workplace culture initiatives, pay close attention to leadership, mentorship, and training. These facets help develop a team that can effectively engage, adopt, and use solutions provided to them.
If your business is ready to foster a healthier work environment, these best practices can enhance your action plan and maximize results:
A healthy work culture produces more than satisfied staff with positive attitudes; healthy work culture produces healthy employees.
Why is this relevant for leadership? Statistics show that healthier staff are more likely to be productive, present, and engaged. According to the CDC, common trends in organizations with a healthy environment include:
The CDC also reports that the cost savings of providing a workplace health program can be measured against absenteeism among employees, reduced overtime to cover absent employees, and costs to train replacement employees.
There is overwhelming evidence to support a direct correlation between employee health and organizational success. If your company isn’t achieving its production goals, it may be time to evaluate the overall wellness of your staff. Contact us for help identifying opportunities to mitigate employee burnout and implementing key changes that can benefit the organization as a whole.
Remember - investing in your team’s health may be the key to your business’s wealth.