July 18, 2019
The recently updated classification of burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ by the World Health Organization, is shining a light on related costs and misconceptions. While it is not officially recognized as a medical condition, burnout is now defined as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.
Today’s drive to modernize processes combined with 24/7 access to work has created a workforce that is constantly on duty or on call. The impact of which has become a cost increase to businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole due to employee burnout. What makes burnout different from anxiety and other stress-related disorders are three characteristics that are tied specifically to “work and a person’s relationship to their work.” These three traits are, feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism and reduced professional efficacy.
At higher levels, burnout can result in an increase in employee turnover rates and health care expenses, which can have a significant impact on a business’ bottom line and employee morale. In fact, turnover due to burnout ranges between 20% and 50% with the average hiring process costing roughly $4,425 per employee. With additional costs to employers reaching $300 billion a year due to lower levels of productivity and unexpected absences, it is best to address the causes of burnout in a timely manner.
Advancing Company Culture
The importance of an employee’s onboarding experience should not be overlooked. It is essential for employers to begin fostering a relationship with candidates during the recruitment phase. A quality applicant tracking solution will assist employers with determining their best talent sources to ensure they are attracting the strongest candidates possible. It will also supports an efficient and effective onboarding process.
This first impression of the company has a dramatic impact on the employee’s view of their new place of employment and their initial level of engagement or disengagement. An onboarding process based on retention and performance and not just streamlined for administrative ease, which often leads to onboarding overload, will ensure an employee has a deeper understanding of their role, the organization’s values and what a future with the company could be like.
Throughout the employee’s tenure with the company, management can maintain engagement by providing regular feedback. Performance management systems support employee engagement efforts by offering supervisors the opportunity to provide quality, relevant feedback. In addition to feedback that is provided by management, performance management systems allow employees to update their accomplishments and rate themselves. Being able to have real-time feedback into their performance is important, as studies have revealed 89% of employees do not want their performance review feedback to be a surprise.
This level of on demand performance insight from both employees and managers provides a holistic view of an employee’s time at the company. It also creates a culture of growth and assists with identifying top performers that are able to lead the organization to the next level.
HCM solutions can also assist with identifying employees becoming disengaged through workforce analytics reports reflecting higher rates of absenteeism. Excessive absenteeism is not only a key indicator of disengagement, but also effects the engagement of fellow employees due to their increased workload. As this can impact employee morale across the organization, it is critical for companies to have sufficient data insight into reoccurring absenteeism.
Optimizing Staff Scheduling
Contrary to popular belief, workplace burnout isn’t limited to employee disengagement. In fact, one in five U.S. employees are highly engaged yet experience high levels of burnout, according to a Yale study. Employees that are highly engaged often experience higher levels of stress due to timelines and unmanageable workloads, which can increase stress on even those with the best time management skills. This level of engagement may lead to constant overtime.
Companies cannot thoughtfully and accurately address staffing, workloads and scheduling issues unless they have adequate data. Workforce management solutions provide insights to ensure management is properly evaluating and aligning hours and demand. By evaluating staffing needs, companies can address constant overtime and potential understaffing as its cause. WFM solutions assist companies in creating, managing and measuring workloads by providing real-time visibility into crucial scheduling data.
By implementing a HCM solution that is able to track key data points that are associated with burnout symptoms, companies can effectively capitalize on employee productivity and create a happier company culture.
About the Author
In 2018, Jennifer Ho joined Ascentis as vice president of human resources. With more than 10 years of experience, Jennifer is a HR leader skilled in developing and growing multi-faceted human resource strategies.
Prior to Ascentis, Jennifer led human resources departments for several high-growth technology businesses and has a wealth of experience in talent acquisition, training and development, compensation and benefits, and process improvement. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science in human resources management from Minnesota State University, Mankato.