July 18, 2022
Something’s coming. A wave set to hit the workforce with an impact that will make the Great Resignation look like a ripple. A perfect storm of contributing factors like inflation, wage stagnation and the pandemic have whipped up a tsunami that goes by the name of “Burnout.”
And it is about to emerge as a significant driver for those leaving the workforce — as well as those looking to hire.
Leaving hard earned career equity to become a furniture craftsman or organic farmer sounds romantic, but there are serious repercussions for both employee and employer. Yet the percentage of candidates we speak to who want to leave it all behind is significantly on the rise. There are many compounding factors that are leading to a surge in employee burnout. Let’s look at a few. .
Why Burnout is Booming
When people are open to giving up hard-earned titles and compensation you realize how challenging today’s work environment has become.
Most people actually love their chosen profession. Candidates are looking for safe harbors in their careers. They want to thrive and progress. The most common answer over the last 16 years when asked why a candidate was looking to make a move usually wasn’t anything specific. The common answer often goes something like this, “It just doesn’t feel the same here any longer. I’m just not feeling it. It’s a general lack of direction.”
But beyond that common refrain lie the key drivers of employee burnout:
According to the Mayo Clinic, all the leading causes of job burnout can be addressed by employers. Each item on the list above is something an engaged employer can positively affect with some planning and well-delivered execution. Employers have the power to stop the rising tide of burnout. But they have to put in the effort.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ve begun to see that effort being made by companies across the country, with positive moves being made and productive changes being implemented to address employee needs. The dearth of talent found in most sectors in the wake of the past few years have pushed organizations to adapt and adjust to meet people where they are. That includes things like remote work, time shifting, and broader benefits. Is it enough to stave off the burnout wave? Time will tell. But here’s how you can help.
How to Stave off Burnout
Companies have to deliver on a business plan or client deliverable. Your employees are the ones that execute that deliverable. They are the ones that drive results. Happy employees equals a thriving business. But how to begin the battle against burnout? Perhaps The Mayo Clinic’s list of some of the common causes is a good place to start.
Successfully battling burnout means managers need to lead with empathy, implementing an open-door policy so employees can freely discuss their challenges and needs at any time. Managers should regularly and proactively ask “how are you doing?” or “what do you need right now to do your job well?” Staffing-up or even sharing long-term staffing plans can help employees understand the bigger picture; that it may be busy now, but there is a plan to appropriately and sustainably staff-up.
Burnout isn’t good for anyone. It contributes to poor health and rising healthcare costs, worse work outcomes, bad company culture, and poor customer service. It’s a losing situation for everyone. Our managers are on the frontlines and our greatest asset to address burnout. Let’s give them the tools and awareness they need to turn that coming wave into a ripple.
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