A new study seems to determine that the biggest threat to building an engaged workforce is employee burnout. A new study by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace® has found that 95 percent of human resource leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention. And many HR professionals are finding no obvious solutions. Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace believe technology will be one way organizations address burnout in 2017.
“Employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions,” said Charlie DeWitt, Vice President of Business Development for Kronos, in a statement. “While many organizations take steps to manage employee fatigue, there are far fewer efforts to proactively manage burnout. Not only can employee burnout sap productivity and fuel absenteeism, but as this survey shows, it will undermine engagement and cause an organization’s top performers to leave the business altogether.”
According to the survey, nearly half of HR leaders (46 percent) say employee burnout is responsible for up to half (20 to 50 percent, specifically) of their annual workforce turnover. Almost 10 percent blame employee burnout for causing more than 50 percent of workforce turnover each year.
Though burnout touches organizations of all sizes, larger organizations seem to suffer more. One in five HR leaders at organizations with 100 to 500 employees cited burnout as the cause of 10 percent or less of their turnover while 15 percent of HR leaders at organizations larger than 2,500 employees say burnout causes 50 percent or more of annual turnover.
“The biggest priority, and concern, for business leaders in 2017 will be retaining employees in an even more competitive talent marketplace,” wrote Dan Schawbel, Research Director for Future Workplace in a press release. “As the economy continues to improve, and employees have more job options, companies will have to provide more compensation, expand benefits and improve their employee experience. Managers should promote flexibility, and ensure that employees aren’t overworked, in order to prevent employee burnout that leads to turnover.”
Despite 87 percent of HR leaders calling improved retention a critical or high priority over the next five years, one-fifth (20 percent) said there are too many competing priorities to focus on fixing the issue in 2017. Outdated HR technology is another problem: nearly one out of every five HR leaders (19 percent) reported their current tech as being too manual – i.e., lacking automation of repetitive administrative tasks – detracting from their ability to act strategically to fix big problems.
“Engagement has been the workforce buzzword for the past decade,” said Mollie Lombardi, CEO of Aptitude Research Partners, about the survey’s findings. “We talk about ensuring that employees are challenged, appreciated, and in sync with strategic objectives, but even when they have an intellectual or emotional engagement with their work they sometimes still feel overwhelmed.”
“While not all burnout can be eliminated, much of it can be avoided using critical strategies that balance consistency and personalization of schedules and workload; leverage managers as models for how their team can achieve work/life balance; and implement tools and technology that proactively manage burnout or otherwise support these efforts.”
In this national survey, 614 HR leaders – including Chief Human Resource Officers (CHRO), vice presidents of HR, HR directors, and HR managers from organizations with 100 to 2,500+ employees – provided a candid look at how burnout drives turnover, what causes it, and why there is no easy solution despite 87 percent of respondents calling improved retention a high / critical priority.