How to Prevent Workplace Burnout and Improve Retention

One thing that HR Professionals understand is that working more hours to stay afloat is a pressure that causes many Americans to mentally check-out of their work-lives. Frustration and cynicism are often the two main hallmarks of occupational burnout. 

“Even if companies haven’t literally lost their employees, many have lost them psychologically,” says Jon Gordon author and speaker.

A recent study of 3,000 employees in the US in Canada shed some light on the magnitude of employee burnout.

91% of Employees say that they work more than 40 hours per week.

65% cite feeling pressure at home that is a carryover from their jobs.

How Employers Prevent or Combat Burnout

The 2016 Workplace Index study lists the three simple “perks” that employees value above all others.

Wellness programs

Comfortable break-rooms with technology

Fresh snacks and beverages

Perhaps the most interesting finding was that 59% of workers state that being encouraged to take breaks by supervisors helped to decrease their feelings of burnout, whether they actually took a break or not.

This simple act of showing concern is an indicator that The Golden Rule is still the most important guiding principle for all humanity.

The Purpose Driven Workplace

A lack of purpose goes deeper than simple business burnout.- Dan Pontefract

For nearly a decade, studies have consistently indicated that employees want to work for companies with a purpose. Employers that can facilitate this (marginally tangible) request seem to have a better retention rate. This translates favorably in today’s lean business model.

Of course, “purpose” means different things to different employees but Dan Pontefract, Author of The Purpose Effect, gives these tips:

Be Engaging

Sharing organizational goals and plans with every team member, no matter their role creates a feeling of purpose.

Be Ethical

This is an organization’s integrity. It says to employees and customers that the company is taking responsibility. This fosters a sense of pride for the employee.

Be Fair

When a culture based on “fairness” permeates the entire organization the result is improved “people practices” throughout.

Serve All Stakeholders

Identify and recognize all that are affected by your company, including clients, employees, families, community and beyond. Next, seek ways to serve all these entities as stakeholders and acknowledge each group as an integral part of your success.

Today’s lean business models make burnout an ever present scenario. To prevent this and improve retention an employer must consider what is important to their employees and make meaningful changes.

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