Article: Employee burnout will be the biggest challenge in 2017: HR leaders

Corporate Wellness Programs

Employee burnout will be the biggest challenge in 2017: HR leaders

Employee Burnout will impact retention more than ever, say HR leaders.
Employee burnout will be the biggest challenge in 2017: HR leaders

A study conducted by Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace in the United States of America found that nearly 95% of HR leaders consider employee burnout to be the biggest threat to an engaged and productive workforce in 2017, and also admit that there is no solution to the challenge in the foreseeable future. 

A survey conducted as a part of the study, questioned over 600 HR leaders across the nation, from organisations with 100 to 2,500+ employees, about how burnout drives turnover, causes of burning out, and ways to reach a solution. 

The following are the highlights of the study:

  • 46% of the HR leaders admitted that employee burnout was responsible for 20-50% of their annual workforce turnover. Nearly 10% said that employee burnout was causing more than 50% of their turnover. 

  • Employee burnout seems to impact larger organisations more than smaller ones, as one in five HR leaders at smaller organisations (100-500 employees) named burnout as a cause of 10% or less of their turnover, whereas 15% of the HR leaders at big organisations (2,500+ employees) considered the same causing 50% or more turnover.

  • The top three factors that caused burnout among employees were unfair compensation (41%), unreasonable workload (32%) and too much overtime (32%). 

  • However, factors like poor management (30%), employees seeing no clear connection of their role to corporate strategy (29%), and a negative workplace culture (26%) also made it to the list. Interestingly, insufficient technology for employees was considered a primary cause of burnout by 20% of the respondents. 

  • Although 87% of the HR leaders named improving retention as a top priority for 2017, 20% said they were too busy with competing priorities to fix the issue of employee burnout. Furthermore, 19% said that lack of automation, i.e., their job being too manual prevented them from focussing on the bigger strategic challenges. 

  • HR leaders also blamed lack of executive support (14%) and lack of organisational vision (13%) as additional obstacles to improving retention this year, indicating to the fact that the top management need to pull their socks up as well.

  • 97% of the HR leaders planned to increase investment in recruitment technology by 2020, and 22% expected an increase of 30-50% in the same. Nonetheless, resources and budgets were named as the biggest constraints to programs that could help increase retention.


Charlie DeWitt, VP, Business Development, Kronos has been quoted saying, "Employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions. 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...".

He further added, "Organizations should seek out and implement technology solutions that provide a proactive approach to mitigating burnout, such as the scheduling of rest during rolling periods as long as a year. Workforce analytics can also identify and alert managers to trends in scheduling and absenteeism that may indicate an employee is on the path to burnout so changes can be made.”

The study quantifies and predicts a workforce crisis-of-sorts, in the making, and warns about the perils of ignoring overworked employees burning out to productivity and engagement. The stressful lifestyle that the quintessential employee of today’s global workforce leads had to result in burning out sooner than later, and this study is just indicative of the fact that the stage might be closer than anticipated. Although the study is restricted by geography, but that doesn’t diminish the authority with which it can claim the seriousness of the issue at hand. Employers all over the world need to take serious notice of the claims in the study and identify if their employees are also prone to burning out. Employees, on the other hand, need to be more aware and proactive, identify an impending burnout, and mitigate its damage by taking necessary steps.

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Topics: Corporate Wellness Programs

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