Bloomberg Law for HR Professionals is a complete, one-stop resource, continuously updated, providing HR professionals with fast answers to a wide range of domestic and international human resources...
June 30 — Employers should focus on employees as individuals to reduce burnout, which in turn can reduce staff turnover, consultants and researchers say.
The slogan of “doing more with less” often means fewer personnel are available, Mollie Lombardi, co-founder and CEO of research-based analyst and advisory firm Aptitude Research Partners, headquartered in Boston, Mass., said June 29. This has been “the new normal” for a long time, and the strain is starting to tell on employees, she said.
Burnout is more serious than short-term fatigue, in that “you can't just tell someone to take a day off” and expect the person's burnout to abate.
Aptitude Research Partners recently polled 103 organizations and found 67 percent “have experienced productivity or quality issues due to employee fatigue and burnout,” Lombardi said.
This can have public safety implications if it affects critical occupations such as firefighting, Alex Kerin, strategic solutions consultant at HR software company Kronos, of Chelmsford, Mass., said.
Workload was the most significant driver of employee burnout, cited by 54 percent of the organizations, Lombardi said. Other major factors were manager relationships (47 percent), the experience and skills of other team members (46 percent) and the physical working environment (46 percent).
Three key strategies Lombardi said can reduce employee burnout are “balancing consistency with flexibility, managers as models and utilizing technology wisely.” The consistency-flexibility balance was reflected in the poll with just over half (52 percent) citing “better matching of employee skills and experience to open shifts” and slightly lower numbers citing “better workload management,” “better incentive program to prevent unplanned absences” and “policies regarding appropriate rest time,” Lombardi said during a presentation.
Technology can help employers provide employees with predictable schedules while also offering important kinds of flexibility such as shift swapping. This improves employee engagement, which in turn has “real business impact,” Lombardi said.
But there's a problem in that, of the organizations Lombardi's company polled, “only 37 percent have an executive-level role focused on workplace culture and employee engagement,” she said.
“It's not good enough just to look at averages,” Kerin said, because one particular location within an organization may have the biggest problems with burnout and employee disengagement.
The key is organizational culture, which Lombardi defined as “a set of behaviors that are rewarded or discouraged by the people and processes within an organization.” Top-level people have to set the tone by such steps as ensuring employees can actually take vacation they are entitled to because there is someone else to cover their tasks, she said.
Otherwise, burnout can become “contagious throughout the organization,” she added. However, she said, burnout is an individual problem, so there can't be “one-size-fits-all” solutions to it.
Other suggestions came from Andrew P. Hill, associate professor at York St. John University in York, U.K.. He is the author of a study on burnout published July 31, 2015, in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review. In a June 30 e-mail to Bloomberg BNA, he said employers should:
Lombardi and Kerin were speaking during a webinar sponsored by Kronos.
To contact the reporter on this story: Martin Berman-Gorvine in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)