Employee Burnout: Signs, Preventions, & Statistics

Employee burnout is a state of work-related stress caused by prolonged exposure to demanding workplace environments, often resulting in higher levels of stress, lower productivity, and a general sense of exhaustion. When employees are showing signs of burnout, it’s time to take action to prevent further damage. In this article, we’ll offer a clear outline of employee burnout, address its root causes, and empower you to execute effective employee burnout cures.

Employee Burnout

Defining Employee Burnout

According to the World Health Organization, the best way to define employee burnout is “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” More specifically, employee burnout is a state of chronic stress that is often the result of long hours, working under tight deadlines, and trying to juggle too many demands. It is most commonly experienced by people in high-stress jobs, such as those in the medical field, law enforcement, and the public sector. But interestingly, business people in general and consultants specifically are often afflicted by feelings of employee burnout, even though lives are rarely at stake for them. Managers and employees often have trouble keeping context in perspective, and even though a deadline on a report and not a life is at stake, the feeling of stress is very similar.

Employee Burnout Signs

The first employee burnout signs are often lower productivity and physical exhaustion, but it can also cause feelings of emotional exhaustion and difficulty concentrating. An employee’s negative state of mind can cause them to lose the recognition and appreciation of their managers, thereby worsening the effects of employee burnout. More specifically, the following symptoms are common employee burnout signs:

  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm
  • Frustration, sense of hopelessness, or depression
  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Decline in productivity and mental health
  • Inability to concentrate

Causes Of Employee Burnout

Employee burnout results from the cumulative effect of a variety of workplace stressors. The primary causes of employee burnout include:
A sense of overload and pressure: Being consistently asked to work an unhealthy amount of hours can lead to strong feelings of resentment and exhaustion.

Unclear Responsibilities

When workers don’t understand what’s expected of them, feelings of helplessness and frustration are likely to develop.

Inadequate Support From Managers

If managers fail to be present and supportive, this can lead to an unhealthy disconnect with employees.

A Lack of Fairness and Equity in the Workplace

Employees who feel they are not seen as legitimate contributors by virtue of their race, class, or sexual orientation are prone to legitimate mental health issues, including depression and exhaustion.

Limited Personal Agency

It is a well documented fact that human beings require a certain degree of authorship over their own work to feel fulfilled in their lives. Lacking personal agency is therefore linked with feelings of depression and an inability to concentrate.

Misaligned Goals

If employees do not agree with the mission of their employers, declines in productivity and workplace resentment are likely to ensue.

Poor Compensation

This should go without saying, but when employees are not adequately compensated for their labor, this obviously causes every negative symptom associated with burnout.

Learn to Identify the Causes of Employee Burnout

Learning to Identify the Causes of Employee Burnout is Half the Battle.

Next, we’ll delve into the active measures you can take to prevent the horrible effects of employee burnout.

How To Prevent Employee Burnout

The question of how to prevent employee burnout can be complicated to address. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can be employed to aid the process of preventing employee burnout. Below is a list of employee burnout cures:

Engage In Meaningful Discussions

Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to talk about it. As a leader, you should never be afraid to bring up an issue, especially one that concerns your employees. Their feedback must be a critical ingredient in any burnout prevention strategy.

Encourage A Healthy Work/Life Balance

To prevent employees from becoming disconnected from their personal lives due to excessive workloads, be sure to provide them with much needed recovery time to be enjoyed with family and friends. When employees maintain a sense of self-worth outside of the workplace, this translates to a healthy sense of confidence in their professional lives as well.

Consistently Demonstrate Appreciation

Employees are much more likely to feel professionally fulfilled and motivated when they feel that their hard work is being recognized. Demonstrating that recognition on a regular basis will not only prevent burnout, but will likely increase productivity.

Maintain an Appropriate Balance Between Freedom and Structure

Autonomy can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, providing employees with the freedom to work independently can have an empowering and exciting impact on the workplace. However, providing employees with too much freedom can lead to employee burnout. To combat this, it’s important to strike a balance between employee agency and control.

Invest in your Employees Well Being

Companies that offer programs designed to aid employees with their mental, physical, and dietary health are sure to benefit from a significant return on their investments in terms of productivity.

Offer Career Development Opportunities

When employees can clearly envision how their hard work will pay off in the future, they are far more likely to be motivated and fulfilled in their professional lives.

Generally speaking, the key to preventing employee burnout is to identify the underlying causes of burnout and address them at the source. However you tackle it, the first step is to recognize the symptoms of burnout and take action to implement employee burnout cures.

Employee Burnout Statistics

According to Limeade’s Employee Care Report, 40% of employees who quit their jobs during the recent “Great Resignation,” cited burnout as one of the primary reasons for doing so. Another survey conducted by Gallup concluded that “Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job.” Those that do not call in sick experience roughly a 13% reduction in their productivity.

By contrast, Limeade compiled employee burnout statistics to demonstrate that companies who take active steps to prevent employee burnout are:

  • 78% more profitable
  • 5 times less likely to suffer a safety incident
  • 40% more productive
  • 2.5 times more lucrative in stocks


The importance of a healthy employee-manager relationship cannot be understated. If employee well-being is the foundation for success, then maintaining a healthy workplace is of paramount importance to any company. As a result, it is more important than ever to establish healthy boundaries in the workplace when preventing employee burnout. We trust this article informed you on how to prevent employee burnout!


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Filed Under: Consulting skills, Leadership & Management