Employees are often required to put in long hours and deliver greater results without increased resources or incentives to motivate the extra effort. The more frequently employees experience this condition in their jobs, the more likely they are to burnout.
In its most basic form, burnout is defined as a prolonged state of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. It is more than job stress and typically evolves into long-term disengagement.
DecisionWise research through employee engagement surveys and employee observation reveals three signs of employee burnout:
- Depersonalization: Work becomes a force that exists outside of the individual. The burnt-out employee will go to work and put in the time, but their jobs are no longer an integral part of their life.
- Cynicism: The organization is expecting too much and giving too little. The employee has little hope that this will change.
- Frustration: Not only is more work required, but there are fewer incentives for putting in extra discretionary effort. The obvious disconnect between incentives and effort is frustrating. In addition, the results of an individual’s extra work are often not immediately evident in the financial state of the company; this causes further frustration.
The emotions listed above, the signs of burnout, dramatically increase the likelihood of complete disengagement in individual jobs and organizations. Following disengagement, an employee’s next likely step is to look outside of their department or company for other opportunities. If the job search does not yield positive results, the employee will effectively be forced to stay in their current position. Ultimately, burnout conditions have a high risk of leading to a widespread quit-and-stay mentality.
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