The Hidden Factor That’s Fueling Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is rampant.
You’ve probably already seen the consequences of burnout in your own organization — diminished employee well-being, increased turnover, and declining performance.
Now it’s time to identify its causes.
While there are several known contributors, there is one critical factor even HR experts have missed: complex workplace technology.
Only 20% of HR leaders identified technology that prevents employees from doing their jobs as a primary contributor to burnout, according to a Kronos survey.
Like a fan over a flame, burnout thrives in this gap between the perceived problem and reality. Technology is a much bigger driver of burnout than most people realize.
Your workplace technology could be making employee burnout worse
As the volume and complexity of enterprise tools rise, the more vulnerable your employees are to stress and frustration. From there, it’s a short road to burnout.
As a human resources leader, you can’t overlook the technology factor as part of burnout control. It’s not only necessary for protecting business performance, it’s your moral imperative.
Employee burnout affects people in different ways. On the extreme end of the spectrum, it can manifest in debilitating anxiety, stress, insomnia, or even physical illness.
Less severe symptoms include an inability to focus, irritability, and feeling detached from one’s work and personal life.
In all of its forms, burnout is afflicting American companies in epidemic proportions.
Almost a quarter of workers — 23% — often or always feel burned out at work. Forty-four percent feel burned out at least sometimes, according to a Gallup study of 7,500 full-time workers.
The effects on employee retention are drastic.
- 95% of HR leaders say burnout is destroying workplace retention (Kronos)
- 46% attribute 20% to 50% of annual turnover to it (Kronos)
According to Gallup, employees who suffer from burnout are:
- 63% more likely to take sick days
- 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job
- 13% less confident in their performance
- 23% more likely to visit the emergency room
5 known burnout contributors, and 1 that’s overlooked
Before you can begin to fix employee burnout, you must first understand the common causes. But conventional research doesn’t tell the whole story.
Gallup identified five primary contributors:
- Unfair treatment
- Unmanageable workload
- Lack of role clarity
- Inadequate support from managers
- Unreasonable time pressures
The sixth factor is demanding your attention
It’s time to start paying attention to the sixth factor — your workplace technology.
As businesses zero in on digital transformation, employees are being inundated with complex enterprise software.
The introduction of CRMs, HCMs, finance platforms, and other solutions has the potential to boost employee productivity and raise business performance. But often, these tools lack intuitiveness and usability.
Employees struggle to navigate confusing interfaces, complete complicated processes, and manage click fatigue.
The result is frustration and burnout
Traditional modes of software training are time consuming and ineffective. Employees often feel lost when it’s time to actually use it. They buckle under stress, helplessness, and feeling incompetent performing their daily tasks.
The increasing prevalence of cloud-based software makes this a chronic challenge. Each time a version update or new features are installed, employees have to relearn and regain proficiency.
Mobile tech is obscuring “work-life balance”
After work, you want your employees to recharge. This means leaving the office at a reasonable hour, taking their minds of daily stressors, enjoying family time, and doing the things they love.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical to staving off burnout.
But the flood of emails, texts, and alerts doesn’t stop after work hours.
When your employees take their phones home, it often means they’re taking their work home. Mobile tech is blurring the boundaries that the office walls used to represent.
Don’t ignore technology’s role in employee burnout
The issue of employee burnout is complex and nuanced. While it manifests as a people problem, it is a major symptom of a technology problem.
It’s time to be proactive. If you want to alleviate burnout in your workforce, you need to look at the whole picture. Addressing the technology aspect won’t slow down your digital transformation — it will enable it to thrive.