Burnout comes in many forms. And rears its head in many ways.

The sales manager at the end of his road after flogging himself to hit targets. The retail store manager who's worked twelve-hour shifts for ten days straight. The marketeer who's exhausted all possibilities and is still hell bent on finding the answer.

We're all human, so when the pressure sets in, employee burnout is lurking just around the corner.


Burnout: An individual’s response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors within the workplace (Maslach et al., 2001).

Burnout comes from three major factors.

  1. Exhaustion comes from the depletion of emotional resources to cope with the current work environment. This is the stressed out, overwhelmed employee that may be reduced to tears, or quick to bite.
  2. Cynicism is when an employee has become distant towards the job. This is the employee that doesn't see an end goal and is unmotivated to find a solution.
  3. Inefficacy is a reduction in personal accomplishment. This is the stressed-out employee who given up trying.


  • Job Demands: The workload is too much to cope with.
  • Role Conflict: Too many cooks spoil the business broth.
  • Lack of Resource: Employees don't feel they have everything they need to do their job.
  • Lack of Support: Line managers are too busy to offer support with workload or projects.
  • Lack of Feedback: If an employee doesn't know how they are performing, how can they improve?
  • Exclusion from Decision Making: The less involved employees are in a decision-making processes, the higher the rates of burnout.
  • Workload Mismatch: An employee who is overloaded with work or performing the wrong kind of work for their skillset.
  • Lack of Control: An employee doesn't feel they have enough control over the resources or the team to do their work effectively.
  • Lack of Reward: Employees feeling unrewarded begin to reassess their options, and often consider going elsewhere. Take a look at Rewarding Top Talent.


  • Employees decide to leave
  • Sickness and absence rates increase
  • Job satisfaction hits a low
  • Employees lose their sense of commitment to the job
  • Conflicts form between colleagues
  • Productivity levels plummet
  • Other employees' jobs are disrupted, and projects delayed


Delegate an amount of work that is challenging enough to get your teams excited, but not overwhelming enough to fill them with fear.

Ensure that each member of your team is equipped to do the task in hand, either through their own skillset or with the necessary training and resources they'll need.

Keep working hours realistic. Whilst large projects often require additional hours, keep the hours in check for a healthy work/life balance.

When planning a large project, build in potential for sick leave, paid time off, and annual leave.

Encourage your employees to use their full lunch hour, plus take regular breaks throughout the day - especially important if they use a screen for the majority of their day.

Ensure that each team member has a specific role and understands what's expected of them. If training or development is required, outline a solid training plan.

Take the time to listen to your employees concerns and feedback. Are they happy? Productive? Do they feel that deadlines can be met? Listen and address any challenges together.

Build team morale and job satisfaction by arranging teambuilding activities. Go karting, lunches outside of the office or a game of five a side after work.

A team that plays together stays together.

For assistance with employee retention, speak to our team about our candidate retention strategies.

Credits: Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W.B. and Leiter, M.P. (2001), “Job burnout,” Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 52 No. 1, pp. 397-422.

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