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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Are You Losing Your Employees to Burnout?

Credit: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

If you've noticed a steady stream of employees leaving your organization for other opportunities, you might be piling too much work on them.

A new study from Kronos Incorporated revealed that employee burnout is a huge factor in why many organizations struggle to hold on to their top workers. Specifically, 46 percent of human resources leaders blamed employee burnout for up to half of their annual workforce turnover, with nearly 10 percent saying burnout causes more than 50 percent of their yearly turnover.

Charlie DeWitt, vice president of business development for Kronos, said employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions.

"Not only can employee burnout sap productivity and fuel absenteeism, but as this survey shows, it will undermine engagement and cause an organization's top performers to leave the business altogether," DeWitt said in a statement. "This creates a never-ending cycle of disruption that makes it difficult to build the high-performing workforce needed to compete in today's business environment."

Too much work and not enough money are the leading contributors to employee burnout. The study found that 41 percent of the people surveyed attribute burnout, in part, to unfair compensation, while 32 percent blame it on unreasonable workloads. Another 32 percent said a huge cause is too much overtime and having to work after-hours. [See Related Story: Working Overtime? Longer Hours Won't Make You More Productive]

HR leaders also pointed to other causes of employee burnout, including poor management, a negative workplace culture and employees seeing no clear connection of their role to corporate strategy.

Because more than 85 percent of those surveyed said improving retention is one of their goals over the next five years, figuring out how to cut down on employee burnout is critical.

Dan Schawbel, a partner and research director for Future Workplace, said the biggest priority, and concern, for business leaders in 2017 will be retaining employees in an even more competitive talent marketplace.

"As the economy continues to improve and employees have more job options, companies will have to provide more compensation, expand benefits and improve their employee experience," Schawbel said. "Managers should promote flexibility and ensure that employees aren't overworked, in order to prevent employee burnout that leads to turnover."

Part of the issue is that organizations continue to invest resources in their recruiting strategies, but then say they don't have enough money to enhance their employee-retention efforts. The research found that while nearly 97 percent of HR leaders plan to increase their investment in recruiting technology by the year 2020, 16 percent said not having money in their budget is their primary obstacle to improving employee retention.

"While not all burnout can be eliminated, much of it can be avoided using critical strategies that balance consistency and personalization of schedules and workload, leverage managers as models for how their team can achieve work/life balance, and implement tools and technology that proactively manage burnout or otherwise support these efforts," said Mollie Lombardi, co-founder and CEO of Aptitude Research Partners.

The study was based on surveys of 614 HR leaders, including chief human resource officers, vice presidents of HR, HR directors and HR managers from organizations with between 100 and 2,500 employees.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.