A Leader’s Guide for Combating Employee Burnout

How to Invest in Employee Happiness

An ever-increasing challenge

Ignoring work-related stress can result in a variety of undesirable results, including disengaged staff and even employee churn. It can also lead to mental and physical tiredness, a diminished sense of achievement, and an inability to complete tasks. These signs lead to burnout, a mental health issue that many professionals confront.

According to a McKinsey study, 28% of employees in the United States experience burnout symptoms “occasionally, frequently, or constantly.”

One of the most difficult challenges for company executives today is determining how to respond to burnout.

5 ways leaders may avoid and deal with burnout

  • Learn the causes and effects of burnout
  • Determine burnout among your personnel
  • Provide managers with the tools they need to manage and prevent burnout
  • Offer your employees the assistance they require
  • Combat staff burnout by emphasising employee learning and well-being

Understand burnout: causes and effects

More than three out of every four employees experience burnout at some point. Nevertheless, the number of employees suffering at least moderate degrees of burnout is increasing, even outperforming data during the peak of the epidemic.

After the epidemic and the Great Resignation, organisations must do all possible to make their employees feel engaged and valued while also guaranteeing that they flourish at work. Organizations that do not satisfy these demands risk negative effects such as higher turnover, which costs US corporations millions of dollars each year. Furthermore, key business KPIs including as retention are closely related to burnout.

In a Deloitte poll, for example, 42% of respondents stated they quit a job especially because they were burned out. Addressing burnout is one of the most critical things leaders can do for corporate success, and learning is one successful solution.

Identify burnout among your employees

One of the reasons burnout is so common is that it is difficult to detect. As a result, early detection might be difficult, exacerbating the condition. Burnout symptoms are defined by the World Health Organization as “thoughts of energy depletion or tiredness; increasing disinterest in one’s employment; negative or cynical feelings about one’s career; and diminished professional e£cacy.” The problem is that many of these warning indicators are imperceptible, particularly when individuals operate remotely.

The top 5 causes of burnout 

Some people may feel burned out because they work too many hours. Yet, Gallup research suggests that how people perceive their workload has “a bigger effect on burnout than hours worked.” In other words, you can’t simply look at the folks who work the longest hours and assume they’re the most prone to burnout — while overwork is undoubtedly a factor.

  • Feeling unfairly treated at work 
  • Having an unmanageable workload 
  • Unclear communication from managers 
  • Lack of support from managers 
  • Unreasonable time pressures

Employees who experience burnout fall into one or more of these categories: 


Workers feel overburdened when they strive for achievement at the expense of their personal well-being. When overburdened employees face difficulties, they frequently try to “push through,” taking on additional work and responsibilities, detracting even more from their well-being.


Employees might feel burnout when they don’t have enough work or their work isn’t stimulating enough, which may seem counterintuitive. This personnel are frequently dissatisfied due to a lack of advancement chances.


Employees who suffer from burnout as a result of feeling neglected are frequently overwhelmed by the volume or difficulty of work they are required to do. These employees may also believe that they are not provided with enough direction or structure to do their responsibilities.

Equip managers to address and prevent burnout

This includes setting a positive example by making time for rest and rehabilitation. It also implies that managers should refrain from sending late-night emails and indulging in other activities that might cause stress for themselves and their workers.

Managers can also help prevent burnout by: 

  • concentrating on what brings joy and inspiration to their teams
  • Demonstrating greater faith in the individuals they deal with by granting them greater flexibility and autonomy

Offer your employees the assistance they require

Managers should openly discuss their involvement in contributing to — and mitigating — burnout with employees once they identify their position. These are four conversational strategies that managers may use to encourage their staff.

  • Identify the underlying causes of burnout by doing regular check-ins with direct reports on their current feelings about work.
  • Advocate for your team through utilising cross-functional teams and flexibility, as well as providing time for learning.
  • Remove barriers: Use the abilities of your team members to remove roadblocks for everyone.
  • Promote the utilisation of resources and assistance:
  • Remind workers on a regular basis of the company’s perks and tools, such as L&D resources, wellness benefits, and vacation days.

Combat staff burnout by emphasising employee learning and well-being

Since 2020, mental health support has progressed from a nice-to-have to a corporate need.

Learning opportunities for employees to achieve professional progress are one component of workplace mental health assistance. Learning promotes well-being, which aids in the prevention of burnout.

Employees who have a lot of opportunities for learning and improvement are 3.6 times more likely to be pleased with work. Important company performance criteria are also driven by learning. According to one research of 3 million workers, career development is the #1 driver of employee engagement and job happiness, which in turn promotes retention.


Burnout might feel insurmountable at times. But, feeling overwhelmed is a warning sign, not a long-term punishment. You may recover and establish a road map for prevention by recognising the symptoms and causes and implementing these five processes. Your harrowing experience might be a watershed moment that propels you towards a more sustainable job and a better, healthier existence.