Reducing Employee Burnout

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20 Sep 2023
For HR professionals

In today's fast-paced, complex, and demanding work environments, employee burnout has become a widespread issue. The World Health Organization recognized it as an occupational phenomenon in 2019, emphasizing the severity of the problem. Burnout manifests as feelings of exhaustion, detachment from one's job, cynicism, and reduced professional efficacy. Research by Gallup has identified five key factors strongly correlated with employee burnout: unfair treatment, unmanageable workloads, unclear communication from managers, lack of managerial support, and unreasonable time pressures.


The consequences of burnout are far-reaching, affecting not only employees but also businesses and economies. Employees experiencing frequent burnout are more likely to take sick days, visit doctors, seek new job opportunities, and have lower confidence in their performance. The economic impact is substantial, with the cost of absence and presenteeism estimated at £73 billion annually in the UK alone. Consequently, prioritising employee well-being is not just a moral imperative but also a crucial business strategy to retain talent, enhance reputation, and attract future talent. Here are five steps HR can take to reduce employee burnout in the workplace.


Improve Your Recruitment Process:

The first line of defense against burnout is ensuring that employees are well-suited for their roles. Conduct a comprehensive review of your job descriptions and person specifications to align them with the actual responsibilities. Engage with current employees to gauge how well their roles match the descriptions and make necessary adjustments to your documentation. A well-matched job will lead to greater job satisfaction and reduced burnout risk.


Offer Excellent Initial and Ongoing Training:

Employees need the right skills, knowledge, and behaviors to excel in their roles. Provide comprehensive initial training and continuous development opportunities to align their professional growth with your organization's objectives. Changes in organizational goals may require additional training, so ensure employees have access to the necessary resources and support to meet evolving job demands.


Prepare and Educate Your Managers:

Managers play a pivotal role in reducing workplace stress and preventing burnout. They should set clear expectations, foster collaboration, and provide support for their teams. HR, in collaboration with the leadership team, should equip managers with tools, services, and resources to create a conducive work environment. Encourage managers to identify and address the causes of burnout within their teams, demonstrating a commitment to employee well-being.


Create a Culture of Wellbeing and Support:

Organizational culture significantly influences employee wellbeing. Prioritize wellbeing as a core value of your culture and provide resources to help employees lead healthier lives. Encourage a healthy work-life balance by promoting reasonable working hours, flexible arrangements, and the use of annual leave. By modeling and supporting healthy choices, your organization can systematically address burnout at every stage of the employee life cycle.


Open Doors and Open Ears:

Effective communication between HR and employees is crucial in addressing burnout. Implement an open door and open ear policy, ensuring that employees have a reliable avenue to discuss concerns and access resources. HR should be a source of clarity and truth, offering solutions and support to prevent burnout before it escalates. Establish forums for regular, open communication, making it clear that HR is available to listen and assist.



Reducing employee burnout is not only a moral obligation but also a strategic imperative for businesses in today's competitive landscape. HR departments can play a pivotal role in preventing and addressing burnout by improving recruitment processes, offering training, empowering managers, fostering a culture of well-being, and maintaining open communication channels. By taking these steps, organizations can create a healthier and more productive work environment, ultimately enhancing their reputation and attracting top talent. Prioritising employee wellbeing is not just good for individuals; it's a win-win for both employees and businesses.


How can we help you?

If you're looking for exceptional new talent, we can help. Here's how we can work with your business to support your recruitment as an extension of your HR team. You can call us on 01932 355000 or email

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