Key metrics to help you identify if your employees are burnt out
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced last week that it will be recognizing “burnout” in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Burnout is not classified as a disease but as a syndrome. Specifically within the workplace as a result of excessive stress. If that stress is left unmanaged and becomes chronic, burnout is almost inevitable.
Employees experiencing burnout exhibited a few different characteristics. Feelings of exhaustion, mentally detached from the job, cynical towards the job, and lowered performance. Now, we may have all experienced one or more of these characteristics at any one time at any job. But, when they are pervasive and there’s a feeling that they won’t change, burnout occurs.
While WHO just recently clarified the term burnout and deemed it a syndrome, it’s not a new concept. Over the past decades, the effects of workplace stress and employee burnout have been regularly studied. The impacts are far-reaching. Burnout creates high medical costs, high business costs due to low productivity, and high turnover due to the lack of engagement. The loss of key talent is even more detrimental. Your high performers are at a much higher risk for burnout.
There are a few metrics that can indicate if your employees might be burnt out.
The feeling of exhaustion and overworked is a key characteristic of burnout. Excessive overtime is an indication that your employees are being overworked. Small bursts of overtime may not be something to worry about. But, when it is ongoing with employees consistently working more than 40 hours per week, the chances of burnout increase.
Unfortunately, it will be a little harder to identify the number of hours your exempt employees are working. If your HR team’s analytical skills are a bit more advanced, an organizational network analysis (ONA) might be useful. It looks at how communication occurs within the organization to provide insight. It can be used to map how much time employees are spending with emails and meetings. People inundated with emails may feel overwhelmed that they can’t get to their regular work.
Workload and Time Spent
Additionally, take a look at how the work is spread amongst team members. Managers tend to overload the most capable workers. For instance, look at how many customers or accounts per person. Overload may not be intentional, but it will still increase the chances of burnout.
Don’t forget to look at your managers as well. Highly talented managers will be seen as a crucial resource and pulled into many meetings and projects. They’ll most likely receive more emails as well. If you see this, consider a redesign or redistribution of work.
Not one metric is going to tell you whether or not your employees are at risk for burnout. But, with the right analytics, they can tell a story. Your data and metrics will give you an indication of what’s going on and if burnout might be occurring. You will have to dive deeper into the analytics to find the story of why.