By Oswald Timothy Edward & Betsy Jomitin
Employee burnout can strike at any time, but it has become more common since the coronavirus outbreak. Nonetheless, reports on employee burnout affecting employee engagement of the Big 4 audit firms has made to media news years before the COVID-19 pandemic.
A headline story entitled “When Employee Engagement Turns into Employee Burnout” (by Tony Schwartz) reported that employees are all too often expected to work long hours and then be on call nights and weekends. The author opined that working long hours does not mean that an employee is engaged; rather, it is a formula for burnout and failure to maintain high efficiency.
Employees in mission-driven organisations such as hospitals, universities, and social service agencies have experienced a similar pattern. These individuals are extremely motivated to go above and beyond in their work on behalf of others, but they are barely helped in taking care of themselves by their own organisations. Many people develop a condition known as “compassion exhaustion”, which is another term for “willing yet unable”.
If one employee is burned out, it can impact the entire staff, the clients, and the company as a whole. Employee burnout may affect a worker’s health as well as workplace safety and productivity.
Employee burnout is described by three characteristics: physical and emotional fatigue, as well as job stress which lead to energy deficiency and dissatisfaction with one’s job.
The following are some of the most common causes of burnout:
Demands on the job are excessive.
Employment specifications that are incompatible.
Inadequate infrastructure or preparation.
Constructive feedback is in short supply.
Burned-out workers, according to Risk and Insurance, are less conscious of their surroundings, which can lead to workplace injuries. Burnout causes inefficiency, decreased employee satisfaction, decreased dedication to the business, team disruption, and, finally, company failure.
Employees who are fully passionate, proactive, willing to devote themselves completely to their job duties, and particularly committed to achieving exceptional excellence in their jobs are typically required by most organisations. Employees who are engaged, enthusiastic, and committed are needed. “An intrinsic human desire to contribute something of value in the workplace” was ultimately described as engagement.
Employee engagement is described as a state of vitality, loyalty, and undivided attention among employees. Vitality is defined as the highest level of vigour, preference, and resilience. Wisdom of value, eagerness, pride, and motivation for the career are all signs of commitment. Finally, immense attention is described as a satisfying state of high attentiveness that occurs without noticing the passage of time.
Employees who are engaged are said to be more prolific, high achievers, and hardworking in order to achieve both firm and personal goals, as well as having a positive impact on business owners' experiences and, as a result, returns.
Employees who are highly engaged at work and are unlikely to be absent are considered highly engaged by human resources. The success of an organisation can be attributed in large part to its loyal and dedicated workers, whose aims are to contribute to the firm’s success while still believing that their current employer is the best option.
Effect of burnout and stress on employee engagement
Burnout and stress are two well-known causes that contribute to employee disengagement. The fundamental aspects of organisational well-being are commitment and burnouts, with researchers increasingly interested in understanding the relationship between the two constructs.
According to a large body of empirical study, there is a strong negative relationship between certain aspects of burnout and commitment, which is consistent with their opposite associations with job-related outcomes.
The experience of other companies provides a benchmark and support that companies with a high-performance employee profile who opines that their firms strengthened them by stimulating their physical, psychological and social well-being.
Correspondingly, firms which indicated that their workers were well cared for, including having decent working hours, had gross profit margins that were twice as high as firms with traditionally engaged employees and three times as high as those with the least engaged employees. Top two performance drivers are leaders who create confidence by demonstrating genuine respect for their employees’ well-being and maintaining a balanced work-life balance.
In addition, it is recommended that specific interventions be planned as part of an attempt to provide a supportive working atmosphere for those suffering from job burnout. Aside from work-related matters, the possibility of spillover from personal life to work-related burnout can vary to some degree over time. As a result, it is critical to understand the life stages and career processes in which workers are actually engaged, as well as the opportunities available to them and the potential demands they can encounter during those stages, while developing appropriate interventions.
In a nutshell, what managers really need to know is how regularly energised their workers are, not how committed they are. That means not only empowering them and providing them with opportunities to genuinely bring value to the world, but also caring for them and allowing them enough time to relax and refuel.
Oswald Timothy Edward is Senior Lecturer (Risk Management) at the Faculty of Business & Management,Universiti Teknologi MARA Johor.
Betsy Jomitin is Senior Lecturer (Accountancy) at the Faculty of Accountancy, Universiti Teknologi MARA Sabah.