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How to Prevent Employee Burnout


Employee burnout is a serious problem. Don’t overlook these tactics to reduce burnout and help workers thrive. 

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8 min read

Increase employee retention and satisfaction with e-learning 

For employees and employers, burnout is one of the biggest concerns in the workplace today. According to a Deloitte survey, 91 percent of respondents reported that having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work. What’s more, burnout can have a devastating impact on workers’ well-being. 

To preserve organizational and individual health, job burnout prevention should be top-of-mind for all parties involved. This makes it crucial to understand what burnout is, why it occurs, and how to address it proactively.

In this post, we’ll cover the ins and outs of employee burnout, including strategies for preventing burnout with an often overlooked yet powerful strategy: e-learning. 

Key Takeaways

  • Employee burnout is a condition of exhaustion brought on by extended periods of unresolved job stress.
  • To maintain employees’ mental and organizational health, it’s crucial to understand why burnout occurs and proactively implement strategies to prevent burnout. 
  • When paired with other burnout prevention strategies, offering workers e-learning opportunities can help mitigate burnout by increasing job satisfaction and opportunities.

What is employee burnout? 

According to the World Health Organization, burnout syndrome is caused by “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by three main symptoms: 

  • Low energy or feeling weary
  • Increased feelings of negativity, cynicism, or mental distance from a person’s job
  • Reduced productivity or workplace efficacy 

These symptoms are deeply harmful to employees’ physical and mental health. Research shows that workplace burnout is associated with a number of health issues and other negative consequences for organizational, health, and mental health, from decreased work fulfillment and productivity to insomnia, headaches, and even heart disease.

What causes employee burnout? 

A variety of factors may contribute to employees experiencing job burnout. Employees may have multiple burnout risk factors all at once or compounded over an extended period of time. In all cases, it is a serious problem. It takes time and effort to reduce stress and overwork.

Factors that increase the risk of burnout may include:

  • Heavy workloads or excessive time pressure
  • Lack of autonomy over day-to-day responsibilities or career path
  • Lack of community and connection among co-workers
  • Bias, mistreatment, or injustice from within the organization or when representing the organization
  • Poor communication or lack of clear expectations

Understanding how these risk factors may affect employees is crucial to reducing burnout and creating a positive, sustainable workplace.

4 tactics to prevent job burnout 

Job burnout often requires comprehensive structural changes to a company’s culture—not quick fixes or one-off benefits. It’s crucial to approach burnout prevention holistically, from a variety of angles, to create a healthy culture where employees thrive and can do their best work.

Strategies like collecting and implementing employee feedback, redistributing workloads, and providing clear paths to career growth can all help reduce burnout and contribute to this more positive, meaningful work. 

Understanding how these risk factors may affect employees is crucial to reducing burnout and creating a positive, sustainable workplace culture. One surprising workplace benefit that can help employees feel more empowered in their careers, satisfied with their responsibilities, and connected to their organization is e-learning. 

Below, we’ll dive into some specific strategies for building an e-learning program that can contribute to a positive company culture and alleviate employee job burnout.

1. Provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling

Both upskilling and reskilling are key for providing professional development opportunities that allow employees greater control and autonomy over their career paths. In upskilling, employees deepen their existing strengths; in reskilling, they learn new skills that would allow them to perform a different role. 

Whichever path an employee chooses, these learning opportunities can be highly valuable for both the workplace and the employee. For the employer, upskilling and reskilling help increase employee retention and productivity while employees gain greater pay and job opportunities.

Offer a variety of skill growth options to encourage employees to take advantage of any reskilling and upskilling opportunities. Ensure the benefit is available for individuals in different departments and seniority levels. Make time for these learning opportunities during work hours to protect work-life balance, and implement online training options that allow greater flexibility for a variety of schedules. Finally, be sure to reward employees who successfully participate with appropriate opportunities, compensation, and recognition.

2. Foster a culture and community of learning

E-learning can play a crucial role in fostering a healthy, fulfilling company culture. When employees feel that their organization is invested in their growth, and interactions with co-workers, managers, and leadership remind them of that investment, they are more likely to stick with you over time, improve job performance, and find greater fulfillment and purpose in their role. 

To build a culture of learning within your organization, clearly and frequently communicate the e-learning and professional development benefits you offer. Make these clear not only to new hires but also to existing employees, and outline the process for participating. Try implementing optional, company-wide initiatives that encourage skill growth and knowledge sharing, like a lunch-and-learn series with guest speakers or an annual departmental budget to attend industry events.

3. Launch management training

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, 84 percent of U.S. workers say that poorly trained managers create unnecessary work and stress. This can have an enormous impact on the well-being of their direct reports and may place them at greater risk of job burnout.

Dodge this trend by investing in regular management e-learning—not only as a requisite for new managers but also as an ongoing maintenance program to sharpen longtime managers’ skills. Again, make any training opportunities available during work hours to preserve work-life balance and encourage participation and engagement.

4. Document your organizational structure, roles, and resources

A lack of role clarity can pose major risks for employee burnout. Ease the problem with clear documentation that is simple for employees to access and navigate. An online course is easy to update and might include interactive org charts and handbook basics. Use it to inform new and existing employees about critical processes, company history, and more. 

This not only helps reinforce a clear division of responsibility for employees and allows them to work more independently. Proper documentation makes it easier to onboard new hires and train employees on new processes.

Employee burnout is a problem—and an opportunity

Job burnout is a complex, layered issue often caused by multiple factors. Therefore, an effective burnout mitigation strategy must be multifaceted and approach burnout in the work environment from various angles. Leveraging an e-learning program is a key piece of the puzzle—one that can open up greater role clarity, job fulfillment, productivity, and opportunity for employees. 

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8 min read

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