"The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the
health of organizations"
-National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
A recent Gallup study of 7,500 full-time employees discovered that 23% of them
reported feeling burned out at work very often or always. An additional 44% reported
feeling burned out sometimes. That means that fully two-thirds of workers are
experiencing job burnout.
Beyond the various personnel difficulties caused by burnout — e.g., absenteeism, job
dissatisfaction — the resulting higher stress also drives a number of physiological health
problems. A 2017 study linked job burnout to coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal
issues, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol — accounting for an estimated $125-$190
billion in healthcare spending each year.
The overall individual, organizational, and societal cost of job-related burnout is high
and rising. Fortunately, both the underlying causes of this syndrome and solutions to
them have been identified.
Employee burnout stats you should know
"Employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions."
-Charlie DeWitt, Kronos
A 2016 survey by Morar Consulting found that 95% of human resource managers view
employee burnout as a major challenge to workforce retention, a trend hitting youngest
generations hardest. Results of a 2015 external well-being survey conducted by
consulting powerhouse Deloitte showed that job burnout greatly affects retention of
millennials. An astounding 84% of them say they’ve experienced burnout at their current
job. Nearly half of millennials say they have left a job because they felt burned out.
A 2017 Kronos study of HR managers revealed that 46% of them put employee burnout
as the cause for up to half of their annual workforce turnover. The top contributors to
employee burnout they identified were:
1. unfair compensation (41%)
2. unreasonable workload (32%)
3. too much overtime/after-hours work (32%)
The Deloitte survey showed the top driver of burnout was lack of support or recognition
from leadership, indicating a change in organizational culture may be what’s required.
Even the Federal government is concerned
Stress . . . At Work, a recent National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report
published by the Department of Health and Human Services, took a deep dive into the
nature of job burnout. NIOSH is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research
and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness.
The NIOSH report concluded that 75% of employees believe that workers have more
on-the-job stress than a generation ago. Specifically:
● 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful.
● 29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work.
● 26% of workers said they were “often or very often burned out or stressed by
● 25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
They also found that job-related stress is more strongly associated with health
complaints than financial or family problems. Even with all these difficulties, the Deloitte
study found that nearly 70% of professionals feel their organizations are not doing
enough to prevent or alleviate job burnout.
Relieving job burnout (and its many negative effects)
Making compensation as fair as possible and workloads more reasonable could go a
long way toward relieving the underlying causes of job burnout at your organization.
Just cutting the amount of after-hours work and overtime you expect of your staff would
certainly help. Enhancing communication all across your organization, tying your stated
organizational values to actual work life, also comes highly recommended.
These efforts can address a growing problem in America’s workplaces, saving your
organization headache, cost, and valuable employees. But you may want to aim a little
higher, aspiring to something greater: an organization where you and your staff flourish
and thrive. For that you made need to take a deeper look at how you conduct your
business day-to-day, considering more fundamental changes in your organization.
Greg Zlevor, president of Westwood International and founder of the Global Community
for Leadership Innovation, provides insights and experiences for leaders and high
potentials to help them become more valuable.
--"Workplace Stress: Are you experiencing workplace stress", The American Institute
--"Workplace Burnout at ‘Epidemic Proportions’: Long days, little pay, IT overload,
executive cluelessness are all reasons, survey finds" by Dana Wilkie; SHRM, January
--Stress . . . At Work; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health); Publication NO. 99-101.
--"Employee Burnout, Part 1: The 5 Main Causes" by Ben Wigert and Sangeeta
Agrawal; Gallup: Workplace, July 12, 2018.
--"Companies are facing an employee burnout crisis" by Sheryl Kraft; special to
CNBC.com, August 14, 2018.
--"35+ Impressive HR Statistics You Need to Know in 2019" by Courtney Moran; G2,
January 7, 2019.
--"The Employee Burnout Crisis: Study Reveals Big Workplace Challenge in 2017"
Kronos, January 9, 2017.
--National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Wikipedia.
--"Workplace Burnout Survey: Burnout without borders" Deloitte; 2015.