Employee burnout seems to be the hot topic as of late. But what seems like an industry buzzword is actually quite serious -- so much so that the World Health Organization recently declared employee burnout an occupational phenomenon. Employee burnout negatively impacts employees and employers, and is just bad for business any way you slice it. Let's take a look at some of the causes of burnout, how it impacts your organization and how to resolve it.
“Burnout Syndrome” was first described as a disorder in the 1970s, according to the American Thoracic Society, and has more recently been associated with caregiver roles across various health care settings.
A July 2018 Gallup poll identified the five main causes of employee burnout, which ultimately can lead to Burnout Syndrome:
- Unfair treatment at work: This can range from mistreatment by a coworker and favoritism to unfair compensation and corporate policies. Workers who strongly agree they are unfairly treated are 2.3 times more likely to suffer from burnout.
- Unmanageable workload: When employees feel as through their workloads are unmanageable, they can shift in a split-second from eager to listless, compounding the problem.
- A lack of clarity about one’s role: If a worker does not have defined responsibilities and expectations in a role, the chances of burnout increase.
- Lack of communication: Employees who feel supported by their managers are 70% less likely to experience burnout.
- Unreasonable time pressures: Employees who feel they have enough time to do all of their work are 70% less likely to experience burnout.
Any one of these factors can roll into another, causing a snowball effect.
The Impact Of Employee Burnout On Your Business
According to that same Gallup poll, employees dealing with burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day, and are 2.6 times as likely to be looking for another job. Even if an employee stays with an employer, he or she may lack confidence in his or her performance and is less likely to discuss performance goals and career objectives with a supervisor.
For senior housing operators already struggling with costs and pressures from a tight labor market, employee burnout can adversely impact operations further. A team from Harvard and Vanderbilt Universities found that 75% of nursing homes were never in compliance with registered nurse staffing levels set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Harvard-Vanderbilt research also showed a wide disparity between self-reported and payroll-based staffing records, particularly around the time of a facility’s annual survey.
A 2018 report from senior living industry organization Argentum revealed that the industry must recruit and retain 300,000 new employees by 2026, to meet future demand. Some senior living positions — notably those in business operations and administrative support — may soon experience higher rates of employee retirement than others, as they are comprised mostly of workers age 65 and older.
States are taking the staffing crisis more seriously, as well. In June, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation fining nursing home operators that don’t meet the state’s required 2.5 hour daily direct-care level.
Understaffing leads to increases in the use of agency workers and spikes in costly overtime pay for those workers who pick up the slack, increasing the chances of employee burnout.
Nurses in particular are high-risk when it comes to burnout. A recent study from University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that 30% of 700 direct-care registered nurses involved in the study were severely burned out, 31% were dissatisfied with their jobs and 72% reported missing one or more necessary care tasks on their last shift due to lack of time or resources. Not only are these workers unengaged, but they're compromising the quality of care residents receive at your community.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, RN engagement can also impact your bottom line. It costs between $22,000 to over $64,000 to replace a registered nurse. Additionally, employment of RNs is expected to increase 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Attracting, training and retaining RNs and other quality staff can help communities save money and promote continuity of care long-term.
Resolving Employee Burnout In Senior Care
Burnout can be avoided by utilizing tools to offer employees scheduling flexibility, save on overtime and attrition costs, achieve operational excellence, and of course -- most importantly -- help employees live happier, healthier lives.
Offering flexible schedules is great way to combat employee burnout. Workers set in the same day-to-day schedule are more likely to tune out, call in sick and put in less than optimal effort when they are on the clock. Plus, many workers today work multiple jobs, have families to care for and are juggling multiple responsibilities outside of work. Offering them the flexibility they need to tend to their personal lives helps prevent burnout and shows your organization cares about its staff.
OnShift’s mobile app is a great tool to promote work-life balance, as well. The app allows employees to set their workday preferences, manage schedules and maintain communication with their managers. Supervisors, meanwhile, can use the app to keep tabs on employee overtime and monitor job performance.