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3 Predictors Of DSP Burnout (And How To Prevent It)

December 3, 2019 | Cari Rosenberger

Blog-3-Predictors-Of-DSP-Burnout (1)According to a recent report from Gallup, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job. It’s become such a common workforce issue that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon, defined as a factor that can influence one’s overall health.

The daily demands of a direct service profession (DSP) can often lead to stress. But if those stresses go unaddressed, they’ll likely lead to burnout.

Stress vs. Burnout

When an employee is stressed, they may overthink tasks and take longer to complete things than they normally would. Their emotions may be heightened, appear hyper or feel fatigued.

On the other hand, an employee who is burned out is more likely to describe feelings of exhaustion, helplessness, lack of motivation and depression. Additionally, they’ll be completely disengaged in their work.

Common Factors That Lead To Burnout

Are your employees at risk for burnout? Here are some of the most common predictors.

  1. Working Too Much Overtime

Current workforce challenges have left many providers relying more heavily on overtime to staff consistently. And while many are eager to take on some extra hours, working too many hours, too many days in a row can be exhausting for anyone, especially for healthcare workers and DSPs.

If you don’t have one already, establish a policy as to how many hours an employee can work in a given week. Next, track how many hours each employee is scheduled to work. If you see a DSP is already scheduled into overtime before you’ve even posted the new schedule, reduce their hours and see if there are other employees who are not in overtime that could fill those hours.

If, once posted, there are still remaining shifts to fill, offer them first to those not at risk of incurring overtime.

Ensuring each employee is properly utilized will not only help maximize the use of your staff and lower excess labor costs, but will help reduce the chances an employee will become burned out from working too many hours.

  1. Having An Unreasonable Workload

Being short-staffed means employees are often left having to take on extra tasks to fill in the gaps. With all the duties DSPs have on their plates—from driving clients to work, to helping them buy groceries, to preparing meals, etc., added responsibilities can be a heavy weight to bear.

Unfortunately, in most cases, managers and supervisors have no idea how overloaded individual staff members are until it’s too late and they’ve put in their notice. Be sure to take time each week to review tasks and duties and look for areas where assignments can be redistributed.

And make sure you regularly recognize the hard work your DSPs put in, especially when they’re going above and beyond the call of duty. Employee engagement software like OnShift Engage allows providers to systematically assign reward points to their staff for key behaviors such as arriving to work on-time and not calling off. Managers can also manually reward points for things like taking on extra tasks or doing something special for a client.

It can also help organizations keep a pulse on employee satisfaction, so you can quickly pinpoint teams or shifts that may be struggling and take action.

  1. Experiencing Financial Stress

According to a recent survey, 59% of employees claim financial challenges are the top cause of stress. Additionally, approximately 40% of hourly workers have less than $400 in savings. 

Many I/DD providers are struggling to provide competitive wages. And their employees are feeling those stresses both in and outside the workplace. In fact, four out of five employees say personal financial issues affect their job performance, leading to an increase in stress, an inability to focus, as well as increased absenteeism and tardiness. It’s also a contributing factor of burnout.

Employee financial wellness software such as OnShift Wallet can help your employees when they need it most by allowing them to access earned, but unpaid wages, at no risk to your organization. How do employees use these early-accessed funds? A survey of OnShift Wallet users found that 90% spend funds on bills, groceries, rent and unexpected expenses and 80% use OnShift Wallet to avoid late fees.

Providing early access to earned wages is a simple way to show employees you care, while helping ease financial stress. In fact, 92% of OnShift Wallet users surveyed are likely to recommend their organization to a friend or colleague.

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About Cari Rosenberger

Cari Rosenberger is a Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager at OnShift.

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