Burnout isn’t just an individual problem — it’s an organizational hazard. Yet a staggering 57% of U.S. workers said that they are grappling with burnout to some extent with workplace stress playing the lead antagonist, according to a recent Aflac WorkForces Report. The narrative is even more disheartening for women (75%) and younger workers, with 67% of Gen Z and 64% of millennials reporting that they feel moderate to high levels of burnout.
According to the Harvard Business Review, burnout is characterized by three dimensions, including being or feeling overloaded, underchallenged, and neglected. Any of these can lead to employees feeling physically and mentally exhausted, frustrated, or uninspired.
The truth is burnout is often identified when it’s too late, but early intervention is possible.
Related content: Watch our webinar with SAP SuccessFactors on creating an employee-centric talent strategy to prioritize employee growth.
Watch out for early indicators
Although remote work makes early burnout symptoms harder to spot there are telltale signs.
When an employee is disengaged, they begin contributing less in meetings, emails, or online conversations. They tend to pull back from discretionary effort, deciding against going above and beyond with projects and team activities.
Alternatively, they may be repeatedly working outside normal hours, remotely and isolated. Their attitude and energy shift into a negative place, which can be contagious, impacting team dynamics, morale, and productivity.
It’s time to act.
Focus on the whole self
Providing time off and much-needed breathing space for stressed employees can be a good move, but it’s no remedy if someone merely returns to the same workplace scenario.
The better approach is to understand what energizes your employees at work — what gives them joy and makes them feel fulfilled. For some employees, their happiest moments may be sharing their expertise with colleagues or working directly with customers. For others, it might be research projects or helping new employees find their feet.
This focus on the whole self means taking into consideration your employees’ passions, interests, and work preferences. You can tease out these interests and motivations in conversations, but this is where technology can also lend a helping hand.
Holistic-minded technology, like the SAP SuccessFactors Talent Intelligence Hub, can help give you a strong understanding of your employees’ attributes, styles, and aspirations. You can then draw connections between their work and passions — and this may help rekindle their fire at work.
At a corporate level, organizations must also continue to support and prioritize employees’ holistic well-being, including their mental, physical, emotional, and financial health. That’s one of the key findings in HR meta-trends in 2023 study from SAP.
Keep employee experience top of mind
The need for HR to create an employee experience that is customized, curated, and guided has become urgent. Establishing dynamic and iterative feedback channels that reflect employees’ evolving needs and challenges is essential to respond in a timely manner.
Integral to an early intervention plan to combat burnout is ensuring that you have the right technologies to empower you and your talent teams to overcome silos, simplify processes, and ultimately, empower employees. It’s a delicate balance between tasks that can be automated and those that inherently require human interaction, emotion, and strategic thinking, but digital tools that can evolve and change in real time can provide training and pinpoint where employees are getting stuck or giving up.
SAP SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace can inspire new paths to personal development and professional growth by connecting employees’ interests and developmental goals with side projects, gig assignments, peer connections, volunteer causes, and coaching.
When combined with the Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform, you are better positioned to provide insights to your employees based on their talent and potential, while also driving a skills-based approach for your organization. Deep-learning AI helps provide the insights and experiences employees crave, while giving them personalized recommendations and guidance to grow their careers.
Create space for conversations
Burnout is a serious challenge for organizations to proactively address and ideally prevent. With a little foresight — and help from technology — you are much better situated to identify and address burnout before it takes hold or advances in your employees’ lives. This creates a better work experience for everyone and helps strengthen your organization to weather whatever comes next.
For more information about what Eightfold and SAP SuccessFactors can do for you, contact us.
About Eightfold AI and SAP SuccessFactors: Together, SAP SuccessFactors and Eightfold AI help customers drive more effective, forward-looking talent strategies. By connecting the comprehensive foundation of enterprise and employee data in SAP SuccessFactors with the Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform, organizations can find and recruit the right talent faster, accelerate employee development and growth, promote internal mobility, and drive the organizational agility needed for future business success.