From the great resignation to quiet quitting, it seems that more and more employees around the world are throwing in the towel. Whether it’s from burnout, boredom, or not enough financial compensation for the time they spend at work, more people than seemingly ever before are reporting low engagement with their jobs.
High employee engagement is vital for productivity, with companies that report an above-average level of engagement coming in with 22% higher productivity across all departments. Yet, as more and more are expected of workers without further financial compensation, many are doing the bare minimum at work just to get by.
Over the past year, 77% of workers have reported feeling burnt out at work, with this only looking worse over the next few months. But, what exactly is going on in the world of work that’s caused such widespread dissatisfaction?
In this article, we’ll explore employee engagement, documenting its decline, marking the main signs of burnout, and touching upon how you can increase job satisfaction at work. Let’s get right into it.
Why Is Employee Engagement Decreasing?
Across the world, inflation is reaching peak figures, with the USA currently reporting an inflation rate of 8.6%. Employees that have been working for the past year without any form of raise to compensate for inflation are now doing exactly the same job for 8.5% less purchasing power. With the cost of goods and services on the rise, this leads to resentment, with employees deserving more for their work.
This isn’t to mention the vast difference between CEO pay increases and minimum wage increases over the last 50 or so years. The pay increase of an average worker grew by 18% between 1978 and 2020. When you compare this to the CEO pay increase, which clocked in at 1,322%, you can instantly see that those earning the most have enormously benefited, while the vast majority have been left behind.
Alongside the unfair financial structures in place, employees are also expected to be available almost around the clock. While a job is often advertised as 9-5, this is now rarely the case, with workers having to be on call or available after hours to keep up with deadlines. Especially considering the ease of connecting into work emails and instant messaging via a mobile phone, it’s almost impossible for modern employees to totally disconnect from work.
With all of this considered, it’s unsurprising that employee engagement is decreasing. People are expected to work more for less money all while having fewer prospects than those they’re working for. The average American corporate worker has a tough deal, with many rebelling against this by mentally clocking out from work.
What Are the Signs Of Employee Burnout?
● Decreased Output – While everyone goes through peaks and troughs of how much work they can produce in any given week, a noticeable drop-off could be a sign that an employee is starting to feel burnt out at work.
● Disengagement – A classic sign is a lack of enthusiasm or interest in the workplace, ongoing projects, or new developments in your field.
● Emotional or physical exhaustion – Often, the first signs that show up are physical, mental, and emotional tiredness. As employees pull late nights to finish more work, they’ll slowly become more and more tired, leading to physical and emotional burnout.
● Isolation – If employees rarely communicate with the team, they might have already reached the end of their cord in terms of how much energy they are putting into their work.
● Sensitivity To Feedback – If an employee is feeling an immense amount of pressure at work, then feedback can often feel like a direct attack on them. Increased sensitivity to feedback could be an indication that the employee is currently struggling.
If you begin to spot these characteristics within members of your team, then you should assess how much work they’re currently taking on. Although there is no instant fix to burnout, reducing the workload of that person can often help alleviate a lot of their problems and give them more time to focus on recovering their spark.
What Can Employers Do About Employee Dissatisfaction at Work?
Alongside lowering the number of tasks that you’re setting for employees, there are a range of ways that you can actively combat dissatisfaction at work and reduce the likelihood of burnout.
There are three common tactics that you should attempt to incorporate into your business structure:
● Communication – In your business, you should have an all-in-one HR platform that allows you to communicate and track your employees. Having this centralized location where employees can discuss their workload, their current mood, and how they’re coping with work can be a wonderful way of helping them to offload pressure. Whenever an employee is starting to struggle, a supportive HR team can help them get to the root of their issue, either delegating the work to more people or restructuring the task. Communication is the absolute best tool to help with dissatisfaction, and one that can preemptively put a stop to workplace burnout.
● New Tools – As the workplace becomes even more advanced and driven by technology, looking into B2B or SaaS solutions that benefit your business can be a fantastic way of lessening the load you place on your employees. Are there any tools that could automate a time-consuming part of their job? Talk to your team and see where they could use some extra technical support.
● Compensation – When push comes to shove, a bonus or raise is one of the most effective ways of improving the mood of any employee. This could be the extra push they need to reignite their passion for the role.
Using one or a combination of these three tactics will help to increase workplace satisfaction and keep your employees engaged while at work.
With the current economic crisis facing the majority of countries around the world, this era of workplace burnout is, unfortunately, only just beginning. But, as economic hardships increase, HR teams and managers can work to make their workplace as positive as possible.
To best support your team, focus on creating a workplace that facilitates easy communication. The ability to speak about feeling burnt out without shame or repercussions is vital when constructing a healthy work environment. Alongside this, focusing on incorporating HR structures that help employees at work can go a long way.
If all else fails, seriously consider the financial side of your business – as inflation continues to get worse, a blanket raise is a phenomenal way of keeping the peace.