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Burnout may be our biggest retention problem

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in Centerpiece,HR Management,Human Resources

BurnoutBurnout is responsible for up to half of all employee attrition, according to a new study.

Ninety-five percent of chief HR officers surveyed by workforce management firm Kronos and executive development consultancy Future Workplace said burnout is sabotaging their workforce retention efforts.

The top three contributors to employee burnout:

  • Compensation that’s too low, cited by 41% of those polled
  • Unreasonable workloads (32%)
  • Too much overtime and after-hours work (32%).

Writing for the Quartz website, study author Dan Schawbel observed, “While companies are posting record profits, Americans are working harder than ever before for a nominal wage increase. The national unemployment rate has been cut in half since 2010 and the economy is projected to grow by almost 50% between 2010 and 2020. Despite this positive outlook, employees are overworked, burned out and dissatisfied.”

Schawbel, the research director at Future Workplace, noted that productivity grew 21.6% between 2000 and 2014, yet wages grew by only 1.8%. “The legacy nine-to-five workday no longer exists either,” he wrote, citing Gallup research that found full-time salaried employees now work an average of 47 hours per week.

Though burnout touches organizations of all sizes, larger organizations seem to suffer more, the survey found. One in five HR leaders at organizations with 100 to 500 employees cited burnout as the cause of 10% or less of their turnover, while 15% of HR leaders at organizations with more than 2,500 workers say burnout causes at least half of turnover.

Despite the well-documented costs of employee turnover, organizations are more likely to invest in recruiting new employees than in retaining existing talent.

The survey found that 97% of HR leaders plan to increase their investment in recruiting technology by the year 2020. In fact, 22% anticipate increasing those expenditures by 30% to 50%.

However, lack of budget was repeatedly cited by HR leaders as a deterrent to programs that would benefit retention; 16% said funding was the primary obstacle to improving employee retention in the next 12 months.

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