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Defining Employee Burnout and The Warning Signs

The term “burnout” is something that many of us have heard of - especially in recent years. Burnout is known as a form of stress that is usually work-related. It is when one feels exhausted physically and emotionally after being overworked. Often, however, burnout also includes a sense of no accomplishment or identity.

Organizations with vulnerable employees can see a decrease in productivity and a rise in absenteeism and job loss. Employees may be experiencing burnout seem to: 1) Lack motivation,

2) Be less productive,

3) Have difficulty concentrating,

4) Be more stressed,

5) Have poor decision-making skills.

There are several factors at work which could potentially lead to employee burnout aside from a heavy workload. Other times, employees who are vulnerable to experiencing burnout are also those who: 1. Work in an environment that’s not psychologically-safe: Workers are more prone to burnout when they don’t feel supported or heard by their organization or leaders, or are working in an environment that breeds favoritism, judgment, bias, or unfair treatment.

2. Cannot identify their role in the company: Employees expect to be assigned a specific role that is aligned to their job description. When there is a lack of proper role definition, employees’ work rate, levels of productivity, and morale are decreased. This will eventually lead to burnout.

3. Pressure of time: When workers are given too many tasks and are expected to complete all of them within a specific deadline, the pressure to do so builds up. Equally, workers who are expected to work overtime several days in a week can also result in burnout.

4. Lack of opportunities for career development: In order to develop their careers and feel a sense of purpose, employees must be challenged at work and need a clear path for growth during their time in the company. Without this, employees may experience burnout and, ultimately leave the company.

While there may be many other factors linked to employee burnout, often the root of the problem is found in the way an organization manages their workers. If a company sees a rise in the warning signs of burnout, or burnout itself, among employees, then it is high time that they look into their management tactics in order to identify the problem and find a solution to help their workers avoid and overcome this problem.


- Mayo Clinic. (2021). Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Retrieved from:

- Nectar HR. (n.d.). Employee Burnout: Causes, Symptoms and How to Prevent It. Retrieved from:

- Rabha, M. (2022). Employee Burnout: Understanding and Tackling It. Vantage Circle Blog. Retrieved from: