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Study: 95% of US workers want a new job due to burnout

They are also concerned about their future career prospects.

Allie Nawrat


Credit: TANYA SOARES via Twenty20.

Unleash Your PeopleWhat can HR do to prevent a mass talent exodus?

Burnout has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Working from home may have many advantages, but it has also made it incredibly difficult for employees to switch off from work in the evenings and weekends; for many, it feels like they are not only working at home but actually living at work.

This is not only negative for employee wellbeing, but it is having an impact on their productivity and performance at work, and, ultimately, burnout is pushing employees to look for a new job.

Research by recruitment site Monster has found that 95% of US employees are considering quitting their jobs – the main reason (33%) was burnout.

In fact, 92% of the 649 workers surveyed said they would consider switching industries in order to find the right job, and two-thirds believe there are enough job opportunities in the US available to them.

These findings are in line with a recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics report that found more and more people are leaving their jobs and looking for new ones.

In June, the number of job leavers increased by 164,000 to 942,000 and the number of people out of work but looking for a job grew by 1.4 million to 6.4 million.

HR leaders must be proactive to tackle burnout

Monster career expert Vicki Salemi told NBC: “Burnout is especially common right now [and is] incredibly impactful on recruitment and retention.”

Therefore, it is clear that HR departments really need to step up to avoid a mass exodus of staff.

Not only do they need to listen to employees about their stress levels, but HR leaders and managers need to be more proactive in noticing the early signs of burnout.

They also, according to Salemi, need to make it absolutely clear that workers can and should take breaks and holiday leave in order to mitigate their burnout.

However, for workers to feel that this is acceptable, “leaders should lead by example and in turn, take personal days themselves and set boundaries to remain logged off,” noted Salemi.

To enable employees to take a step back, some employers have announced company-wide reset days or weeks. Examples include Bumble, LinkedIn, Citibank, and Hootsuite.

This approach means that employees are not tempted to check their inboxes while on leave as they know their whole team is off and they are also not worried about returning to an overflowing inbox.  

Other companies are using HR tech tools to help employees disconnect when they are on annual leave. For example, Dropbox leverages a capability in Workday’s platform called ‘unplugged time off’ where employees can shut down their access to emails and other work notifications while they are on holiday.

Renewed focus on learning and development

According to reporting by Business Insider, Monster’s study found that the second biggest reason why employees are seeking new jobs is due to the lack of growth opportunities in their current role.

Many companies did struggle to continue their focus on learning and development in the pandemic as they were so focused on successfully shifting to remote working.

However, it is clear that upskilling and reskilling is important to employees, so HR teams need to listen and refocus on this or risk losing excellent staff.

On the back of a study that found COVID-19 had caused career setbacks for many, Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald noted:

“Now is the time for managers to invest in upskilling, review performance goals and develop mentoring programs that benefit all employees.”

It is important that all of these learning and development opportunities are equally available to all staff irrespective of their working location in the future of work.

Remember, those working from home should not be overlooked or treated as second-class citizens just because they are not as visible.  

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