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April 9, 2024

If 81% of your employees are at risk of burnout, that’s a big risk for you

Fight burnout by offering employees a value proposition that empowers them to thrive.

Susan Morgan Bailey

Burnout has been a problem for years. Can you do anything about it?

The isolation that developed during and after the pandemic caused employees—both at work and remote—to feel less connected to colleagues and the company. That lack of engagement can evolve to active disengagement. According to Gallup, employees who have reached that low now account for 18% of the workforce.

Employees want work environments that will help them thrive. When they feel stuck in a job that doesn’t provide motivation, satisfaction, or the promise of future success, employees risk burning out.

The number of employees at risk for burnout has gone up significantly.

According to a recent Mercer study, 81% of employees feel at risk of burnout. The same study found that 76% of all employees say they believe they’ll feel burned out at some point. 

Of the four generations that make up the workforce, the ones most at risk are Gen Z and Gen Y (millennials) at 89%.  As for the other two, 78% of Gen X feel at risk as do 58% of boomers.

What causes employees to burnout and leave the company?

The American Psychological Association has identified primary stressors that can result in burnout. These include:

  • Overly heavy workloads
  • Higher job demands, or having to do more with work with less support
  • Longer working hours
  • Blurring of work/life boundaries due to technology and remote work
  • Low salaries
  • Lack of advancement opportunities
  • No say in how the job is performed

Approximately 43% of the Mercer study who feared burnout cited financial strain as a contributing factor. Furthermore, 40% cited exhaustion and 37% said they struggled with an excessive workload.

According to the American Institute of Stress, these stressors also cost U.S. businesses $300 billion annually.

However, companies that develop an employee value proposition (EVP) can successfully combat burnout. An EVP is an intentional mix of resources employees feel they need to do more than simply survive.

What can you do about burnout? Start by creating a strong EVP.

A survey conducted by Gartner found that companies with a well-thought-out EVP reduce employee turnover by over 69% and increase new hire commitments by nearly 30%.

The EVP is how you articulate the unique value you offer employees in return for their skills, experience, and commitment to your company. It's also the benefits and rewards offered in return for that commitment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the best EVPs are tailored to the total needs of a specific organization and its workers.

Marsh McLennan Agency has developed a successful EVP approach that focuses on six key factors:
  1. Compensation
    Compensation traditionally refers to one’s salary, bonuses, incentives, etc. However, thinking beyond that, it may also include elements that make up for a less-than-desirable compensation package. Lower-wage jobs may provide schedule stability and predictability. This can help employees coordinate schedules with their partners so they can work without needing childcare they may not be able to afford. Employees who live paycheck to paycheck may receive early pay programs to help them avoid predatory lending. These can also help them not have to live off credit and allow them to build financial stability. Clarifying total compensation demonstrates further investment in employees for what they deliver to the organization. 

  2. Benefits
    These are the non-financial rewards and access to resources that include traditional benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Benefits designed with an EVP recognize that employees and their families have lives outside of work. They offer resources that remove barriers to access or affordability. These include childcare subsidies, tuition reimbursement, transportation access, health care navigation support, free food and onsite food pantries, and access to mental health services. Recognizing that employees value and benefit from time away from work, employers are rethinking paid time off policies to consider the needs of a diverse population with varied interests and needs.

  3. Well-being
    Well-being encompasses employees' physical, emotional, social, and financial health. This includes initiatives and programs promoting self-care and reducing stress while empowering individuals. The various aspects of well-being are strongly interrelated. For example, financial stress has been shown to negatively affect physical and mental health. So, employers can offer emergency loan and savings assistance as well as onsite mental health programs. In addition, the pandemic helped everyone understand the role connection plays in individual health. Organizations are taking steps to help employees build relationships with coworkers. They are seeing powerful results beyond increased employee engagement by incorporating team-building activities, social events, and employee resource groups.

  4. Career opportunities
    Growth and development opportunities are what employees see as essential to a positive work experience. Fostering a growth mindset culture by providing ongoing training is critical at all levels of the organization. Providing feedback, letting employees train on company time, offering leadership support, and giving employees access to reskilling and cross-training opportunities are all important ways they can be constantly learning and evolving. This also fosters inclusion, communication, and connection as team members look for growth and career development. But what happens if you invest in developing talent and they leave? Think of it this way: it’s better to invest in them so they will want to stay with you and use what they’ve learned to give back to the organization rather than become frustrated and leave.

  5. Environment
    These physical and virtual conditions define the work setting, including office space, facilities, and employee amenities. The physical part is the workplace layout and design, comfortable and ergonomic furniture, and natural light and green spaces. A well-designed environment can improve employee well-being, productivity, safety, and satisfaction. The virtual environment refers to digital tools, technologies, and platforms enabling employees to perform effectively. A robust virtual environment can facilitate seamless remote work, enhance collaboration among team members, and promote efficient information sharing. The environment is key to effectively handling workload by providing resources for the job and creating conditions that contribute to a physically and psychologically safe workspace.

  6. Culture
    Culture is the shared beliefs, values, and behaviors that define the organization's identity. These also help shape the employee experience and provide value to an organization. The clearly defined purpose, vision, mission, and values connect everyone in the organization to daily work life. It includes leadership style, communication practices, recognition and rewards, and the organization's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Culture is the celebration of individual as well as shared success. It’s how well and how often people are recognized for their contributions. The combination of unique attributes sets the organization apart and creates a sense of belonging and purpose for its employees. 76% of employees say organizational culture is important for them to be effective in their jobs.

How we can help you avoid the potential effects of employee burnout

Marsh McLennan Agency can help you develop your unique EVP and unlock its full potential in five ways. We can help:

  1. Create a foundation that establishes your employer “brand.”
  2. Improve recruitment.
  3. Reduce turnover.
  4. Save you time and money.
  5. Build stronger employee commitment and pride in the organization.

Contact the Marsh McLennan Agency Culture & Well-Being Practice team today to learn more.