The negative effects of disengaged employees can have a knock-on effect on an entire organization. Disengaged employees can reportedly cost companies $3,400 per year per $10,000 in salary. This is made worse by the fact that just 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs. To solve a problem like disengagement, we must find the root of the issue. Often, that means dealing with employee burnout. A national study found that more than half of U.S. employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time, some nearing their ‘breaking point’. While we all go through some level of being stressed and busy at work, if this happens for prolonged periods of time, it can quickly sap the energy of employees, leaving them disengaged.While the unrelenting pace of business and technological change has created increasingly high expectations, it doesn’t have to mean more work and higher levels of stress. A heavy or overbearing workload can leave employees disengaged, but it can also cause issues, like:
- A lack of concentration
- A decrease in morale
- A lack of accuracy
- More mistakes
- Employees leaving for another job
If you can properly allocate your resources (i.e. your employees and the materials they need), you can give them the right amount of work, and the work that is right for them. This is the key to dealing with employee burnout—prevent employees becoming over-worked and you will reduce stress and improve engagement.
The trick to dealing with employee burnout
There’s a pattern to employee burnout and disengagement: over-worked employees become increasingly stressed. That stress leads to disengagement. And disengagement leads to a lack of productivity. If the problem can be resolved at the source (i.e. employee workloads) then you can expect the disengagement to decrease as a result.
Americans reportedly work more than anyone else in the industrialized world, taking less vacations, working longer days, and retiring at a later age. Reducing employee working hours isn’t a simple task. The average work week has slowly increased since the Great Depression from thirty-five hours to north of forty (and for some, closer to fifty or sixty).
Of course, businesses cannot simply cut worker hours in half and expect to continue functioning as normal. Instead, they must find ways for workers to be more productive, so tasks and projects are completed faster, allowing people to work for shorter periods of time. The right technology implanted and adopted correctly has the power to help us work less.
Providing employees with a platform to voice their frustrations and allowing them time to step away from the task at hand to rejuvenate can help reduce stress. By granting higher levels of visibility and control over the tasks and hours your employees work, you can reduce employee workloads, improve productivity, and consequently deal with employee burnout.
The answer lies in resource management
Resource management helps project and resource managers allocate their resources to complete a project or portfolio of projects as efficiently as possible. This involves resource capacity, a practice that ensures employees are not over-worked or under-worked (which can have similarly negative effects to engagement).
The capacity of a single resource is that person’s ability to complete tasks in a project plan. So, the capacity of your resources is something you should be able to accurately estimate and quantify (in working hours). This should be simple, but things like vacation, sick days, and other variables can get in the way of accurate capacity planning. Overestimating—or failing to accommodate for these kinds of variables—can lead to employee burnout.
But it’s also about resource allocation, assigning the right work to employees based on their skillset, knowledge, and experience. Offering you improved visibility over your projects, resource allocation in project management can help you get the most out of resources that might otherwise be scarce or stretched. Employees are naturally more inclined to be engaged with work they are good at, and work completed by engaged and capable employees will more likely be completed faster.
Resource management lets you explore and examine your resource capacity and visualize the potential impact of increasing, reducing, or otherwise changing resource allocation. It is a sure-fire way of dealing with employee burnout. You just need a tool that is equally as reliable.
Resource management software like Tempus Resource provides optimal resource capacity planning, using models and simulations to help you plan the best approach to managing your people and projects, and therefore preventing employees from burning out.