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How Manager Burnout Can Affect Retention

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In August 2021, Amid “The Great Resignation,” our partner, The Predictive Index® conducted a survey to ask nearly 2,000 employees across 15+ industries share what’s causing them to quit, a major clue being manager burnout.

Respondents were asked if they believe their manager seems burned out—and 36% agreed. It’s also known that managers are having difficulties staying afloat – in the 2021 State of Talent Optimization Report, 32% of respondents said managers are experiencing the highest level of burnout. Left unaddressed, this burnout won’t just impede manager effectiveness—it’ll cause employees to quit. More than half of teams that responded to having a manager that is burned out are considering quitting. Of those whose managers aren’t burned out, a small fraction are looking for greener pastures.

Manager burnout impacts their teams alike.

While it may be tempting to ignore burnout, burnout affects more than just the individual, especially in the case of a leader/manager. While 36% of respondents said they feel their manager is burned out, that percentage only increased when it came to personal fatigue and co-worker fatigue. According to respondents, 40% said they feel burned out, and 45% said their team members seem burned out. Team members are equally susceptible to their team leader’s and manager’s burnout, making burnout essentially, contagious.

For many employees, particularly those who adopted a new work model suddenly or unwillingly, workplace change can be daunting. Yet in our study, 69% of respondents said they believe their company is making an effort to help them adjust to this new normal. Finding a way to retain team members can be a challenge during burnout, but it is possible.

One solution to reduce manager burnout is to create a culture of sustainability.

Respondents were also asked what their managers do to address a lack of team morale. Among those with good managers, the most popular answer was “Lead by example” (40%). As for those with bad managers, only 12% said the same, while 47% simply said, “Not much.” When monitoring for burnout, it isn’t enough to prioritize your employees’ health. As a people manager, you set the example. Gestures as simple as taking time off or logging off at 5:00 can create a ripple effect throughout your team—and create a culture of sustainability, and may reduce manager burnout in the long term.

Reduce burnout by being sustainable

Embracing a hybrid culture as part as a new normal, may improve engagement between managers and teams.

When COVID first hit, many organizations questioned whether they could adapt to a stay-at-home work model. Yet, more than a year later, remote work has become second nature to countless workplaces. Now, as leadership teams give the all-clear to return to the office, they’re finding the old way of work won’t work for many. The concept of “hybrid work”—splitting time between home and office—has dominated headlines, begging the question: Can employees really have the best of both worlds?

The answer, ultimately, comes down to your industry, your organization, and your people. Taking time off, creating a culture of sustainability and embracing hybrid culture may be way of showing your team you care, reducing burnout – increasing retention.

 

Sources: 2021 People Management Report
Final State of Talent Optimization

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