Home Mental Health & Well-Being Burnout Is the Biggest Cause of High Employee Turnover, Research Reveals

Burnout Is the Biggest Cause of High Employee Turnover, Research Reveals

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: 3 minutes

People are tired of the archaic working model – they’re actively looking for roles prioritising the well-being and more flexibility, putting their mental health first.

Research from Deloitte has revealed the cost of poor mental health to UK employers has grown to an alarming £56 billion. A significant consequence of the business cost is reduced productivity resulting from employees who are unwell but still come to work, also known as presenteeism.

Westfield Health, a leading provider of well-being services, has come up with another alarming statistic.

59% of the surveyed employees revealed that mental health is a key driver behind their quest for a new role, according to recent research by Westfield Health. It seems that achieving a work/life balance for employees, effectively driven by a healthy, happy workplace, has never been more important for businesses.

Burnout has become much more than a mere buzzword at this point. It is impacting the UK’s businesses on an unprecedented level. Especially financially, absence due to poor mental health costs employers twice as much as that which relates to physical health.

What is burnout, and how can you recognise the signs and symptoms?

People who increasingly find their work and the workplace difficult to manage may be at a higher risk of burnout. It can leave them feeling empty, worn out, and unable to handle the weight of their life’s obligations. While burnout is not deemed a psychological disorder, it should still be taken seriously.

3 ways to recognise employee burnout

Cynical disposition

No one loves their job 100% of the time, and some cynicism is natural. However, suppose someone is displaying an increased negative outlook regarding the work itself and towards their colleagues. This could be a sign of burnout, especially if their normal disposition is usually upbeat. It could be that they’re displaying signs of more irritability than usual or are unable to accept feedback.

Performance and productivity

Employees suffering from burnout may have been less engaged with their work than normal. They may feel as though they can’t get anything right and show signs of frustration. Many people feel unable to manage their frustration and stress levels at work, leading to decreased productivity and, in turn, poorer quality of work.


When an employee is experiencing burnout, it can be very difficult for them to feel like they are part of a team, especially if their workload is unmanageable.

Isolation may set in, and they may feel they cannot participate in company activities because that will impact their work, leaving them experiencing more stress and anxiety. The longer this is the case, the more detached from the business they will feel.

Knowing which work-related pressures trigger burnout and what to avoid as a manager can be helpful.

Some of the key causes of burnout

  • Lack of managerial and team support.
  • Uncertain or excessive expectations.
  • A toxic environment.
  • Feeling unvalued.
  • Pressure to be online/available constantly.
  • Micromanagement

What can employers do to help?

Some simple yet effective measures can help employers save themselves from impending doom.

The first thing you should do is be aware and acknowledge that your employee is struggling. Start the conversation – they may feel too stressed or anxious to ask for help, so it’s up to you to look out for the signs and offer help and support.

Be empathetic, as feeling understood at work is crucial in their recovery. Don’t vilify them for not being able to cope; instead, listen to what they need and recognise the areas where you can help immediately alleviate some of the pressure.

Here are some of the practical ways you can help

  • Check-in with them, but not in a ‘monitoring’ sense, as that will only add to their stress. Drop them a line to see how they are and if they can manage their workload daily.
  • If your company has mental health support services, ensure they know how to
    access them and that they are available to help.
  • Encourage them to take some time off to relax and reset. Be flexible with their working hours to allow for their current needs.
  • Delegate their workload across the team to take some of the pressure off. Avoid overwhelming them with projects you know will be highly stressful.
  • Be human. Yes, it’s work but remembers, we can all experience burnout at any level. They need to feel like a person, not a number.

Preventing burnout

Naturally, avoiding the causes and circumstances that could lead to burnout is the greatest way to safeguard employees’ mental health. Although doing so might necessitate a total change in your business’ culture, fostering a nurturing and supportive workplace for your team is vital; testing your people is paramount to your company’s success and profitability.

Research shows that, on average, every £1 you invest in employee well-being sees a £5.30 return. A team who feels valued and supported with a work-life and well-being balance is happier and, in return, will be far less likely to leave.

So if you’ve noticed burnout among your colleagues, maybe it’s time for a culture shift.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd