Managers must spot, assess, and address burnout as soon as possible to ensure employee well-being and help their teams work wiser. Thoughtfully applied workforce analytics offers the best solution for modern enterprises.
What’s the definition of burnout? Employee burnout is a syndrome stemming from chronic workplace stress that prevents employees from staying engaged, staying productive, and feeling fulfilled at work. Symptoms of a burned-out employee include emotional exhaustion, reduced professional efficacy, depersonalization, and cynicism towards their position.
Unfortunately, burnout has been incredibly common in recent years. In a Deloitte survey of 1,000 full-time United States professionals, 77% of respondents said they had experienced burnout at their current workplace. In a recent Indeed study, 67% of the US workers interviewed believed job burnout worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the astonishing number of burned-out and disengaged employees, 69% of professionals don’t think their organizations are doing enough to prevent and alleviate burnout. Plus, only 21% of workers in a Flexjob survey said they were able to have open and productive conversations about their burnout. With ActivTrak’s modern, transparent, and data-driven approach to workforce analytics, you can change that! In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of burnout assessment, explore how data can improve on outdated burnout assessment tools, and find out how to use workforce analytics to combat burnout.
The Importance of Burnout Assessment Tools
Since burnout stems from workplace anxiety, organizations are partially responsible for targeting burnout, engaging in burnout research, and improving the mental health and well-being of employees. A burnout assessment helps managers understand the capacity, productivity, and overall wellness of their employees, which can then help determine if an employee is experiencing burnout.
Burnout assessments are important for three key reasons:
- It’s impossible to effectively address what you can’t measure. Burnout assessments offer a concrete and tangible way for organizations to pinpoint symptoms of burnout as a whole.
- Assessments allow for the early identification of burnout through clear warning signs.
- An employee’s score on a burnout assessment can give managers a place to start when it comes to making targeted burnout interventions.
ActivTrak is the burnout assessment tool for the modern enterprise. Our approach is far different from traditional burnout assessment solutions and leverages the power of employee data, but we’ll explore that in more detail later on in this article. For now, let’s go over two popular psychometric burnout assessment tools — the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) test and burnout self-tests or questionnaires.
The MBI assesses the three core dimensions of burnout — cynicism, inefficacy, and emotional exhaustion — based on the frequency with which each individual experiences these feelings, ranging from “never” to “every day.” Then, the MBI generates three separate scores for each category on a spectrum from “more positive” to “more negative.” Negative scores in all three categories are an indicator of burnout. There are five versions of the MBI, the first and most widely used version being the MBI-Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS) for professionals in human services, healthcare, and other related fields. The MBI-General Survey (MBI-GS) is for all occupational groups besides human services, health professionals, and education.
In a self-test or questionnaire, employees evaluate the extent to which they agree with certain statements concerning symptoms of employee burnout and rank them in frequency from “not at all” to “very often.” Common questions include, “I feel drained of physical and emotional energy,” “I feel unappreciated by my co-workers,” or “I am not feeling as much personal accomplishment as I feel I should.” After the questionnaire is complete, a total score is calculated that reveals if the employee’s burnout risk is low, medium, high, or very high.
These aforementioned burnout assessment tools are well-organized, but they’re not a good fit for the modern enterprise. All versions of the MBI are outdated and don’t account for how today’s employees work, especially those who are full-time or in a hybrid work environment. Self-tests and questionnaires are far too subjective and have no data analysis to support their claims. Also, these types of burnout assessments don’t offer work-related ways for employees and managers to address their burnout, such as stress management techniques.
How Workforce Analytics Supports Burnout Assessment Solutions
Thoughtfully applied workforce analytics is the best way to understand and address employee burnout. A data-driven burnout assessment helps team leaders understand the prevalence burnout and uncover its sources, which in turn helps determine what kind of burnout an employee is experiencing. At ActivTrak, we’ve identified six different kinds of burnout: Deadline Burnout, Passion Burnout, Skill Burnout, Alignment Burnout, Personal Burnout, and Culture Burnout.
The ActivTrak approach to burnout research and assessment takes these different kinds of burnout into account and uses burnout data analysis to reveal coaching and training opportunities. The ActivTrak platform captures, classifies, and analyzes employee monitoring statistics and puts them in context with other relevant employee data to surface indicators of burnout.
ActivTrak primarily measures burnout by analyzing the following indicators:
- High utilization, which means employees are working significantly above their productivity goals and aren’t taking enough breaks.
- Low efficiency, which means employees are missing their productivity goals despite high levels of screen time.
- Low focus, which means employees aren’t spending enough time on deep, focused work, without multitasking or distractions.
Based on the unique burnout data of your employees, our software gives team leaders suggestions based on these specific elements. ActivTrak offers managers the support they need to honestly, openly, and productively engage with their employees about burnout through 1×1 meetings, group discussions, and even company-wide policy shifts.
Depending on the burnout indicator, our coaching tools might advise team leaders to offer individuals extra training or days off, encourage taking more breaks throughout the day, or request additional resources to accommodate the workload. Managers can also view charts that display the utilization level of each individual alongside their peers, which helps managers balance the workload equally between employees and prevent burnout all around.
Along with visualizations and recommendations, ActivTrak offers many other burnout assessment and analysis capabilities. Managers can view trends in team work habits to assess when working hours are consistently high or low, view typical start and end times, and identify employees with low levels of employee engagement. These critical insights help you understand why your employees are experiencing burnout — not just if they are — so you can work with your team to highlight opportunities for growth and improvement.
How Workload Management Factors Into the Measurement of Experienced Burnout
Along with specialized burnout assessment capabilities, ActivTrak offers team leaders a set of robust workload management features. Every team member can set goals on ActivTrak, and track progress week over week. Work efficiency reports display an individual employee’s working hours versus their amount of productive focused time. Low efficiency indicates an opportunity to make better use of working hours to reduce screen time and improve work-life balance.
Managers can also compare individual employee productivity and focus time to that of their peers. This allows team leaders to evenly assign tasks and identify overutilized employees who may be at greater risk of burnout.
Our team comparisons also help managers determine if burnout is spreading across an entire team. Team-wide burnout suggests the need to add headcount or assess priorities rather than targeting individual employee work habits. ActivTrak’s detailed workforce analytics provide a data-driven approach to spotting and addressing burned-out workers.
Data Analysis and Burnout Assessment — A Perfect Match
With burnout on the rise, it’s important for organizations to take a proactive approach to addressing it. Unfortunately, common types of burnout assessments, especially self-tests and the Maslach Burnout Inventory test, aren’t compatible with today’s enterprises. They’re too subjective and don’t use the power of employee data to inform their scoring.
With ActivTrak’s data-driven approach to burnout, you can use workforce analytics software to discover areas of support and coaching opportunities for your teams. When you combine our burnout assessment tools with contextual data about employee work habits, you can take the guesswork out of identifying burnout and get actionable insights to address and prevent it.
- Target burnout early and often to help employees stay motivated at work.
- Use workforce analytics and workload management tools to understand what’s causing burnout so you can properly address it with your employees.
Have open and honest conversations about burnout, and talk to your teams about strategies to improve work-life balance and work wiser.