You’ve surely experienced it before—a lack of motivation at work and difficulty concentrating on tasks; feeling uninspired as if your career is at a standstill while everyone else is just getting into gear. In most cases, it only lasts for a few days or maybe a week, but, at its worst, you may experience it for extended periods. Job burnout is a pervasive issue that is only getting worse with the omnipresent nature of our work in the 21st century.
The concept of burnout was coined in the 70s by social scientists who noticed that work demands often manifest in physical, emotional, and even cognitive ways. It describes “a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one’s professional life,” which occurs as extinguished motivation through less-than-ideal results in a workplace context. Individual and situational factors interact to produce burnout in employees, meaning it can manifest in many different ways. Negative health-related outcomes, including increased mood disorders, higher substance use, and increased likelihood of physical issues, are all proven consequences of burnout.
Employee engagement has emerged as the opposite state to job burnout. As described by management expert William Kahn, engaged workers identify positively with their work role and are motivated to put in a high level of effort. One of the biggest differences between the two states is that employees with high engagement view their tasks as challenges to overcome, as opposed to burdensome demands. Other experts have outlined how engagement provides employees with high levels of energy, involvement, and productivity.
It’s clear that high employee engagement is an incredibly desirable state for a workplace to have, but how exactly does engagement impact business on a day-to-day level?
Importance of High Employee Engagement
The numerous benefits of high engagement for both individual employees and their organizations are well-documented. From increased output to added peer support, there are numerous ways that high employee engagement improves performance. These include:
- Experiencing more positive emotions
- Enhanced creativity and lateral thinking
- Increased citizenship behaviors
- Faster time to task completion
- Improved satisfaction for employees and customers
To hammer the monetary value of a motivated workforce, the World Economic Forum has recently released estimates that the global impact of job burnout sits well over $300 billion dollars. The American Psychiatric Association also estimated the healthcare price tag associated with burnout, with expenditure clocking in at just under $200 billion dollars.
If your staff is constantly having to take time off to recover from the overly demanding nature of their role, it’s unrealistic to expect that they will stick around for the long haul. Other industry forces are already producing a marketplace where employees switch between employers at a higher rate. If burnout is a common issue within your organization, don’t be surprised if you have increased expenditures due to turnover and labor search.
On the other hand, if you properly implement programs and resources to reduce the impact of workplace demands, studies find that you can effectively reduce the impact that burnout has on retention rates.
Increase Employee Engagement through Mentorship
While plenty of data shows the significant impact that job burnout and employee engagement can have on business outcomes, finding the right solution represents more of a challenge. Your management and executive teams can develop innovative ways of improving the culture of your workplace, which is known to have an impact on retention, but there’s less that can be done about the individual roles each employee carries out.
Due to the demands of the role, some industries, like healthcare, law, business development, and sales, simply have a harder time with employee retention. Often, it takes more than 2-week paid vacation and an end-of-year bonus to convince workers in these industries to stay. This is where mentorship programs represent a meaningful solution.
The dynamic nature of a mentoring relationship means your employees can receive a customized experience that involves skill development, career guidance, and even emotional support. Industry-specific mentors will likely have gone through spells of unengaged work and high burnout, giving them crucial insight into the ways in which your staff can combat these issues. They also represent an effective outlet into which employees can voice frustrations, fears, and concerns.
Once the major concerns of job demands have been managed, an experienced mentor will also help keep your employees engaged on an individual, team, and company-wide level. Here are some of the ways in which mentorship will improve engagement within your business.
- Skill Development and Enhanced Learning — While most jobs allow employees to learn new skills, mentorship fast tracks this process while also providing enhanced one-to-one learning.
- Improves Communication Skills — The relationship between mentor and mentee allows for the development of verbal communication skills in a safe environment.
- Exposure to New Challenges —Throwing your staff into the deep end may work sometimes, but it's a risky strategy. Direct oversight from a mentor allows for challenges to be met with additional support, building confidence and comfort in the face of adversity.
- Relationship Maintenance — One of the major problems in business today is the tendency for friction in workplace relationships. Mentors with experience in managerial and executive positions can pass their maintenance skills on to growing professionals, helping improve team cohesion.
A quality mentorship program provides these benefits to young professionals and can help your employees become more engaged with their workplace. In addition to reducing the costly burden of burnout, engaged employees will create a better company environment for both your staff and clients.
Employee engagement is an essential component of a healthy work environment, and MentorCloud’s comprehensive mentorship platform can help you achieve that reality. Contact us today to request a demo or to learn more about our service that has connected hundreds of thousands of mentees with experienced professionals.