A new report reveals a concerning 27% of employees are at high risk of burnout. The Workday Peakon Employee Voice Report: Addressing Organisational Burnout Risk, published by Workday, Inc, reveals some troubling insights.

Without a plan to improve employee health and wellbeing, or assistance from AI and other technologies, organisational burnout risk spreads from managers to employees—a potential domino effect that undermines engagement and productivity at all levels.

Key findings based on an analysis of survey data from 2.6 million employees across more than 850 companies and 12 industries around the world include:

  • 27% of employees are at high risk of burnout.
  • 33% of managers at organisations with high burnout risk fall into the high-risk category themselves, compared to 15% at organisations with low burnout risk. In other words, managers at high-risk organisations are two times as likely to be at risk of burnout.
  • Employees at high-risk organisations, managed by someone with high burnout risk, are 19% more likely to be at risk of burnout themselves.
    • By comparison, employees at “low risk” companies are only 12% more likely to be at risk of burnout when their manager is experiencing poor health and wellbeing.

Daniel Pell, vice president and country manager, UKI, Workday, commented:

Boosting employee health and wellbeing is not only the right thing to do, but it can help reduce costs associated with absenteeism and turnover, make the organisation more productive overall, and build a culture that is more likely to attract and retain top talent for years to come.

Daniel Pell, vice president and country manager, UKI, Workday

Burnout Risk Exists Across All Industries

The specific causes of burnout risk might differ by industry, but they are present in all organisations, across all industries. Government, energy and resources, and media and entertainment have the highest proportion of high-risk organisations across all industries, at 50% or more. While government and media and entertainment have both made improvements since 2022, 17% and 12% reductions respectively, more needs to be done.

Why Burnout Risk Must Be Tackled Now

Insights from the Workday Hiring and Talent Trends report found that for most organisations, voluntary turnover is down, involuntary turnover is up, and external applicants are competing for fewer open positions. As a result, people are staying in their jobs for longer—despite a decline in promotion rates and internal mobility.

This lack of mobility and progression, combined with ongoing external pressures, poses a challenge to overall levels of employee engagement and productivity. Business leaders must prioritise and make employee health and well-being part of their strategic goals if they are to achieve positive engagement outcomes.

In fact, employees with a higher burnout risk have significantly lower scores across a number of key drivers, including overall engagement, belief, satisfaction and loyalty. For overall engagement, as an example, those who are at high risk of burnout gave a score of 6/10 versus those at low risk who gave a score of 9/10. If burnout risk is left unaddressed, this could cause problems for organisations trying to retain their best people—especially at a time when hiring someone else isn’t an option.

Measure Employee Sentiment To Reduce Burnout Risk

Without a way to consistently measure employee sentiment, executives are often unaware of impending burnout risk. This creates a blind spot that leaves organisations unable to address the root cause of burnout risk and low engagement levels.

While employee health and wellbeing has historically been measured in terms of absence rates and uptake of employee assistance programs, this does not provide the whole picture. Business leaders must adopt a data-driven approach to measure employee sentiment to keep burnout risk at bay. AI holds promise too by helping organisations automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks—freeing employees up to focus on more high-value work. AI, paired with employee data, can also enable companies to deliver key people insights, hyper-personalised experiences, and development opportunities that help increase the success of both employees and managers.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.