Protecting over-engaged employees from burnout!

There has been much discussion and emphasis on the topic of employee engagement recently, but have the impacts been thoroughly analysed?  If engagement simply focuses on the work and activity output of employees, then this could have a negative impact on the employees’ well-being.  ‘Over-engagement’, working harder and longer hours and putting more into working life than necessary, could result in negative impacts on employee health, as well as on the efficiency of the organisation!

As a recent article on HRZone discusses, working all hours possible may lead to excellent performance short term, but after time, this can result in work encroaching on your personal life and development of health issues such as ‘exhaustion, loss of perspective and possibly even burnout.’  The importance of engagement in the workplace does need to be addressed, but with this, so does health and well-being.  “The problem is that our working lives are generally a marathon, not a sprint!writes HRZone, so a long-term plan which is achievable and promotes a healthy workforce is important.  As a manager, it is your role to guide your employees to boost their engagement, but also ensure a healthy approach and work-life balance.

Engage for Success recognise the need for the perfect formula of employee engagement and well-being, and produced a report which looks at the links between these two factors – and their impact on performance.  The report features a model which highlights the combinations between high and low engagement and well-being levels.  The diagram below details the four different categories:

  • High engagement, low well-being = high productivity in the short-term, but due to low well-being, could lead to burnout
  • High engagement, high well-being = the optimal category, with the happiest, healthiest employees and sustainable productivity over time
  • Low engagement, low well-being = disengaged employees and low productivity, with an unhealthy perspective
  • Low engagement, high well-being = employees content with where they are and unlikely to progress and show commitment to organisational goals

Employee Engagements Vs Wellbeing

It is clear that employee well-being needs to be given as much attention as engagement to ensure the recipe for sustained success.  As a manager, making sure you are aware of how many hours your employees are putting into work and their well-being levels is very important.  Spotting the early signs will help prevent burnout, which not only affects the employee and your team, but also the organisation as a whole!  Promoting a healthy workplace and providing top tips for wellness at work will help too.  Take a look at our Handy Guide to Staying Healthy at Work here.

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