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Prevent and reduce burnout to drive employee retention

September 9, 2019 By Patricia Grabarek

As a society, we are paying more attention to employee well-being and preventing burnout. Employees that are satisfied at work and feel like they fit well into an organization’s culture have a huge impact on overall business success. Recently, The World Health Organization (WHO) updated their definition of burnout in line with this trend. While burnout was included in previous versions, the new definition is much more specific. WHO classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon. It is a factor that influences people’s health and use of health services. Burnout is caused by chronic workplace stress that is made up of three dimensions:

  • feelings of exhaustion,
  • cynicism or feeling disconnected from the job, and
  • feeling less effective at work.

While this burnout definition has existed in psychological research literature for decades, WHO’s announcement encourages a renewed focus on reducing burnout in employees. Burnout not only hurts an employee’s wellness but hinders productivity and performance in the workplace to the detriment of the business. Thus, it’s in an organization’s best interest to minimize the risk of burnout in their employees. Luckily, there is technology that can be leveraged and steps that can be taken today to help alleviate this risk.

Fit matters to prevent burnout

Have you ever felt burned out at work because you didn’t match your company’s values, didn’t fit into the culture, or the job just didn’t feel right? You’re not alone. According to a study by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, in collaboration with Faas Foundation, even the most engaged employees are at risk for burnout, and employee burnout stems from not being the right fit for a role. Unfortunately, poor fit can be one of the biggest stressors in the workplace. Employees that are a good fit are more satisfied with their jobs, more committed, and more likely to stay. Luckily, there is technology available that helps organizations identify the ‘right fit’ for the role from the moment candidates submit their applications.

Using a pre-employment assessment can help recruiters and hiring managers focus on candidates that are strong behavioral fits to a role. Leveraging role-specific predictive models not only reduces the time to hire, but also helps organizations consistently hire the right people. Hiring candidates with the best fit leads to lower turnover and better performance, ultimately preventing burnout.

Interactive career pathing reduces burnout

Ensuring proper fit does not end when an employee walks through the door. Assessments provide behavioral and performance data that organizations can use to coach and develop employees into career paths where they are most likely to be successful. If companies continue to focus on fit throughout the employee life cycle, the benefits of reduced burnout and turnover and increased performance are likely to continue.

Individuals play a key role in reducing their burnout

Individuals must put in the work to ensure fit in their jobs and the organizations they work for. Before applying to jobs, individuals should consider what they are looking for in their ideal workplace – what are their needs and values. Then, during the selection process, individuals need to spend time understanding the organization and how well it matches their needs. If an organization has a pre-employment assessment in place, the results can help an individual understand their potential and the types of positions that match best with their behavioral characteristics. Technology can help individuals understand where they will be a good fit and will guide them to a job where they feel engaged, motivated, and not burned out.


Having modern technology in place to evaluate fit can streamline the hiring process for both parties. A smooth process ensures that recruiters and hiring managers do not skip the crucial step of hiring the right employees. Everyone benefits when there’s a good fit. We have all heard of the happy, productive employee. Finding them from the start is an effective business strategy both for performance and for well-being.

It’s exciting to see a societal focus on burnout and reducing chronic stress in employees. Luckily, there is modern technology available today to help organizations minimize the risk of burnout in their employees. Focusing on hiring employees that are the right fit and supporting fit-based employee development are great first steps to make an impact on employee burnout while also impacting retention and performance.

Click here to learn more about pre-employment assessments that help prevent burnout.

Patricia Grabarek, PhD is Senior Behavioral Scientist for Infor Talent Science

Filed Under
  • HCM
  • Technology
  • Trends
  • Talent Science
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