More work. More hours. More stress.

When an organization or a manager continues to demand more and more from employees, those demands can often have effects opposite of the intention. Even if an employee manages to meet the ever-increasing expectations, chances are the extreme level of output is not sustainable.

When employees reach the point of being overworked—also known as burnout—they can become less effective in their jobs, says Melissa Pardales, a Licensed Masters Social Worker and Manager of Account Services at Ulliance. Overburdened employees are also more likely to make sloppy mistakes on the job, talk negatively to their coworkers and call in sick.

Worse still, job burnout can cost organizations their best people, which can lead to decreased productivity and the increased costs associated with turnover.

You, as an HR professional, are the first line of defense for employee burnout. It is essential that you are able to spot the warning signs of an overworked employee.


Look for:

  • Increased cynicism
  • Decreased desire to go to work
  • Increased irritability or impatience with co-workers, customers or clients
  • Inconsistent productivity as a result of lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of satisfaction from achievements
  • Disillusionment with the job
  • Unhealthy coping strategies, such as using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel
  • Missing more work, especially an increase of calling in sick
  • Physical issues, such as unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other complaints

While an employee who displays one or two of these behaviors may not be overburdened, it is still important to be aware of any changes in their behavior. Pardales suggests HR professionals address issues as they arise, rather than waiting until things get worse.  

“Supervisors should meet regularly with employees for support and direction,” Pardales says. “They can also help combat burnout by providing training or coaching, adjusting schedules and task loads and giving employees the opportunity to take time off.”

Employee burnout is a real issue, one that can cost your organization money, time and good employees.

Check out our upcoming Smart Manager Webinar schedule for Q3 2019!

Q3 Smart Manager Schedule


Many businesses turn to Ulliance experts every year to help create positive work environments through Wellness, Employee Assistance and other programs. How can we help you? Visit, or call 866-648-8326.