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Addressing the worldwide problem of employee burnout

In this year’s Global Employer Survey, employee burnout emerged as one of the top concerns for global multinational corporations. This creates a unique challenge for employers, as their priorities for the near term, particularly for US-headquartered firms, are focused on talent.

In our report, we explore some of our findings, examine burnout from a multinational employer perspective, look at how employees are feeling about work, and consider some data-driven actions that employers may consider as they look to support their workforce.

Key takeaways

  • Employers are facing a number of particular challenges in building their talent pipeline, and are reporting that levels of burnout and turnover are increasing.
  • Many employees appear to have a complicated relationship with work, with multiple factors contributing to stress in the workplace.
  • Well-being support is desired by many workers, but some companies still feel that this is not something that employers should be responsible for.
  • Focusing on strategies that address employee needs in this area may positively impact efforts in employee engagement and building the talent pipeline.

Hear from our experts

Elizabeth Ryan and Yanick Chainey explore the impact of flexibility strategies on talent outcomes.

Watch time 5:29

What is the impact of employee burnout?

Work burnout, a specific work-related stress, has far-reaching implications for employees and employers globally. Burnout was highlighted as a growing issue by The World Health Organization (WHO) prior to the pandemic, when they reclassified burnout as:

" An ‘occupational phenomenon’ resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed."

The World Health Organization 2019

How might burnout present in your employees?

The impact of burnout

From an employee perspective, prolonged burnout may lead to significant physical and mental health concerns. This may cause workers to take time away from work and seek additional resources for support. 

Depending on their circumstances, this may impact the employee’s financial life due to loss of income and/or additional costs of associated health care and well-being services. 

Implications for employers are also far-reaching, and cut across explicit and implicit financial costs, business outcomes and workplace culture.

Potential impacts on employers


Employee costs

Employees seeking further resources for support may increase the employer costs for health care and employee support programs. It may also lead to higher employee turnover and increased hiring costs.


Workplace culture

Hidden costs of burnout may include time and resources needed to onboard new employees, loss of experience and knowledge of exiting employees, and a negative impact on company culture.


Business outcomes

Employee burnout may impact specific and measurable direct costs to employers such as absenteeism, decreased engagement, and a reduction in productivity, all of which impact deadlines and deliveries.


Investor confidence

For publicly traded companies, increased employee turnover and associated costs, may signal broader cultural issues and potentially impact investor confidence.

Addressing the worldwide problem of employee burnout

Read the full report, containing data on what employers are telling us about burnout, how workers around the world are feeling and what employers can do to support workers.