One of the largest contributors to job burnout is insufficient reward.
One of the largest contributors to job burnout is insufficient reward. Whether you are talking about tangible or intangible rewards, people must derive one, the other or both from the work they do. Where there is little reward, expect little effort and poor results.
I have been reviewing the 6 mismatches between the job and the individual which can lead to burnout and writing a post on each of them in a series. The third mismatch in this series, insufficient reward, is the subject of today’s post.
Market forces are exerting tremendous pressure on businesses to reduce costs and preserve bottom line profits. This is especially true for large top heavy organizations such as hospitals, large independent provider groups and corporations.
This has created a steady erosion in organizations’ capacity to reward their employees in meaningful ways. People seek tangible rewards from meaningful work such as money, security, benefits, recognition, expertise and advancement. Intrinsic rewards are also important to workers such as feeling satisfied with one’s work, a feeling that a contribution is being made or opportunities to be innovative and creative.
If these are lacking, individuals will begin to question why they are working so hard, even as they are being asked to work harder. This is a very simple equation, no factoring required:
MORE WORK + LESS REWARD = DISSATISFACTION
When employees feel overly controlled they will grow to resent or hate it.
Have you ever been in a situation as a customer with a problem which had an obvious and easy solution but the person helping you couldn’t help you because of a company policy or rule? Maybe both of you knew what had to be done and both of you felt the futile frustration of the inability to act quickly and responsibly.
Perhaps you were the employee who could not take action on the customer’s behalf or apply an obvious solution to a problem at work because of company rules. This is another of the six job-employee mismatches which can lead to burnout at work. A lack of control in one’s work is a front running cause of job related burnout.
In her book, The Truth About Burnout, Dr. Christina Maslach says the following about a lack of control in the workplace:
“People want the opportunity to make choices and decisions, use their ability to think and solve problems, and have some input in the process of achieving the outcome for which they will be held accountable. There is a world of difference between being accountable and being constrained by rigid policies and tight monitoring.”
How and why do some people come to hate their job or work environment so much?
I recently reviewed the six mismatches between the job and the individual employee which can lead to job related burnout. I want to take you on a more in depth look at each of these mismatches, the how and why people come to hate their job or work environment so much. I’ll discuss one of these each week for the next six weeks.
The first of these job-employee mismatches, work overload, seems almost universal nowadays. Everyone seems to be expected to do ever more with less or for less, usually in the face of cost cutting measures undertaken to maintain profit margins.
Downsizing, budget cuts, layoffs, reorganization efforts all usually result in three things – more work intensity, more demands on time, more job complexity. In short, people are required to do ever more with less and less. This can leave individuals exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically.
Six major mismatches between the job and employee are the cause of job related burnout.
The three principle hallmarks of job related burnout – emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of a sense of personal accomplishment are extremely good measures for the presence of burnout. However, they are not the causes of job burnout. They are only the symptoms or result of burnout. Six major mismatches between the job and employee are the cause of burnout.
A major mismatch is created anytime there is sufficient conflict between the nature of the person and the nature of the job the person is being asked to do. Where ever these mismatches occur to a high degree, employees will be found who are either burned out or burning out. This has a tremendous negative impact on organizations and the employees within them.
If you are an employee you don’t want to risk burnout because it is complete misery. Burnout can cause you to hate your job, increase your absenteeism, decrease your performance, make you cynical, completely exhaust you and even depress you.
If you don’t know the symptoms of burnout, you may mistake them for something else.
If you are burned out in your job, in a relationship, or on living, there are warning signs and symptoms everyone should know. If you don’t know the symptoms of burnout, you may mistake them for something else. This can lead to a delay in addressing the underlying issues and needlessly prolong your suffering.
People who are burned out rarely recognize it as such. They may incorrectly ascribe their feelings to being ambivalent, anxious, stressed, depressed, sad or irritable. Although, burnout can lead to all of these mood changes, they are not the underlying cause. They are just symptoms.
Those around someone who is burned out may be left to wonder if the change in their behavior is due to stress, depression, drug use, relationship problems, money problems, or personality/character defects. Again, burnout is not usually suspected as the cause.