Five Industries Struggling with Employee Burnout

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Employee churn rate seemed to be somewhat normal before the COVID-19 pandemic. People plugged along at their jobs. However, when the virus hit, people began to look at their priorities in new ways. Many chose to walk away from high-stress or low-paying jobs, ushering in what’s been dubbed “The Great Resignation.”

Some industries were harder hit than others. Service industries, where people had to work directly with the public, were particularly hard hit. Even today, many positions remain unfilled, causing worker shortages and adding to the stress of already high-intensity positions.

Which Industry Has the Most Burnout?

All types of companies are still having difficulties adjusting to the labor market post-pandemic. Workers won’t settle for low pay and poor working conditions any longer, and the talent pool is shallow. In a recent survey, researchers at McKinsey & Company found around 40% of employees are seriously considering leaving their current positions.

Although nearly every industry has some churn, the ones that seem to be struggling the most include:

1. Food Service

Imagine working as a server at a local restaurant. Perhaps you do okay with tips, but your hourly wage is around $2.00 an hour or so. On nights when it isn’t very busy, you make very little money. Then, a pandemic strikes and not only do customers stop coming in but you’re constantly exposed to a potential virus and the concerns over taking it home to your loved ones.

Today, people have returned to dining out but the work conditions haven’t changed much. To add to worker frustration, some places are short-staffed, making the hours longer and the worker harder than it once was.

Restaurants in many locations struggle to keep enough workers to run efficiently. Workers refuse to accept low wages, lack of benefits and poor work conditions.

2. Manufacturing

Working conditions in some factories are not pleasant. Manufacturing facilities can be noisy places and without safeguards in place may be unsafe as well. Not to mention that the work is repetitive and just plain boring.

Employers must find ways to keep manufacturing workers engaged in the process if they want to prevent churn. If you can increase engagement, your workers will produce more. Polls show focusing on engagement reduces absenteeism 41% and increases productivity 17%.

3. Hospitality

It makes sense that the ripple effect of the pandemic would hit the hospitality industry. Those who work in hotels were pretty hard hit. Many people were laid off as travel came to a standstill. Others had to deal with stranded travelers, flight delays and tons of stress.

Many workers felt the industry was no longer as stable as it once was and began looking for non-traditional positions. Some opened their own businesses, while others entered the gig economy and stayed there.

Those working the front desk and management get the brunt of people’s aggravation. Tired, hungry and angry customers aren’t fun to deal with and the industry isn’t known for high pay to start with.

One way hotels and venues can encourage employees to stay is by offering them ample time off and big perks. Give them free nights to use for themselves and family and friends.

4. Health and Patient Care

Another area seeing burnout is in health and patient care. During the pandemic, some nurses and doctors treated the worst cases imaginable. They watched people suffer and die alone, as family members weren’t allowed in for fear of them being infected.

Although pay is usually acceptable in the industry, as inflation rises, some workers may seek out ways to work for themselves or work fewer hours for the same pay. One way companies in health care can hold onto staff is by allowing them to work remotely at least part of the time, such as by doing video telemed calls so many days a week.

Experts predict around 25% of all positions will be remote by the end of the year. While that isn’t feasible for every type of work, most jobs have some components workers can do from home. Consider remote-hybrid opportunities as a perk for your employees.

5. Education

Education is another industry that took a significant hit from the pandemic. Many school districts implemented policies teachers disagreed with, such as either forcing students to wear masks or not requiring masks, depending on your stance.

In addition, as outbreaks continue, many schools are forced to an e-learning model that is very difficult for many students and teachers.

The hours teachers put in already far surpass what other professionals with a similar level of education must endure. Add to the mix low pay, difficulty teaching students, lack of understanding from administration and frustrated parents. You can see why many have left the profession.

A recent Gallup poll showed teachers may be the most burned out of any position in the workforce. Zoom lessons add to the already massive workload and students are falling behind, which is demoralizing for teachers who care about their students’ education.

Schools can help by offering training and resources to make online teaching easier, as it doesn’t seem to be going completely away anytime soon.

What Can You Do to Help Employees Thrive?

If you worry your workers are feeling overwhelmed, look for ways to help. Offer an extra paid mental health day where they can rest and relax. Ask what would make their jobs more enjoyable or easier. Try to automate repetitive tasks so their time is freed up.

Since workers are demanding better working conditions, look for ways to improve the environment, working hours, offer remote opportunities and improve wages and benefits. Companies can only afford to pay the wage they can, but some take advantage of their staff by not offering regular raises. If you aren’t at least keeping up with inflation, you are very likely to lose people to a competitor.

If you want to reduce your churn rate, talk to your workers about what they need to stay with you. Find solutions before they find the problems. With a bit of creative thinking, you’ll create an environment where workers never want to leave.