Main cause of burnout is a toxic workplace culture

The main cause of employee burnout is a poor workplace culture and not the type or amount of work undertaken, as a toxic workplace culture increases moderate to severe burnout by 157 per cent.

This is according to O.C.Tanner’s report 2020 Global Culture Report. O.C.Tanner is a provider of software and HR tech. More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of UK workers experience some level of burnout, with 48 per cent showing signs of moderate to severe burnout.

The UK comes in second after Japan which has 50 per cent of its workforce suffering from moderate to severe burnout.

Employees who often experience burnout are 63 per cent more likely to take a sick day and are 13 per cent less confident in their performance. It also found a lack of learning opportunities can stifle engagement and increase odds of burnout by 16 per cent. As well as, decreased trust in leaders can increase burnout by 29 per cent.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have recognised burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis.

Robert Ordever, managing director at O.C. Tanner Europe, said:

Burnout is a real and present threat to businesses worldwide, and is chronically affecting the UK workforce with nearly half of UK workers showing signs of moderate to severe burnout. With burnout proving detrimental to employee health, engagement and performance as well as staff turnover, organisations must put their culture under the microscope if they want to influence change.

Toxic cultures are making people sick. When companies treat their people as merely workers, rather than individuals, often expecting them to more with less and with little recognition or reward, burnout becomes inevitable.

It’s vital that company leaders recognise how their organisational culture could be precipitating burnout and then take steps to create a less stressful working environment. This must include connecting employees to their organisations, championing a culture of appreciation and ensuring employees are clear about their goals and performance. Even simple changes can make a huge difference, helping to turn the tide before the situation becomes critical.

The total sample size for this report was 20,031 working adults at companies with over 500 employees.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.