Tag Archives: Burnout


If you suspect your employees are burned out, you’re probably onto something. The 2023-2024 Aflac WorkForces Report revealed almost 60% of U.S. workers across all industries are experiencing some level of burnout. That’s a significant jump from 2021 when the number was 52%. And, it’s coming close to the quicksand trap of burnout we saw during the height of the pandemic in 2020… which, as we all know, led to the Great Resignation. Many industries still haven’t recovered from that unprecedented mass exodus of workers.

Here are a few more fast facts about workplace fatigue from the Aflac report:

Admittedly, those numbers seem pretty grim. It’s especially concerning when it comes to employee engagement and retention, which are problems bedeviling many industries right now, including manufacturing, mining, food and beverage and others.

The result of employee burnout and workplace fatigue looks like a laundry list of a manager’s worst day: lagging production, employees just phoning it in, growing malaise and discontent among workers. It can lead to errors, too – potentially serious ones. It all adds up to bad news for your bottom line.

That’s why it’s important for managers and higher ups to take a look at their company — the people on the shop floor, the workers in the mines, the longtime employees on the assembly line, even the white collars in the office, wherever your employees get the job done — through the lens of employee burnout.

What causes employee burnout and what can you do about it?

Causes of employee burnout

When tackling a challenge, it’s always best to look for the root cause. For employee burnout, we’re talking about:

But, it’s not just those types of pressures that contribute to burnout. There’s also:

What executives can do about workplace burnout

There are many fixes for this challenging situation and some of them can be implemented fairly easily. Here are some ways we’ve found to help our clients deal with workplace burnout and reenergize their employees.

Investigate automation… This doesn’t mean investing millions in AI to transform your shop into a bot-dominated sci-fi thriller. It means taking a look at the kinds of repetitive tasks that might be better done by a machine. Automation reduces the need for manual labor, but it also reduces human error and increases consistency and efficiency. Payment and accounting, order processing, and inventory management are some areas to consider automating.

…and train employees for higher-skilled jobs. Yes, some tasks can be done faster and more efficiently by the bots. But the people who previously held those jobs are still valuable to your company. Upskilling those employees has more benefits than letting them go. Training is a magic bullet to increasing job satisfaction and employee retention. It gives people a clear view into a path forward, a sense that you value their contributions and are committed to their growth. Training also has another magic power – it increases overall, on-the-job efficiency.

Give workers more autonomy and voice. At USC Consulting Group, we are famous for encouraging top-level executives to get more familiar with the people who are on the front lines. We can all but guarantee that spending a few hours with the seasoned employees doing those jobs will give you a new perspective. They know how the job can and should get done, and are a wealth of information about ways to improve it. Listening to their ideas and better yet, implementing them, pays off in countless ways. Not only do you get a more efficient and productive line, your employees feel respected, listened to and valued. Now that’s a win-win.

Strive for operational excellence. Operational excellence is your organization running on all cylinders, eliminating bottlenecks, reducing waste and ramping up productivity. You have the right people in the right jobs and are using data and key metrics to “manage by the numbers.” How does this combat employee burnout? Just think about how great it feels at work when everything goes right. When you and your employees are clicking. When you don’t just meet but exceed expectations. That great feeling is called job satisfaction and it’s a powerful antidote for burnout.

Need help handling employee burnout? At USC Consulting Group, we’re here to help companies become more efficient, effective and profitable through process improvements — including implementing strategies to increase employee satisfaction and retention. Give us a call today to find out more.

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There’s no question that these last few years have been difficult for businesses worldwide. The profound and far-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with its global lockdowns and massive supply chain disruptions, have threatened economies, businesses, and livelihoods all around the world.

And, unfortunately, for those working in the supply chain, the challenges have lingered long after the worst of the pandemic has subsided. Indeed, as the world endeavors to emerge from the shadow of the virus, the pressures put on the supply chain have threatened to engender its complete collapse. That has put the burden squarely on the shoulders of supply chain workers as they struggled to get businesses — and economies — up and running again.

The result has been supply chain teams that are overworked, overburdened, and overwhelmed. Burnout is running rampant in the supply chain workforce, but there are things leaders can do to mitigate its effects and prevent it entirely.

What is Burnout

You have probably heard the term “burnout” casually bandied about all of your life, but you may be a bit uncertain as to what, exactly, it is and why it matters. The fact is that burnout is real; it is ubiquitous, and it is a threat both to your individual workers and to your team as a whole.

Burnout is a physiological as well as a psychological response to prolonged, chronic stress. Very often, the stressors leading to burnout are work-related and so, too, are its most significant, direct, and immediate impacts.

Burnout in the workplace can lead to loss of motivation, frequent absences, increased healthcare costs, poor motivation, and significantly reduced performance, productivity, and efficiency. Indeed, burnout is strongly associated with spikes in turnover rates. This is particularly true at the highest levels of management in the supply chain industry, where attrition at the leadership level threatens only to exacerbate the risk of burnout across the industry due to the punishing pace and untenable schedules workers at all levels and in all stations face.

Boosting Efficiency to Combat Burnout

When it comes to protecting your supply chain team from burnout, one of the first and most important things you can do is strive to alleviate some of the burden of work under which they’re laboring. That may sound easier said than done, of course, but it is possible.

The key, in general, is to deploy the power of data analytics to help bolster efficiency in the supply chain. Data analytics can help you identify and prevent inefficiencies across the entire supply chain, enabling your workers to get more done with less time and effort.

Best of all, data analytics can help to predict and prepare for surges in supply and demand through a combination of customer behavior analysis, market forecasting, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) systems for managing warehouses.

This means that your supply chain team needs never to be caught flat-footed and playing catch-up again. The result is a more manageable workload and a more sustainable work/life balance.

Educating and Empowering Workers

In addition to striving to make the supply chain more efficient and reliable, it’s also vital to ensure that workers are aware of the physical and mental health effects of severe and chronic workplace stress. It’s also imperative that employees be provided with the resources they need to reduce their risk of burnout and to mitigate its impacts when and if it occurs.

Educating employees on what burnout is, how to recognize the warning signs, and how to seek help can help end the spiral before it progresses too far and you risk losing valuable employees to ill health or resignation. It’s also important to provide employees with the tools they need to manage their work-related stress, including access to mental healthcare and frequent, paid time-off (PTO) opportunities. You might also offer other perks that can help employees practice better self-care, such as gym and spa memberships or onsite exercise facilities and quiet rooms to allow employees to periodically decompress in the midst of a chaotic work day.

The Takeaway

Workers in the supply chain industry have faced incredible obstacles in the past few years and, unfortunately, the challenges do not seem to be abating. For this reason, burnout is ubiquitous among supply chain teams, resulting in high turnover and reduced workplace performance. The good news, however, is that there are things that can be done to help reduce the risk of burnout in supply chain workers and to mitigate its impact should it occur. The first and most important step is to unleash the power of data analytics to bolster supply chain efficiency and reliability. It is also critical to educate employees on burnout and to equip them with the resources they need to prevent it.

*This article is written by Ainsley Lawrence. View more of Ainsley’s articles here.

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