The Ripple Effects of Job Burnout: Combatting Burnout in the MICE Industry
Deloitte has even found that 77% of employees have faced the condition in their current workplace. With research exposing event planning to be the third-most stressful job in the world, the need to get clued up on how to combat burnout is incredibly important within the MICE industry in particular.
In this article, we explore what job burnout is, what causes it, its symptoms and how it can be prevented for those in event management.
In this article:
What is Job Burnout?
Job burnout is a term that refers to a very specific form of work-related stress. The World Health Organisation (WHO), defines the condition as a “state of vital exhaustion”.
Going beyond feeling tired at work, those suffering from burnout often feel completely and utterly emotionally and/or physically drained. The condition often arises from being under a high degree of pressure for an extended period of time. Carrying this emotional weight takes its toll, leaving many feeling drained, overworked and under-appreciated.
Many people initially mistake job burnout for stress. However, there is a precise distinction between the two.
Stressed employees might feel overwhelmed at times, but not utterly hopeless. Many feel like they will have to get things under control by working a bit harder or practising better time management, and this period of stress will pass once a task has been completed or a deadline has been met.
Those suffering from burnout are likely to feel more hopeless and be unable to see a way of keeping on top of things or the situation improving. Even when stress or pressure decreases, they will still feel exhausted and unable to carry on with their job as normal.
Job Burnout Symptoms
In order to understand how to prevent burnout at work, it’s important to know the symptoms of the condition. Common signs of job burnout include:
- Constantly feeling tired, trapped, overwhelmed and drained
- A change in sleeping patterns
- A cynical outlook
- Frequent Illness
- Loss of motivation
What are the Causes of Job Burnout?
Employees can begin experiencing burnout for a number of reasons. Whilst the condition is most common in environments that are stressful and where work is high-stakes, personal circumstances, poor management and a lack of recognition can also contribute to feeling burnout at work.
Here are some of the most common causes of job burnout.
One of the most common causes of job burnout is high workloads. Overloading employees with tasks forces them into a more stressful position that forces them to work harder, faster and for longer hours to get everything completed.
Demanding workloads are not uncommon in the events industry, especially in the lead-up to deadlines. During this period, going the extra mile and adhering to extra demands from clients and customers can be interpreted as ‘just part of the job’.
Being in such a demanding position and having to work at an unsustainable pace can drive workers to physical and mental exhaustion which, in turn, causes them to suffer from burnout. In addition to having to work at a more intense rate, having an endless to-do list tends to result in having to multitask. Research shows that this only further exacerbates the symptoms of burnout.
Unreasonable Time Pressure
Giving employees a workload that demands more time than they have during the working week leaves them feeling unable to stay afloat. This can be especially stressful in the events industry, where deadlines are frequently inflexible.
Such time constraints put high levels of pressure on workers who have to work faster and do extra hours just to get everything done. Many are left feeling stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed before becoming exhausted and becoming burnt out.
Lack of Control
Not giving workers enough control over their schedules, tasks and assignments can also cause job burnout. This lack of autonomy denies employees a say over their working life and the ability to influence decisions affecting their own workload.
When issues arise, such as unreasonable to-do lists or time constraints, they will struggle to feel like they can do anything about it. Studies show that this powerlessness can not only lead to high-stress levels and exhaustion, but anxiety, cynicism and/or depression.
Inconsistent Company Culture
Having an inconsistent company culture in which the values of the business are not reflected in the actions of those in senior roles can cause distrust among employees. This scepticism can lead to a cynical attitude towards the company which can negatively impact motivation and energy levels.
These pessimistic perceptions can also emerge when an employee's values clash with the ethics of the business. It is difficult to maintain motivation in a role that lacks personal meaning or significance, which means that developing burnout becomes more likely when someone is placed under a lot of stress or pressure.
Lack of Recognition
It is important to recognise and reward the hard work of your employees. Failing to do so can leave them with a persistent feeling that, regardless of their achievements or efforts, their work will never be deemed worthy of acknowledgement.
This can result in employees pushing themselves to the point of overwork, eventually leading to exhaustion and burnout. A lack of recognition may also cause burnout because it stops employees from feeling like they’re contributing to anything with their work, leading to them feeling less engaged and unmotivated.
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The Consequences of Job Burnout
Job burnout causes all sorts of issues, both for individuals and the wider company. Here are some of the ways that employees and their workplaces can be affected by job burnout.
Mental Health Problems
Job burnout can lead to employees experiencing mental health conditions. Those suffering from the condition are also more at risk of:
- Excessive Stress
More Sick Days
A study by Gallup reveals that burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day. Those suffering from the condition can feel utterly drained and exhausted, unable to face working tasks and ultimately taking a sick day.
Constantly feelings of inadequacy or being underappreciated, exhausted or overwhelmed can result in losing confidence. In fact, research shows that employees who often or always experience burnout are typically 13% less confident in their performance and are half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager.
Widespread Company Burnout
Studies suggest that burnout is “contagious”. Seeing fellow team members with the condition can lead to others developing symptoms as well. As a consequence, burnout can spread from one employee to the next throughout the company.
Burnout and Events: 6 Ways to Tackle Job Burnout in the MICE Industry
Job burnout has emerged as an epidemic across many industry sectors, but particularly for high-pressure roles. With events management named the third most stressful job in the world, the condition is incredibly pertinent to our industry. Tight deadlines and high stakes often put those working in the sector under a lot of pressure, making people in the MICE industry particularly susceptible to burnout.
In addition to this, the basis of the industry is centred on hospitality and serving others to a high standard. As a result, success and job satisfaction tend to rely on pleasing clients. Placing such importance on making others happy can sometimes cause workers to go the extra mile and neglect their personal needs, wants and priorities, which can of course lead to burnout.
To help tackle the issue and support employees, here are some of the best ways to tackle the condition in the events industry.
1. Encourage Better Work/Life Balance
With tight deadlines and clients to please, it can be easy to let the work-life balance slip for those working in the events industry. However, losing this distinction between private life and career can be highly stressful and exhausting, provoking or exacerbating burnout.
Lead by example and encourage those in the company to look out for their mental health by setting clear boundaries and disconnecting from work. These steps can involve not accepting work calls after a certain time or only replying to emails during standard working hours.
Setting these clear boundaries can help those working in the sector maintain a healthy balance and, in turn, deter the effects of burnout.
2. Introduce Social Support Systems
Introducing social support systems can be an effective way of combating job burnout. This may come in the form of assigning a member of the team an additional supportive well-being role or introducing regular catch-up discussions for team members.
Having a safe space for employees to share any issues regarding workload, stress levels or time pressure can prevent situations from deteriorating and causing employees to suffer from burnout. When members of a team take the time to check in with each other more, they’re also more likely to spot the signs of burnout early, which ensures that employees are given help when they need it.
3. Match Workload to Capacity
To prevent workers from becoming overloaded with tasks, adopt allocation methods that match workload to capacity. This will ensure that everyone is given sufficient time to complete assignments without being put under huge amounts of stress.
Also make sure that workloads are kept viable to the whole team so that it is easy to identify when someone is being given too much work and tasks can be allocated fairly.
4. Reward Employees for Good Work
A great way to tackle burnout at work is to introduce reward schemes for those excelling in their roles. Two of the many signs of job burnout are feeling underappreciated and inadequate, and both of these emotions are often caused by failure to acknowledge and celebrate achievements.
Sharing positive feedback and praising achievements can be a highly effective and easy way of making workers feel seen and valued. You may also wish to introduce further reward schemes such as incentive travel, for example, to reward high-performing employees for going the extra mile.
5. Clear Company Values
To prevent workers from experiencing job burnout symptoms, it is important to ensure that the goals and values of your MICE business remain clear and consistent. You might want to assess whether the organisation operates in a manner that aligns with your values, which will help employees to feel more aligned with an overall purpose and give their work more meaning.
Creating this consistency also plays an important role in bringing employees to trust the company and what it stands for, quelling any suspicion, doubts and distrust that can result in cynicism and burnout.
Having a sense of community can help employees recover from burnout. Encourage workers to check in with each other, congratulate colleagues on successes and be open to discussing issues honestly and respectfully. Doing so can help kick-start job burnout recovery by making employees feel valued and supported while also building trust with other members of the company.
This can offer a sustainable solution, as when workers feel worried or overwhelmed in the future, they will be more open to sharing this with colleagues. As a consequence, they are less likely to sit on issues which can build into prolonged stress and, ultimately, burnout.
Job burnout is a very real condition facing many of those working in the events industry at the moment. Not only can it impact the well-being of those suffering from it, but it can also have a knock-on effect on the health of other members of the company and the success of the business itself.
Rewarding hard work, providing a strong support network and assigning manageable workloads are all effective ways of preventing burnout and aiding the recovery of those already suffering from the condition. Working in the events industry can be as exhausting as it is rewarding, and it’s important to be aware of the consequences of burnout and work to ensure that all employees stay healthy and that your business doesn’t become a toxic place to work.
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