Working for a telco? Beware of burnout

A survey released by recruitment firm Hudson this morning said that the fast-moving telecommunications industry is the worst in the country for employee burnout. It found that 44 percent of employers in the sector were reporting increasing levels of burnout in the workplace.

A survey released by recruitment firm Hudson this morning said that the fast-moving telecommunications industry is the worst in the country for employee burnout. It found that 44 percent of employers in the sector were reporting increasing levels of burnout in the workplace.

The report, which surveyed 7,800 employers across Australia, also found that 38 percent of the managers reporting burnout are experiencing declining levels of productivity as a key impact of that burnout. A further 35 percent also reported an increase in the number of valued employees leaving their organisation, and 27 percent reported an increase in the number of sick days being taken.

According to Alison Maidment, Hudson's sector director for IT&T, the results are not necessarily surprising, as "the telecommunications industry has seen such significant streamlining in the last few years in response to the global consolidation of the industry". Maidment is seeing a trend of key employees "being asked to take on added responsibilities and in some instances find themselves working across roles that would have been held by two, sometimes even three people in the past".

In addition, "there is a constant pressure to return profit at the same time as growing market share. People who work in this sector need to be able to cope with high pressure, constantly changing and challenging environments, and if not managed correctly, this can quickly lead to employees burning out".

If this sounds like your employees, Maidment recommended two ways in which organisations may be able to reduce the incidence of burnout. Firstly, managers can demand "a greater emphasis on attracting and retaining the right people for their organisations". Hudson in particular is "being asked to help with developing more robust assessment processes and clearer role definitions, as these are key to reducing the incidence of burnout.

"It is also critical to ensure that appropriate support networks are provided for employees and management within the organisation in order to identify and ultimately reduce the high levels of burnout currently threatening this sector," said Maidment.

While the report stresses the importance of organisations taking responsibility for addressing employee burnout, there are also some steps that workers can take themselves. If an employee is feeling physically and emotionally exhausted, the first stop should be an employee's manager and human resource department, whilst taking a mindset of focusing on solutions to problems and looking to be involved. However Hudson also told employees to make sure that they are working towards a balance in lifestyle, and to not be afraid to seek support outside of work.

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