Avoiding Burnout with the Employee Burnout Survey

Avoiding Burnout with the Employee Burnout Survey

The employee burnout survey is a key employee feedback survey that can help reduce the undesirable, yet frequently recurring phenomenon known as employee burnout. 

As a business, you are probably well aware of the need to survey your target market. Although lesser-known and thus less often used, surveying employees to reduce burnout is a valuable method to keep your employees happy and your team intact. 

While your customers are your bread and butter, your employees are the vessels that steer your ship, aka, your business to success. As such, it is key to pay attention to their needs and concerns as you would with your target market. 

Implementing surveys can help achieve these goals, so that your business doesn’t suffer from high burnout rates.

This article explores the employee burnout survey, how it can reduce and avoid employee burnout, keep employees engaged, how to set one up and more.

Defining Employee Burnout 

Employee burnout refers to the state of work-induced or work-related stress that many if not all employees endure from time to time. This condition is marked by a state of either or both physical and mental exhaustion, accompanied by a reduced sense of accomplishment and lack of motivation. 

Although burnout isn’t a medical diagnosis, it takes a visible toll on employees, as it deters them from performing their best and being content in their job.

There are many factors that contribute to employee burnout, most of them occur due to the overall work environment. 

The Causes of Employee Burnout

Employees can deal with many tasks; these can increase if another employee is on PTO, leaves the company or there is a lack of talent available. As such, there are several issues that can go awry or contribute to employee burnout.

Here are several causes of employee burnout:

  1. Lack of support on the job: Often, some kind of support is expected from higher-ups, managers and other employees. When an employee feels that they are lacking support, it can make them feel isolated and depressed, bleeding into their work performance.
  2. Lack of resources: Some jobs require ancillary tasks in addition to employees’ main jobs, yet not all workplaces provide the full resources to complete them. For example, let’s say an employee needs to hire freelancers, but does not have the means. This clearly hampers their ability to carry out their job, leading to burnout.
  3. Unclear job expectations: Often due to a lack of communication or proper input, some employees may discover they have responsibilities or subtasks that were not made clear to them. In turn, the employee suffers, as they won’t meet expectations, at least not as soon as an employer or the employee themselves would aim for.
  4. Toxic employees: Some employees may bully, ignore or treat others in an unkind way. This behavior is unpleasant and can lead to feelings of rejection and loneliness, along with heaps of stress.
  5. Tight deadlines: While most projects have deadlines, there are many occurrences that can delay progress, therefore hampering the meeting of deadlines. As such, it can cause burnout, which further delays job completion.
  6. Little to no work-life balance: When work consumes so much of employees’ time that they can barely fit anything else (doctors’ visits, time with loved ones, etc.), they become overwhelmed. It is perturbing to be overcome with work to the point where employees cannot live a well-balanced life.
  7. Overworking: One of the major causes of employee burnout is overworking. Whether or not employees are meeting deadlines, sometimes, the volume of the work becomes overbearing. This creates exhaustion and a feeling of depletion within employees.

The Many Consequences of Employee Burnout for Your Business

If the damaging effects of employee burnout weren’t incisive enough in the Defining Employee Burnout Section, the following will. 

Employee burnout reached a new high in 2020 and is showing no signs of abating just yet. This is detrimental to businesses and not just at an employee level. This can become an HR nightmare, as burned-out employees tend to leave their job.

The most grave consequence of employee burnout is its effect on employee retention: 42% of workers quit their job due to employee burnout. The statistic grows to almost 50% when it concerns burned-out millennials. 

Here are a few other consequences of employee burnout for businesses:

  1. Unmotivated and indifferent employees, who care little about the success of the company.
  2. Irritable attitudes that create more hostility and toxicity in the workplace
  3. Exhaustion that leads to underperformance
  4. Inclinations towards sarcasm, anger or confrontation
  5. Absenteeism on the job or in job culture activities
  6. Bad reviews on the internet about your work culture and overall company
  7. High turnover requiring more recruiting efforts and the loss of valuable employees 
  8. A bad reputation of your business

Evidently, businesses ought to steer clear of employee burnout and distinguish it at every turn. Surveys can help fulfill this goal.

Understanding the Employee Burnout Survey

The employee burnout survey, as its name suggests, is a type of survey meant to identify and gauge employee burnout, along with any occurrences or sentiments that can contribute to burnout.

Detecting the latter can help prevent employees from developing full-fledged burnout, as the insights this survey provides help employers and HR workers foster positive change.

As for the latter, this survey can help extinguish existing employee burnout, so that it does not become incendiary enough to cause employees to quit.

As such, this survey is a kind of employee feedback survey, as it gathers employee commentary, critique and the like — but specifically themed around employee burnout. 

This kind of survey can be explicitly configured around the theme of employee burnout, that is, introducing respondents to this topic, with questions that specifically mention this topic. Or, it can be set up more implicitly, with the topic and term reframed, thus not mentioned directly.

The latter is useful when you aim to be more discreet, as some employees may feel uncomfortable with plainly disclosing their feelings of discomfort and burnout from work.

How to Set Up an Employee Burnout Survey

You can set up an employee burnout survey by either of the two main methods described in the previous section. To understand your employees better and minimize burnout, it is useful to regularly conduct these surveys.

You can begin with the first method (explicitly mentioning employee burnout) and then deploy these surveys more secretly using the second method (not mentioning the term) — or the other way around, or with any cadence and frequency you choose.

Since both of these survey methods are based on employee burnout, you’ll find that some questions can be applied to both or used interchangeably. 

How to Set up an Explicit Employee Burnout Survey

Your survey should have a callout that specifically states that the survey is themed on/ measures employee burnout. This way, employees will understand this outright.

Here are the key questions to include in this employee burnout survey method:

  1. Have you ever experienced burnout in this job? 
    1. Answers: [Yes, No]
    2. If yes, add an open-ended question to probe further and allow employees to describe their burnout experiences.
  2. What is/are the most stressful aspect(s) of your position/ working at [company name]?
    1. Answer examples: [Time management, work overload, other ideas to maintain objectives, difficulty maintaining my objectives, issues with another worker, etc.]
    2. Use skip logic to transfer any answer to an open-ended question that asks to elaborate on this.
  3. What could we do to help you diminish employee burnout?
    1. Answer examples: [Lessen the workload, create more collaborations, offer more mentorship, other]
    2. Add an open-ended answer option to understand exactly what employees need.
  4.  Have you ever taken a sick day due to employee burnout?
    1. Answers: [Yes, No]
    2. If yes, use skip logic to route employees to multiple-choice, multiple selection questions to tick off all reasons as to why they did so.
    3. Add an option for an open-ended answer at this step.
  5. How many days have you worked during after-hours or off days because you could not finish during work hours?
    1. Answers: Never
    2. 1-3 days
    3. 4-6 days
    4. Over 6 days

How to Set up an Implicit Employee Burnout Survey

If you want to discover the presence of employee burnout in a stealthy manner, avoid using the term throughout the survey. 

Even if the survey is anonymous, employees still may feel uncomfortable divulging their feelings in relation to employee burnout for fear of losing their jobs or being frowned upon by their managers. 

Here are the key questions to include in this burnout survey method:

  1. Have you ever come upon any stress in this job? 
    1. Answers: [Yes, No]
    2. If yes, add an open-ended question to probe further and allow employees to describe their experiences via the keyword “stress” as opposed to burnout.
  2. How often do you experience stress on the job?
    1. Answers: Seldom
    2. Every now and then
    3. Once a month
    4. Several times a month
    5. Several times a week
    6. Allow employees to elaborate on how they experience stress and its frequency in an open-ended question following this one.
  3. What is/are the most stressful aspect(s) of your position/ working at [company name]?
    1. Answer examples: [Time management, work overload, other ideas to maintain objectives, difficulty maintaining my objectives, issues with another worker, etc.]
    2. Use skip logic to transfer any answer to an open-ended question that asks to elaborate on this.
  4. What could we do to help you feel happier at work?
    1. Use an open-ended answer option to understand exactly what employees need, as this question is too broad.
  5. How many days have you worked during after-hours or off days because you could not finish during work hours?
    1. Answers: Never
    2. 1-3 days
    3. 4-6 days
    4. Over 6 days

Improving All Work-Related Issues

Like all work-related issues, employee burnout is a work in progress. Even when you’ve reined in employee burnout (you would know this via survey campaigns) it can creep back up again.

This is because the workplace — or work hours — if your team works remotely, is a living environment. Personalities may clash, new assignments may come unexpectedly (especially if you produce work for clients) workloads may waver and there is nothing that can fully suppress surprises, be they good or bad.

Therefore, you need to evaluate your employees on a regular basis to ensure that they are satisfied at work, feel appreciated and aren’t affected by burnout, let alone overwhelmed by it. The most effective and insights-driven way to accomplish this is by deploying employee burnout surveys on a powerful online survey platform.

Diving into the Employee Feedback Survey

Diving into the Employee Feedback Survey

Whether you have five employees or 5,000, the employee feedback survey is an excellent source of collecting employee sentiment that allows you to improve business operations and employee retention in turn. 

Feedback surveys provide employees with an anonymous way to share their concerns without fear of reprisal. In this format, a business can expect much more honest feedback that can drive meaningful change in the company.

Unfortunately, many employee feedback surveys fail because they do not ask the right questions or suffer from a low response rate. This guide will help you understand why these surveys matter and how you can make the most out of your next survey. 

Employee Feedback Survey Overview

An employee feedback survey entails capturing feedback from existing employees in a survey format. This type of survey is also referred to as an employee engagement or employee opinion survey. 

In general, employee feedback surveys seek to understand the level of job satisfaction, fulfillment and overall happiness that employees feel. Employee feedback surveys are conducted to understand employees’ holistic feelings toward a company or those pertaining to their team or department. 

The results of an employee feedback survey are then used to help drive company action by improving companywide aspects such as management styles, HR methodologies, employee relations and interactions with clients.

There are many reasons why a company may choose to conduct an employee feedback survey. Some of the main motivations include: 

  • Understanding current pain points
  • Measuring overall job satisfaction
  • Gaining insight into successful management styles 
  • Learning which HR incentives are most appreciated by employees
  • Improving processes for hiring and onboarding new employees
  • Demonstrating to employees that the company is interested and invested in improving their experience 
  • Giving employees the opportunity to reflect and volunteer ways to improve their role or the company
  • Improving the general satisfaction employees feel with their work and work environment

Benefits of Employee Feedback Surveys

Companies of all sizes can benefit from conducting an employee feedback survey and acting on the insights uncovered during the analysis process. Benefits companies may experience include:

  • Better performance: your team may feel more motivated to perform when they are given the opportunity to provide employee feedback
  • Eliminating any discomfort employees feel about raising their concerns on employment particulars.
  • Detecting problems before they occur.
  • An improved and streamlined communication between management and employees.
  • Helping employees feel they belong and have a sense of purpose within the business.
  • Boosting employee retention rates.
  • Attracting prospective employees who want to be part of a culture where their voice is heard.

Additionally, there are added benefits of administering surveys on a more regular basis. The benefits of more frequent employee feedback surveys include:

  • Having a system of benchmarks to understand how employee satisfaction changes over time.
  • Identifying changes in HR or operation procedures that have positively or negatively impacted employees.
  • Giving employees more frequent opportunities to voice their concerns.

How to Conduct an Employee Feedback Survey

Employee feedback surveys are relatively easy to conduct and follow a similar process to other survey types. 

  • Understand the purpose of your survey and write down your goals. Before you begin  to pen your questions, explore your motivations for conducting an employee feedback survey. Then write down what you hope to accomplish or learn by the end of your survey.
  • Identify your target audience. Determine if you will distribute your survey to the entire company or to smaller segments. Your target audience will influence the questions in your survey. 
  • Organize and plan your survey(s). Depending on the purpose of your survey and the target audience(s) you identify, you may need to create more than one survey. For example, if you are creating a survey for a large company with several offices, you may want to create individual surveys for each office or for each team within the offices. The questions that you ask managers are also likely to differ from those that you will ask team members.
  • Create your questions and design your survey. With the purpose and audience of your survey in mind, create questions that will provide the data you need to drive change. The design of your survey matters too;  consider using a professional survey platform to make the process easier for the employees and, thereby, improve your survey response rate. 
  • Distribute your survey. Before sending the survey out, it is a good idea to explain to your employees why you are conducting the survey. This should encourage employees to take the time to complete the survey and provide thoughtful answers.
  • Perform survey data analysis. Once the responses are in, you will need to collate, organize, and analyze the responses in order to draw conclusions for your business. We encourage you to read our in-depth article about survey data analysis to learn more about this process. 
  • Put the insights into action. With the analysis complete, you should be able to draw some conclusions and put them into action. Circle back with your employees and share the results of the survey and explain how you will use these insights to improve the company. 

Questions to Include in Employee Feedback Surveys

By asking the right questions, you are more likely to get insightful responses that can help drive positive and impactful change in your organization. 

The wording of your questions is important. In order to get helpful responses, be sure to ask questions that require specific responses. Don’t try to kill two birds with one stone; keep questions focused on one topic at a time. 

To help get you started, we have compiled a list of questions covering some of the topics you may wish to include in your next employee feedback survey. 

Overall Job Satisfaction

  1. Have you considered looking for another job within the past three months? If yes, please explain why.
  2. What’s the one thing you would change about your job?
  3. On a scale of 1 - 10, how happy are you with your job?
  4. Are you happy with your work-life balance?
  5. Would you refer a friend or colleague to work at this company? If no, please explain why not.

Relationship with Management

  1. On a scale of 1 - 10, how would you rate your manager’s performance?
  2. Are you happy with the level of communication between senior management and the team?
  3. Do you know where to turn for help when you have a problem or challenge?
  4. Do you feel recognized for the work you do?

Performance and Motivation

  1. On a scale of 1 - 10, how challenging do you find your job?
  2. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
  3. Do you feel inspired to do your best work?

Boost Your Business with the Employee Feedback Surveys

Employee turnover is expensive. Not only is it expensive and time-consuming to hire and train new employees, but companies with a higher turnover rate will experience lower overall profits

An employee feedback survey is an incredibly valuable tool that can help keep your employees engaged with your business. By investing in your people and understanding their true feelings about their role in your company, you can ensure the success of your business for years to come.

The simple act of conducting the employee feedback survey alone can help boost morale within your team. Add the free insights you’ll get from your employees, and it makes conducting an employee feedback survey a no-brainer. 

A professional survey platform can make it even easier to distribute your survey to a vast network of online users and assure that your survey collects the exact number of responses that you need. There is nothing holding you back from getting started today!

Frequently asked questions

What is an employee feedback survey?

An employee feedback survey is a survey that collects feedback from existing employees in order to understand their overall level of job satisfaction.

What are some of the reasons for conducting an employee feedback survey?

Some of the reasons a company may conduct an employee feedback survey are to measure job satisfaction, understand frustrations, improve processes, and show employees that the company cares about their concerns.

What are other names used to describe an employee feedback survey?

Employee feedback surveys are also referred to as employee engagement surveys or employee opinion surveys.

What are some of the topics that an employee feedback survey should cover?

Employee feedback surveys typically ask questions about overall job satisfaction, relationship with management, and employee performance and motivation.

Who participates in an employee feedback survey?

An employee feedback survey can be distributed to all employees of a company, or it can be distributed to smaller groups of employees, such as certain departments or office locations.