Heads Up! It’s burn-out time


Feb. Reading headlines about the mass resignations from the workplace in 2021, I was reminded of the scene in “Network” where angry people went to their windows and in unison yelled, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  I anticipate we’ll continue to see these resignations continue to move employees away from workplaces and managers who create undesirable environments and unsustainable expectations.

High turnover

Why have people initiated saying “so long” even when they do not have a new job lined up? What makes them contentedly accept lower wages with a new employer? Well, if you don’t know, you’d better find out because high turnover can be a crushing and unnecessary expense; and with labor shortages projected over the next 15 years you need to be a desirable employer.

You may believe you don’t have time in a crisis to figure this out, so for now you’ll keep depending heavily on the fine employees you have. Sorry, but people won’t keep letting you do that much longer. It’s time to create a better strategy.

Why are people leaving employers in droves? While each person is unique, studies and employee exit interviews clearly offer common reasons why; some are listed below.


Sheer exhaustion. Too many hours without reasonable breaks. Too many double shifts. Too many close-late-then-open-early shifts. Too many last-minute calls for picking up shifts or shouldering a missing team member’s workload. And too often doing all of this without increased pay or benefits that demonstrate a reasonable exchange of value for the loyalty and extensive efforts being given again and again.

Chronic unrealistic expectations add frustration, and create indignities when employees can’t reach goals or complete tasks they know with reasonable deadlines they could shine at. Many excellent employees who used to be able to be top performers will be missed by employers who make repeated unrealistic demands.


Not being able to balance personal needs and responsibilities with unrelentingly un-adjustable work schedules is unacceptable to today’s workers.  Medical needs, children’s activities, and personal hobbies often require employee presence during normal shift times. These are important to employees; structuring policies for time to do these things needs to be important to employers.

Disrespect. Unfair treatment. Unsafe environments

Supervisors who fail to follow labor laws, who fail to demonstrate general care for their workers’ health and welfare, beware. And leaders who are paid many multiples more than their average frustrated workers while those workers feel marginalized are going to come under heightened scrutiny as their actions will drive the best employees away from their applicant pools.

Employees are reading the same headlines employers are. They are taking stock of how they feel now and how they might feel in a more desirable workplace. The current tectonic shift in the workforce is going to ripple up and down the so-called workplace food chain.  It will impact everyone.

So, how well are you and your organization meeting expectations of employees today? How do you demonstrate your care for their welfare? Have you conducted meaningful employee satisfaction surveys lately? Are you brave enough to?  Be brave, find the time to do one so you can keep your best talent.

Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in problem solving and service quality. Email her at: [email protected]


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