Brittany R. McIntyre
Upper Iowa University
Employee burnout is getting increased attention in the human service field. Burnout Syndrome is a prolonged response to exhaustion and stressors in the workplace. This syndrome can cause a person to feel exhausted and overworked, resulting in the employee feeling ineffective at his or her position. In this paper the dimensions of Burnout Syndrome will be covered, as well as intervention methods that would be effective in preventing this syndrome from surfacing. Both individual and organization methods will be considered, giving the most effective options for all parties involved. Burnout Syndrome can be detrimental to the employee, employer, and client, and therefore there needs to be steps taken to intervene before this symptom surfaces.
Keywords: Burnout Syndrome, human service field, intervention methods
Introduction Burnout Syndrome is a psychological syndrome that results from stress and exhaustion in the workplace. There are three dimensions to Burnout Syndrome which include exhaustion, cynicism, and an over sense of inefficacy for the employee (Maslach, 2003). The dimension of exhaustion deals with feelings of being overworked, fatigued, and worn-out. Cynicism, also referred to as depersonalization, causes the employee to have negative attitudes toward their position, even when the employee once felt pride and accomplishment with their work. The last dimension of Burnout Syndrome, inefficacy, involves a person having adverse responses to self-evaluations and the effectiveness of their job (Morse, Salyers, Rollins, Monroe-DeVita, & Pfahler, 2012) Burnout Syndrome has been researched and studied since the 1970s. In recent years it has come to the attention of researchers that these syndromes is occurring cross-culturally, as well as cross occupationally. Some of the most extreme cases of Burnout Syndrome are occurring in occupations in the human service field, which is why intervention and prevention methods are necessary for employees working in this field (Morse, Salyers, Rollins, Monroe-DeVita, & Pfahler, 2012). Both individual methods as well as organizational programs can help employees battle the symptoms of Burnout Syndrome, in turn benefiting both the employee, employer, and current and future clients. Intervention methods need to be made readily available to all employees who feel they are suffering from Burnout Syndrome. These methods can include coping and self-help skills, with both long-term and day programs that teach how best to utilize these skills (Maslach, 2003). When the Burnout Syndrome is the result of being overworked, often times coping skills will not be enough, though, and more intensive action needs to be taken. When this is the case it is at an organization level that the Burnout needs to be dealt with. With this, the organization needs to take measures to reduce the workload and caseload of their employees (Caseload and Workload Management, 2010). This will, in turn, reduce the levels of exhaustion that the employees are dealing with. Regardless of which intervention method works best, something needs to be done to ensure that employee are able to work to the best of their ability.
Problem Statement There is a distinct problem within organizations and companies today. That problem, specifically, is Burnout Syndrome. Currently, numerous employees, with an exact number being difficult to decipher, are suffering from exhaustion and feelings of disappointment within their current jobs. As of now, very little is being done to reduce the stress that these positions are causing, and it is resulting in employees leaving their positions for less demanding occupations (Maslach, 2003). This problem not only affects the employee that is suffering from the syndrome, but also the employer and the clients that are working with the employee. The employer