How To Hire For Job Fit To Decrease Employee Burnout

December 16, 2022

how to hire for job fit to decrease employee burnout

Employee burnout is a phrase that has gained significant traction in recent years. Not because it’s a passing trend conjured up by today’s workforce, but because it’s become more prevalent as a result of increasing pressures and a more demanding work-life.

To put it into context, a 2022 study by Westfield Health revealed that 46% of the UK’s working population is on the verge of burnout.

Despite a growing awareness and more attempts by employers to address the issue, there are still many misconceptions about what employee burnout actually is - and limited understanding of how to prevent it.

In this article, we take a closer look at the definition, causes and impact of employee burnout, and how organizations can minimize risk by considering job fit in the recruitment process.

Why employee burnout matters

how to hire for job fit to decrease employee burnout

Employee burnout occurs when chronic workplace stresses go unmanaged, to the extent they significantly impact an individual’s wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization’s definition, there are three dimensions to burnout:

  • A noticeable lack of energy or physical exhaustion.

  • Negative feelings towards a job, or increasing disengagement from it.

  • A sense of being ineffective at work and a lack of achievement.

Its causes are many, and can vary across industries and from employee to employee. Some workers will experience burnout from a single cause, while for others there will be several contributing factors. These include:

Excessive workload - the most common cause of burnout is too much to do in too little time. Employees become bogged down as work piles up. They may feel a sense of hopelessness and start making mistakes, which can induce feelings of guilt and incompetence.

Feeling overlooked and undervalued - a continued lack of appreciation for their hard work can cause an employee to become despondent and see little point in continued effort. Work becomes a burden and stress creeps in.

Poor management - unachievable expectations, a lack of constructive direction and inadequate support can all contribute to employee stress, as can excessive micromanagement.

Lack of opportunity - this can relate to training and development or career progression. Without the prospect of any kind of advancement, all that’s left is inertia, which can be detrimental to an employee’s emotional wellbeing.

Misalignment between the job and the needs of the employee - often burnout occurs because an employee is simply not well suited to the job. The role is not matched to their psychological and emotional needs, and they find little motivation in it.

Employee burnout can have serious consequences for both the individual that experiences it and the organization they work for.

For the employee, they may have difficulty concentrating, become irritable and lose all professional motivation. At its most severe burnout can affect physical health, impact family life and cause mental distress.

For employers, failure to tackle burnout can lead to:

Low productivity - a burnt-out employee will never perform at their best. In fact, they are likely to significantly underperform as they become increasingly disengaged from their job.

A bad culture - a high level of employee burnout is one of the tell-tale signs of a bad work environment, as well as a cause of it. When demotivated, irritable staff turn up at work it affects everyone around them and creates a culture of negativity.

Lack of commitment - as burnout takes hold of an employee will show less and less commitment to your organization. You’re likely to experience increased absenteeism, tardiness and time wasting, all of which are costly to your business.

High turnover rates - a burnt-out employee is much more inclined to leave their job, sometimes before they have even found an alternative. As one of the main causes of high turnover, employee burnout brings with it all the associated consequences like workplace disruption and high recruitment costs.

So, now we’ve established its importance, how do you limit the potential of employee burnout occurring?

It takes a complex arrangement of practices and there is no one size fits all approach. A good place to start however is recruitment to ensure an employee is well suited to a job in the first place.

Measuring for fit when hiring

hire for job fit to decrease employee burnout

Job fit is about far more than skills and experience. These are of course important and must be factored into candidate selection, but so too must an individual’s character, values and job expectations.

Only by taking a holistic view can you determine how likely a candidate is to find job satisfaction, experience a high level of engagement, and fit into your organizational culture - and thus be less susceptible to employee burnout.

At the center of this approach is pre-employment testing. Skills and aptitude tests should be used to assess ability, while personality questionnaires like the Drives test can be used to evaluate how well a job role will fulfill a candidate’s needs.

Administered online, the Drives test takes an applicant around five minutes to complete. They are asked to rate a series of motivational influences, or drives, in order of importance. These drives include:

Innovation - is the candidate motivated by suggesting and exploring new ideas?

Learning - do they take satisfaction from expanding their professional knowledge?

Purpose - are they driven to make a difference through their work?

Responsibility - do they seek ownership over their own work and performance?

There are nine drives in total, with team, money, rewards, recognition and security completing the set. The applicant is given 20 points to allocate across the drives.

What this gives you is a better understanding of what a candidate is looking for in their employment, and whether the job you're offering is a good match. If it is - and the candidate in question also has the necessary skill set - you can confidently shortlist them for interview.

You can also use the results of their Drives test to develop candidate-specific interview questions and to formulate a post-employment support plan. With their needs recognized and addressed, the successful candidate is much less likely to experience burnout in the long term.

Drives alignment and employee burnout

Whilst it’s only one aspect of what should be a comprehensive employee wellbeing strategy, ensuring alignment between an individual’s drives and the nature of their work can go a long way to preventing occupational stress and its effect.

In fact, our own study on Person-Job Fit shows that employees are 4x more likely to report experiencing burnout when their drives do not align with what their job offers.

With the Drives test you can avoid any misalignment and ensure whoever you appoint to your next open vacancy has maximum potential to thrive, and minimal potential to burnout.

Boost your hiring power.
Start using Neuroworx today.

Talk is cheap. We offer a 7-day free trial so you can see our platform for yourselves.

Try for free