The term ‘burnout’ emerged in the mid-1970s. Employee burnout is a state of chronic physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to work-related stressors. It typically occurs when individuals feel overwhelmed, drained, or depleted, often resulting from excessive workloads, high-pressure environments, a lack of adequate support and resources, or digital overload. These factors, when left unaddressed, can eventually lead employees to quit. Intelligent Automation and its constituent technologies such as Process Intelligence, Low Code/No Code, Intelligent Document Processing, and Robotic Process Automation can help address burnout and manage the human energy crisis.
With burnout causing reduced productivity, errors, and lower job satisfaction, and impacting well-being, relationships, and health, it is imperative that companies leverage technology to help. In 2022, the burnout rate rose to 59%, up 13.5% from 2021, demanding urgent attention and intervention, leading some to suggest that we are experiencing a human energy crisis.
A variety of research studies have identified four key factors impacting the work environment—Workload Management, Employee Vitality, Workplace Dynamics, and Digital Exposure. This blog aims to explore each one in detail.
To manage the impact of burnout in a team, managers can use techniques like walk-in meetings, encouraging paid time off, and promoting work/life balance. Employees should monitor their stress levels and discuss concerns with their managers. Incorporating breaks and movement help recharge and improve focus. However, technology can play a role too. Employee burnout can act as a catalyst to critically assess key business processes. Identifying processes that could be automated to help manage employee workload or streamline inefficient processes goes a long way in helping manage burnout.
Case Example: Wawanesa Insurance leveraged Process Discovery tools to save over 15,000+ FTE hours and minimize the risk of data inaccuracy. This effort also revealed that Wawanesa identified up to 12 repetitive manual processes within the organization that could be eliminated.
Soon, Process Intelligence will be able to evaluate the impact on business metrics and generate recommendations to optimize customer journeys in a more strategic and human-like manner.
Case Example: United Motors Group transformed its manual purchase request handling by leveraging low-code/no-code automation, digitizing 90% of processes, and efficiently managing 150-200 weekly purchase requests, enhancing productivity, and minimizing errors.
Intelligent Automation platforms will increasingly automate processes such as code assistance and testing, reducing human intervention. Generative AI is now revolutionizing code writing by offering code generation, code reviewing, and code conversion from natural language descriptions.
Case Example: First-Mid Illinois Bank & Trust deployed an RPA solution to reduce the time employees spent on overdraft approvals. Previously, 2 employees would spend 2 days every month approving the drafts. But now, they are approved in an automated fashion.
Case Example: Fulton County Schools deployed IDP to eliminate paper-based applications and streamline their forms system. This implementation allowed them to gain better visibility and track the application status, resulting in the digital processing of over 200 applications within the first year.
There is growing awareness about the detrimental effects of burnout on employees and organizations, which may lead to a greater emphasis on addressing the issue effectively and expeditiously. In many ways, technology is both the enabler and the antidote.
To proactively address the human energy crisis, organizations need to prioritize employee well-being by embracing Intelligent Automation. Organizations can create space for employees to focus on critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving, thereby enhancing job satisfaction.