More than half of U.S. workers say they’re experiencing burnout, and nearly the same number lack confidence that their employer cares about them and their well-being, according to an Oct. 18 report from Aflac.
Employee confidence in employer care has dropped significantly in recent years, from 59% in 2021 to 48% in 2023.
“Survey results on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace are alarming and continue to be challenging, but employers can face these challenges head-on and turn them into opportunities,” Jeri Hawthorne, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Aflac Incorporated, said in a statement.
“Offering benefits that include mental health tools and resources, in addition to work-life balance perks, such as flexible work schedules, can help with employee satisfaction, retention and recruitment,” she said.
In surveys of 1,200 employers and 2,000 employees across the U.S., 57% of workers said they’re currently experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout. They named workplace stress — particularly heavy workloads — as the biggest stressor.
Among those who reported high levels of burnout, 89% also said they experienced other mental health challenges during the past year, including anxiety, depression and trouble with sleep.
Some workers reported higher levels of burnout than others. About 67% of Gen Z and 64% of millennial workers said they’re facing moderate-to-high levels of burnout. In addition, 75% of women reported burnout, along with 58% of men.
Employees want their employers to care about their well-being and provide resources to stay ahead of burnout, according to the report. However, employee confidence is waning, and many are considering other job opportunities, with 53% saying they’re somewhat likely to accept a position with lower pay but better benefits.
“The cost of benefits is creating a ripple effect for employers,” Hawthorne said. “They want to remain competitive by offering benefits their employees are looking for while staying budget conscious. They’re also faced with retention pressure and tough decisions to push expenses to employees, such as increasing employee deductibles or employees’ share of health insurance premiums.”
To improve mental health, employees say they prefer culture change over individual approaches such as self-care apps and therapy services, according to a recent report from Mind Share Partners and Qualtrics. Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives appeared to be particularly helpful; workers who said their employer supported their identity were more engaged at work and committed to their employer.
To address burnout in particular, employers can improve employee experience and support financial security for workers, according to an isolved report. This includes paying market value, providing pay transparency, improving internal communication and creating a career pathway with opportunities for employees to advance.