France: Dealing with Employee Burnout, a Perspective

France: Dealing with Employee Burnout in FranceDealing with employee burnout means taking a close look at stress, job exhaustion, and all the other issues burnout encompasses. Managers are all too aware of these matters, but do they realize what lies behind these symptoms? A June 2019 study by Cadremploi scrutinizes and analyzes how managers feel about such phenomena. It found that managers take burnout very seriously, but they seem to be short on solutions.

Burnout haunts people’s minds

Not all die, but all stricken are.” This phrase is from La Fontaine’s fable, The Animals Sick of the Plague. It was the title for at least one film and one book dealing with suffering at the workplace. Where is the connection between burnout and the plague? In both cases, people feel that it affects all levels of the hierarchy and that there is no solution to stem the epidemic…

Today no one thinks of playing down the phenomenon or treating it purely as a private-life matter. Ninety five percent of managers think that burnout is an occupational disease. One in two managers state they have suffered a burnout. Among these, 86% claim they did not get proper support, nor enough information, during that time.

Burnout is the company’s problem

Companies are still slow in putting in the necessary means to cope with workplace suffering. 71% of managers believe their employer has not put in place prevention measures to combat burnout. Yet, burnout engenders significant costs. According to the people surveyed, 57% of burnout cases gave rise to sick leave; and about the same percentage ended in leaving the company (37% in a negotiated departure and 22% by resignation). Burnout is therefore a scourge that affects people, but also companies, bringing with it absenteeism and staff turnover.

Managers, on the front line but with no solutions

What to do when faced with burnout? For managers there seems to be no response. Eight seven percent feel they have no training to cope. Also, when a colleague is burned out, the initial advice cited by 50% of managers is: “I recommended he/she takes sick leave.”

Yet, when faced with burnout, managers are in a paradoxical situation. They feel under threat, but it is also their own fault. The first three causes cited by managers are directly attributable to management itself: job pressure, excessive workload, and lack of recognition for work done.

The attitude towards burnout? Denial!

It is undoubtedly this paradoxical situation which pushes managers to shy away from reality.

They recognize the extent of the phenomenon, and even claim to have a good knowledge of it: 72% of managers say they have had a colleague with burnout and do feel they can detect the ailment. Even so, of those managers who manage a team, only 25% confirm having had a case of burnout in their team. In other words, there is burnout throughout the company, but not in my department! Burnout, a shameful management disease, seems easier to detect in oneself or in one’s colleagues than among one’s subordinates.

The study therefore highlights the need to put in place emergency solutions to prevent and treat burnout. It also highlights the need for training and support for managers in the face of this phenomenon which puts them at odds with their everyday mission. Without a strong impetus and a clear management strategy, local managers become executioners and victims of a scourge against which they are powerless.

Solutions do exist

Gerep, a player in social protection for 30 years, has clearly identified the challenges encountered by its clients in the fight against absenteeism and offers concrete measures through the implementation of Quality of Life at Work solutions. For more information, please take a look at our white paper available here: Livre Blanc de la Qualité de Vie au Travail.


Gerep, Asinta’s Partner in France, provided this article about dealing with employee burnout. If you would like to connect with them, please contact Asinta.