Management Update: What is burnout and how to prevent it


The other day, a client of mine said that she was just burned out when I asked her about the status of a few projects. I thought to myself, what does "burned out" exactly mean? Is it just an excuse for not getting things done? In any event, hearing the term "burned out" sent me on a journey to find out what employee burnout really is and how I could help my employees, my blog readers, and my clients deal with workplace burnout. 

What is burn out?

Employee burnout can be best described as environments in which the employee feels extreme exhaustion, which can be physical and/or emotional. Burnout is caused when an employee feels overexertion, stressful or chaotic work environments, and lack of rest, sleep or exercise.  Burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways which include the following:

  • Frustration or indifference toward work
  • Persistent irritability
  • Anger, sarcasm, or being argumentative
  • Exhaustion
  • Absenteeism

While conducting my research, I found a Gallup study of nearly 7500 full-time employees. I found out that 23% of employees have reported feeling burned out very often or always, while another 44% reported feeling burned out some times. That means that nearly two-thirds of full-time workforce experience feelings of being burned out on the job! Burn out should cause you concern if you are a manager or owner of a powersports dealership. Increasing profitably of a dealership is difficult enough. Still, according to the research, you could be doing better financially if you are aware of what burn out is and how to prevent it. 

What causes burn out?

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Research Management (SHRM), the following factors were reported as causing employee burn out.  The percentages represent the number of respondents identifying with the following causes of burn out.

  • Unfair compensation (41%)
  • Unreasonable workload (32%)
  • Too much overtime (32%)
  • Poor management (30%)
  • No connection between the job and business goals (29%)
  • Negative culture (26%)

How to prevent employee burn out?

  • Monitor the workload of dealership employees and teams overall.
  • Give consistent feedback.  The lack of appreciation or lack of direction leads to frustration and, therefore, burn out. 
  • Encourage employees to take their vacations to unplug from work.  That means letting employees take time off without calling them every day.
  • Nurture work-life balance.  
  • Help employees better fit work into their lives by increasing the flexibility of time-off and possibly increasing the time-off available.  
  • Cultivate leadership and management skills. Encourage good management throughout the dealership by providing training for managers and supervisors.
  • Considering alterations to the dealership environment, for example, maybe providing seating for parts department employees who stand most of the day.
  • Compensate fairly and competitively. Adequate pay doesn't prevent burnout. Still, inadequate wages can mean employees feel an imbalance between the rewards of a job and job stressors.
  • Show your employees appreciation for what they do to contribute to the dealership.
  • Reward hard work with a little time off.
  • Bring in extra help during the high season. For example, bring in that part-time person to help with the spring and summer demands in the dealership.

Let's face it; we all have felt a little, or maybe a lot, of the symptoms of burn out in our work life. In an economy where employees have a lot of options for work, we need to take burn out into account when looking at the bottom line. Small tweaks to the workload and management of employees can go a long way and have a profound impact on the financials of the dealership.


As an owner or manager of a modern powersports dealership, we are all working in a pressure cooker a lot of the time. It is up to you to take a step back and see what it would take to make your dealership a better place to work for your employees. The detection and prevention of employee burn out is up to you!

After all, it is only good business!

Forrest Flinn, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, SMS has been in the motorcycle industry for more than 23 years and has been a true student and leader serving in various capacities. He previously worked as an implementation consultant for Lightspeed and as a general manager with P&L responsibility for a large metro multi-line dealership. Recently Forrest became an Associate Recruiter with Henry Lonski and Associates and is also the managing partner and chief visionary for a consulting firm that specializes in outsourced accounting, social media strategy, dealership operations consulting and Lightspeed/EVO training.

Contact: Forrest@powersportsmc.comor

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