Prime the pump
December 13, 2019

Dont lose your employees to ‘Brownout’

Dear Manager, please accept this letter as notice that I will be resigning from my job. Would you be surprised if most of your star performers were to abruptly resign? Employees who never complaint, put in long hours, work with little or no supervision and are key contributors to the team. The Harvard Business Review states that 1/3 of “star” employees feel disengaged from their employer and are already looking for another job.

In recent years, a less-known form of work-related stress has been recognized by coaches and business psychologists alike: “brownout.” The term originates from the energy industry, where a drop of voltage in electrical power causes lights to either dim or flicker. In the working world, employees who suffer from this condition experience a similar drop in their energy levels, becoming disengaged and demotivated and suffering from a complete lack of interest in their job.

In an article titled “Don’t Lose Your Top Employees Because of Brownout”, Entrepreneur Contributor, Sydney Lucken said brownout can have long-term effects on a person’s professional and personal life. She stressed that the main reason why brownout is so problematic is because workers afflicted by it do not show obvious signs that they are in this overwhelmed and disengaged state.

Therefore, many employers are shocked when their top performers abruptly resign and jump ship to a new employer.

Today we look at a couple suggestions from Travis Bradberry, award-winning co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart® on how managers can prevent brownout and retain their top performers.

  •  Active Partnering – Find a way to support your employees’ goals professionally and personally. Talk to them regularly to learn what is most important to them and show an interest in their interest.
  • Recognize accomplishments – Top performers are intrinsically motivated. Employees who feel valued are significantly more likely to stick around.
  • Show you care – There can be a balance between being professional and being human. Have some empathy – it’s impossible to work for someone every day if they don’t care about anything other than your output.
  • Support their passions – People who can pursue passions at work experience a state of mind that is 5x more productive than the norm.

Join us again next week as we look at more preventive methods and how leaders who experience “brownout” can impact their organization.

Visit us at or’ll help you get noticed.