Prime the pump
December 20, 2019
Why star employees’ passion dissipates?

A friend reached out to me recently in a state of ‘brownout’. She claimed that she loves her job, shows up and is present, is one of her organization’s biggest supporters, goes above and beyond the call of duty, but that she has been feeling demotivated and overwhelmed for a long time. She wants out.

Unlike average performers, star employees do not start slacking off when they think about leaving, if anything, they work hardest right before they leave. As a result, disengaged top performers operate in a “silent state of continual overwhelm.”

Welcome back to our discussion on “Brownout”. Today we look at why star employees’ passion dissipates. Christina Thompson of Employee Lifecycle in an article titled “What is Employee Brownout? Why Star Employees Leave and What They Know”, identified some of the main causes for that lack of passion.

According to Thompson, star employees leave because managers fail to challenge them. Top performers are not satisfied with being underutilized. They want work that challenge their skills and knowledge. Thompson said if you fail to provide top performers with something, they can really sink their teeth into, they will go looking for it elsewhere.

Star employees will leave if they are continuously overworked. When an employee is a diligent and efficient producer, managers often feel like they can assign more and more work. Thompson said that while the employee can handle the increased workload, doing more of the same will lead to burnout and fatigue. She said your employees may be willing to stay late to help in a bind; but when she logs overtime Monday through Friday, she’s going to start looking somewhere else.

Star employees are always looking to grow. “While growth can come from work projects, it can and should also come from more formalized education, mentorship, and paths for promotion,” said Thompson. If you fail to develop your star employees, they will go to another organization that is willing to invest in them.

“However, brownout does not solely affect your employees. Leaders who are suffering from brownout can be incredibly toxic for the work environment, often negatively infiltrating the company culture by ignoring new ideas, not supporting new talent or by generally becoming withdrawn from their role.”

Don’t ignore the brownout signs.

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