One aspect of employee engagement that is minimally discussed in the public relations literature is employee burnout. Burnout was initially established and investigated in the human resource literature and is conceptualized as the opposite of engagement (Gonzalez-Roma, Schaufeli, Bakker, & Lloret, 2006). Specifically, the Job-Demands-Resources (J-D-R) model demonstrates the two processes that lead to job burnout include the high demands of a job and a lack of job resources (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007).
Despite some advances in the scholarly conversation on burnout and disengagement, we (professionals and scholars alike) don’t spend much time and effort looking into how to help employees cope with burnout. Instead, we focus on how organizations can increase employee engagement through programming or improved processes. However, employee engagement cannot be addressed if a workforce is burned out. Given our current world, I suspect that many industries and organizations are faced with employees who are simply burned out. To speak from experience, I know academics are experiencing such burnout, and the fall semester has yet to begin.