Agent burnout is a significant issue that affects various industries, including contact centers. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished personal accomplishment (Leiter & Maslach, 1988). In the context of contact centers, several factors contribute to burnout among employees. A literature review on burnout in contact centers identified sociodemographic factors, internal factors (such as emotional intelligence and mindfulness), and external factors (such as workload and conflicts) as potential causes of burnout (Fulaedzah, 2022). Additionally, the relational job design perspective suggests that frequent contact with customers in contact centers can lead to burnout, but it can also promote positive outcomes such as increased intrinsic motivation and satisfaction with work (Gonçalves et al., 2019).
It is important to address burnout in contact centers because it has detrimental effects on both individuals and organizations. Burnout can lead to decreased job satisfaction, increased turnover rates, and reduced productivity (Chambel et al., 2021). To combat burnout, interventions should focus on increasing job relational characteristics and promoting positive work outcomes (Gonçalves et al., 2019). Tailored programs of intervention are necessary, especially during challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further exacerbated burnout among contact center workers (Răducu & Stănculescu, 2022).
Understanding the factors that contribute to burnout is crucial for developing effective strategies to prevent and mitigate its impact. Job demands, such as emotional labor, intensity/variety, and customer contact, have been found to increase burnout, while job resources, such as social support and autonomy, decrease it (Kim & Wang, 2018). Therefore, organizations should prioritize creating a supportive work environment and providing resources to help employees cope with the demands of their job.
At WFM Labs, we recognize agent burnout is a complex issue that requires attention in contact centers. By implementing new and innovative processes, leveraging AI, and the massive data sets generated by contact centers, we can identify factors that contribute to burnout among contact center employees. It is important for organizations to implement both detection and intervention mechanisms that focus on increasing job relational characteristics, promoting positive work outcomes, and providing resources to help employees cope with job demands.
By advancing our technology and processes, workforce management can play a lead role in addressing burnout. Adopting next-generation WFM practices will lead to improved employee well-being, job satisfaction, and overall organizational performance.
Leiter, M. and Maslach, C. (1988). The impact of interpersonal environment on burnout and organizational commitment. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 9(4), 297-308.
Fulaedzah, I. (2022). Burnout on contact center: a literature review. Interdisciplinary Social Studies, 1(4), 383-402. Link
Gonçalves, C., Chambel, M., & Carvalho, V. (2019). Combating burnout by increasing job relational characteristics. Journal of Career Development, 47(5), 538-550.
Chambel, M., Carvalho, V., Lopes, S., & Cesário, F. (2021). Perceived overqualification and contact center workers’ burnout: are motivations mediators?. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 29(5), 1337-1349.
Kim, S. and Wang, J. (2018). The role of job demands–resources (jdr) between service workers’ emotional labor and burnout: new directions for labor policy at local government. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(12), 2894.
Răducu, C. and Stănculescu, E. (2022). Personality and socio-demographic variables in teacher burnout during the covid-19 pandemic: a latent profile analysis. Scientific Reports, 12(1).