High turnover and burnout rates of social workers have been a problem for a long time. Social workers burn out from large caseloads, little or no guidance or support, and a stressful work environment with low pay and long working hours. While many social workers are very committed to their job, review of literature shows burnout directly relates to a lack of organizational and professional commitment, lack of social support, and stress. There are many solutions agencies can consider to prevent high burnout and turnover. The most cost effective solutions include careful screening of suitable applicants, communicating the agency's values and goals to employees, rewarding good job performance, and improved supervisory guidance and support.
Worker burnout often causes high turnover rates; a serious concern for many areas of social work services. According to Kraus (2002), child welfare agencies and health care agencies experience turnover rates of up to 50 percent compared to a 10 percent turnover rate for all other government agencies. The high turnover rate impacts society greatly because many private and government agencies employ social workers. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (as cited by Barth, 2003) lists 12 areas of social work; Gibleman and Schervish (as cited by Barth, 2003) added 5 more areas. Social work encompasses a wide variety of services.
The quality, consistency, and stability of social services provided to individuals and families inevitably suffer from worker burnout; especially, when workers leave their positions and other employees have to pick up the slack....