Are your team members losing the motivation to work? Do you think they lack energy and work satisfaction is what you are witnessing these days? And when approached for communication or solutions to problems, the employee goes around being impatient and has a defensive approach. The common conclusion to all these symptoms is “Burnout”.
Burnout not only affects employee performance at work, but it could have a direct impact on their personal lives. It’s important for employers to understand the effects of burnout, and understand how to spot it quickly before it becomes too late.
This article addresses the common signs of burnout and provides recommendations on how to address it.
What is Burnout Syndrome?
Commonly described as either physical or emotional exhaustion that reduces productivity or accomplishments level. Some of the common symptoms of burnout includes:
- Always exhausted or tired. It shows the physical and mental outrush in the employees’ productivity.
- Have a negative approach to tasks, any new assignments, or opinions asked.
- Unable to meet deadlines, quality of work is insufficient, or shows a lack of interest.
However, if you are not really sure about the exact symptoms, you can check out the following table.
Symptoms Of Burnout
Visible Character Traits
Neglected video chats
Less eye contact
Trail off from messages
No quick email replies
Slower response to messages
Lack of personal interests
Cynicism among employees
No interest in personal life
Constant energy loss
No creative ideas
Strategies To Address Employee Burnout
It’s so important as employers to understand the effects of burnout and see how we can prevent or resolve it. Here are a few ways to help resolve the issue of burnout at your workplace.
1. Increase employee/manager check-in frequency
Start by keeping track of the assigned workload that your employees have. It shouldn’t go beyond the capacity of any individual’s capability. Understand that putting an employee under pressure can easily diminish their interest to work. The performance an individual has to offer to work, and their satisfaction in their jobs is balanced by the amount of projects they are assigned with.
Keep the assigned workload sustainable for the long run and to keep track of it, do more frequent check-ins, and make sure the tasks you assign are achievable. However, don’t do it too frequently. Having bi-weekly one-on-one meetings should work in your favor rather than just relying on annual reviews which are too infrequent. This will help you identify whether any employee is overworked and address it immediately.
According to a Gallup employee engagement survey, only 30% of employees and 35% of managers are engaged at work. And this leads to miscommunication between teams. Avoid this by increasing your check-in frequency, which leads to better engagement between employees.
2. Set realistic and achievable tasks
Once you’ve identified burnout, it’s important to put a plan in place to remedy it. With more frequent check-ins mentioned above, it is easier to track tasks and stay ahead of how much effort employees put into their tasks. Overworking is one key cause of burnout, which needs to be addressed fairly. Sometimes, underperformance occurs due to the mismatch of employees’ abilities.
In such a scenario, be mindful of the assigned tasks. Do not set unrealistic expectations. At the start, employees have a greater sense of importance when they are assigned multiple responsibilities. However, when the expectations of deliverables are not met, employees might feel demotivated. And eventually removing them from assigned tasks might make them feel demoralized or give them the impression that they’ve failed.
To reduce the effect of burnout, start by providing an overview of the upcoming tasks and projects. Help your employees stay organized by assigning tasks based on the order of priority, or remove tasks that are outside the employees’ work abilities. Setting ambitious goals are great, however, having unachievable goals might potentially cause burnout. Be realistic while creating objectives and key results with employees.
3. Allow employees to take a break when needed
Overworking can be one of the main reasons for employee burnout. It could also be the pressure of handling multiple tasks, or given unrealistic work expectations from their employers. Sometimes, all that is needed in such a situation, is to take a step back.
Each employee has a unique way of dealing with work schedules and thus, should be considered accordingly. Make sure, to mention that PTO can be used for days to reset and recharge. By setting a precedent that mental health is valued by your organization, your employees will prioritize it for quick recovery.
Let’s figure out a way, where we don’t even have to go through the above remedial approaches in the first place!
How To Prevent It From Happening In The First Place!
If you’re a member of the company’s leadership or the HR team, you can:
- Provide advice to your company’s managers on how to manage employee engagement. It can be carried out by conducting workshops or engagement activities.
- Promote a healthy work schedule where employees work during a pre-designed time. Though, you should choose to keep it flexible.
- Consider cultural problems and try to keep them transparent. Focus on resolving any issues that come across.
- Craft a mental health policy where managers and employees are aware of assistance programs, counseling services, and insurance provided by the organization.
- Keep in mind the roles and responsibilities of the particular individual when you delegate the tasks.
- Do frequent check-ins. You can choose to have zoom calls, or regular meetings, where it is just about weekly updates. Such discussion and details could help you stay connected.
- Follow an open-door policy for all the team members. Be a good listener and encourage your team to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions.
- Respect your team’s personal space and time. When asked for leave or time off, don’t barge in too much. Sometimes, let employees have their own time.
- Advocate for resources whenever they are needed. Don’t let existing employees go through a lot of work, that is sometimes beyond their capability. Understand your team’s training needs and find educational opportunities.
- Stop your employees from overworking. It is as simple as that! Show them the importance of taking a leave, and how it improves their performance.
As managers not only is their role to ensure each employee is performing at work, but also ensure that their well-being are taken care of. A transparent workplace with a well-planned policy to support employees can help them stay protected from such a scenario in the first place.
Burnout is a far-reaching and serious issue in any modern-day workplace. When you recognize signs of burnout in your employees, show empathy. Make sure your employees feel comfortable enough to communicate about the issues, and if they can not, allow them to take a break from work to recharge.