“Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism, detachment and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment” Psychology Today.
And the people who are most likely to suffer from burnout are you high achievers, your super-staff.
Because they’re passionate, committed and often they think they can do anything and everything.
But the thing is; human beings can only take so much!
We are not robots.
Why do people get “burnout?”
Burnout occurs when immense pressure is put on a person, culminating in “chronic stress.” This pressure could be caused by one or numerous things, depending on the person’s situation.
At work, that could be…
- Job insecurity.
- Lack of feedback, leading to anxiety and uncertainty.
- Clashes with other staff members.
- Feeling undervalued.
- Not feeling like a part of the team.
The point is; it’s complex and there is no one-size-fits-all explanation or solution.
Why should you care?
Well, other than the fact that your employees are human beings and you obviously don’t want them to suffer… you can also expect to see marked increases in:
- Staff turnover.
- Arguments and bad relationships.
All of which are obviously awful for your company.
How do you spot burnout?
Most of us have probably come across a burnt out individual in our time; the one who walks out and quits in a whirlwind of drama, the person who completely loses it at the boss for pushing too hard, or the one who sends a company-wide email about how crappy the management team are…
But before it goes that far, there are early warning signs we can look out for:
- Physical exhaustion. Are they constantly tired, under the weather or even physically ill?
- Emotional exhaustion. Has their personality changed? Do they seem more upset or angrier than usual, or perhaps more withdrawn and defensive?
- Cynicism and detachment. Do they always think the worst and do they struggle to find enjoyment in anything?
- Lack of accomplishment. Has their work started to suffer? Have they given up?
It’s important to catch these warning signs early on, before it’s too late.
What do you do then?
Sit down with your employee and work out exactly where the problem lies…
- Is it their workload?
- Are they confused and anxious about their job performance?
- Is it something to do with their personal life?
(Or if there even is a problem… maybe they are just tired.)
Then, together come up with a solution.
- Ease their workload or extend the deadline so it’s more achievable.
- Set up monthly performance reviews.
- Offer temporary flexible working hours or a couple of days off to work things out.
Believe me; your employee will really appreciate your support and concern.
How can I prevent burnout?
Obviously, the best case scenario is avoiding burnout altogether. So here’s how to do that…
1. Don’t overwork your employees.
Seriously; just stop.
- Set reasonable targets.
- Pay people for doing overtime (in excess) and always make it voluntary.
- Encourage your employees to take their breaks.
We should all know by now that overworking employees makes them unhappier and much less productive in the long run. So why bother?
2. Be supportive, always.
This sounds SO simple. But it’s shocking how many managers out there just don’t really make the effort with their staff members.
This hands-off approach (“they’re big boys and girls, they can handle it themselves”) is only going to make your team feel undervalued and unhappy.
Recruiter Pro Tip
Plus, if you don’t bother to get to know your staff and to support them, you won’t know when potential problems arise!
A great manager will be the first to notice a change in morale or productivity in the office, which means they’ll also be able to fix the problem, quickly.
Get to know your staff members and support them.
3. Encourage relationships within the team.
Who wants to be stuck in an office with people they don’t like?
As a manager, you should be encouraging your employees to socialise, to build friendships with and to support each other. You can do that by…
If you build a sense of community and friendship, your team will be happier and will stick around for longer.
4. Train them, properly.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to muddle through a task, because you haven’t had the necessary training.
Invest in your staff members so that they can get on with their job.
This will not only make them more productive (and less stressed) but will also help them to feel valued (knowing that you are willing to invest in them).
5. Give them the tools they need.
The same goes for any tools your employees might need to complete their job.
We all know about ergonomics, but what about other tools could help to speed along your employees’ workload, take the pressure off and reduce the risk of burnout?
The investment is worth it, I promise.
6. Reward your employees.
Firstly, you should always pay your employees what they deserve to be paid. If you don’t, they’re going to feel completely undervalued, overworked and resentful.
And always take the time to say “thank you” and “congrats” for a job well done.
This will really boost morale (and productivity) in your office and keep people feeling happier for longer. (No one likes to feel undervalued and uncared for).
7. Never (ever) tolerate bullying.
If you allow bullying, bitching, moaning and gossiping in your office, you really are asking for trouble.
What may seem like harmless fun could soon escalate and the thing is; you just don’t know how everyone will take it!
Try to keep this kind of negativity to a minimum and encourage friendships and fun instead.
Your employees deserve to be happy! And to make them happy you should…
- Build and encourage relationships.
- Be supportive.
- Invest in your employees.
- Show how much you appreciate your staff.
- End bullying in the workplace, forever.
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Or if you’d like to find out more about burnout, check out these articles…
- How to Reduce Stress at Work: 6 Simple Strategies Anyone Can Follow [Infographic]
- How to Protect Your Employees From Burnout
- How to Prevent Employee Burnout