Employee burnout is one of the most common situations in today’s corporate world. Ever noticed how a new employee joins the organization and seems full of energy and excitement initially, but then they become emotionally wasted and ultimately not that productive as they used to be after some time goes by? You probably must have already got your answer by now.
This situation might signal what is called employee burnout which is bad news for any organization. Contrary to popular belief, it is the organization and managers that have the onus of tackling employee burnout more than the employee himself.
What exactly is employee burnout?
What are its causes and symptoms? The World Health Organization has officially recognized employee burnout as a medical diagnosis. Employee burnout refers to a psychological and physiological syndrome in the occupational context resulting from chronic stress at the workplace that hasn’t been successfully managed.
There can be a long list of causes for employee burnout wherein it is typically a combination of two or more factors that lead to its occurrence. Let’s check out a few of them:
There is ambiguity and/or conflict in the job role.
- The job demands a lot when it comes to duties and responsibilities leading to increased workload.
- You seldom get the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
- There is a lack of feedback from the seniors or those in charge on what’s going wrong or what can be made better at the workplace. This can also be directly linked to a lack of social support.
If that sounds relatable, look out for the following signs and symptoms to identify employee burnout: · A significant decline in the employees’ health leading to stress, depression, exhaustion, lack of quality sleep, or even sickness.
- Absence from work without explanation or showing up late and leaving office early.
- Lack of enthusiasm/motivation at work and a feeling of emptiness/exhaustion leading to a decrease in productivity/efficiency levels and more mistakes.
- An increased indulgence in cynicism, self-doubt, negativity, and sarcasm at the workplace leads to reduced job satisfaction levels and increased employee turnovers.
How can managers respond to employee burnout?
Employee burnout often creates a vicious cycle that costs organizations billions. This happens when they gauge the loss of productivity in their employees. Therefore, managers need to play a major role in reshaping the dynamics of the workplace. This will ensure that employees are efficient and working at their full potential. Here are some of the ways in which you, as great managers, can respond to employee burnout:
- Identify what motivates each employee (different employees have different motivations) and respond with an appropriate strategy for each to increase the existing levels. You can encourage stress relievers as well like telecommuting, flexible work hours/workspace, and some time off work too.
- Show them that you care for their welfare by appreciating their hard work and achievements and expressing your gratitude on a regular basis. This will boost the morale of the employee and lead him to perform even better the next time.
- Hold regular staff/team meetings so that you can openly communicate your concerns and feedback with each other/boss and resolve matters instantly. Emphasize more on building the positives of each employee and downplay the negatives. This will help you project the image that you are the employee’s advocate and not their critic.
- Clarify job expectations and requirements with your employee. So that there is no confusion and you’re on the same page while performing your duties.
- You can also consider increasing the compensation for the employee. This can be done if he/she’s been performing well in the past. Also, you can even give them bonuses for outstanding work.
- You can exercise job rotation or introduce more creative tasks that stimulate the employees’ thinking and make them more enthusiastic in their work.
- As managers create career growth paths for their employees by helping them obtain new skills through regular training sessions both inside and outside the company. This will help them better adapt to and deal with unforeseen challenges without fear.
- Support employee health and wellbeing by encouraging their participation in employee assistance programs. Moreover, introduce wellness initiatives that will improve their productivity and fitness levels.
Some of the successfull company examples to show how employers have dealt with employee burnouts:
Company examples to handle burnout
- PepsiCo India – They have sown a great concern for their employee healthcare. They have given their employees extended weekends during the Covid-19 pandemic. While they have been working from home they can relax and spend more time with their family.
- Daimler – They have created a program called Mail on Holiday. This will automatically delete any incoming mails to an employee while they’re out of the office. It also allows the sender to either forward the same message to a colleague or resend it to the concerned employee when he’s back to work.
- Sarva India – They give each employee leave every second Friday. So that they can enjoy the long weekends with their loved ones. Moreover, they can do activities or things that they love. They’re also working out ways to make their workweek shorter.
Employee burnout can indeed become a destructive force if its signs aren’t recognized and successfully dealt with on time. As managers of small businesses and startups, you must invest sufficient time to be in touch with your employee’s state of wellbeing. So that you can better your chances of avoiding employee burnout.
You need to create an environment that everyone appreciates being in. This is beneficial for your employees in a long term and helps solve issues of burnouts in organizations. Happy employees will always make more efforts than their capability for a greater organization with enough motivation.
Their mental and physical health, wellness, safety, and maintaining their happy emotions consistently is the responsibility of their employer. That’s when growth, success, wealth, and development will always take place, at the end of the day.