The term “burnout” is commonly used in the professional workspace. Metaphorically, it occurs when your internal fire is dimming and there is little fuel left, resulting in a lack of productivity, higher stress, a negative attitude, and a general inability to give your best.
Burnout can result from both physical and emotional exhaustion. The American Psychological Association’s Work & Well-Being Survey 2021 revealed the following findings about workplace stress and burnout:
- 70% of workers experienced job-related stress in the month before this survey
- 60% percent complained of negative effects of work-related stress such as low motivation, lack of interest, energy, and effort at work
- 44% reported physical fatigue
- 32% reported emotional exhaustion
What Causes Burnout?
Employee burnout does not happen overnight. It is a series of triggers that occur over time and can cause even the best employee to become exhausted and disengaged, sometimes to the point of resignation. Some common causes of employee burnout include:
- Feeling undervalued and/or unappreciated
- Toxic supervisors
- No career progression
- Unclear/impossible work expectations
- Insufficient compensation
- Poor leadership
Unfortunately, rather than addressing the root cause of burnout, some companies incorrectly turn to higher compensation, fun perks, and modification of job titles to address the problem. These are short-term solutions. If the root cause is left unaddressed, the problem inevitability resurfaces again.
This might explain why the turnover rate in your organization is high and you have to seek the services of recruiters who specialize in MFG staffing solutions or general staffing services to find new candidates to fill open positions.
Ways to Address Burnout and Champion Employee Wellbeing
Once employees lost motivation and the drive to continuously improve, it’s hard to engage them. As the problem escalates, your human resource department will have to revise its talent acquisition strategy to not only retain existing employees but also attract and hire suitable talent all over again in case of increased turnover.
Here are some ways employers can address employee burnout and improve the workplace culture:
Detect Potential Stressors Within the Workplace
Burnout results from prolonged exposure to stressors, of which there can be many. The practical first course of action is to identify these stressors that exist within the work environment and work to mitigate them as efficiently as possible. Common types of stressors include unrealistic deadlines, micro-management, scheduling conflicts, etc.
Make Employee Wellbeing a Priority
Employees take better care of themselves when a company prioritizes their well-being and makes it an imperative part of the culture.
On the other hand, a culture that supports working during personal time, excessively long work hours, and putting work ahead of family and personal life, is bound to induce burnout.
Similarly, in a culture where leaders commission their subordinates to meet performance expectations at all costs, employees feel disrespected, underappreciated, and unsupported. All these feelings could contribute to burnout.
Besides workplace experiences, some external stressors such as family/relationship issues, financial problems, health issues, and social disadvantages can also be contributing factors. Offer your employees the support they need to overcome these challenges.
An EAP program that offers resources for emotional and mental well-being can help. Businesses can also consider revising the job benefits if possible and include perks such as pet sitting and grocery delivery services too for alleviating stress.
Educate Managers About Burnout
Organizations must provide managers with the right training and tools they need to foster a productive work environment. When managers make the effort to understand the causes of burnout and are willing to change the way they lead their employees, chances are it will prevent burnout. That will demonstrate their dedication to their employees’ well-being and professional success.
It is imperative to improve the company leadership style and any associated internal processes that could be potential stressors. Here are some ways to bring about immediate improvement:
Set Clear Expectations
Start by setting clear expectations and make sure everyone is on the same page. If issues are present, don’t allow them to slide; instead, address them head-on.
Provide your staff with the tools needed to engage in active listening. This is the first step in establishing an environment of transparent, open communication. Employees must feel comfortable enough to ask questions and raise their own concerns. Create a company-wide strategy for a free flow of communication to facilitate positive change.
Be Understanding and Empathetic
Managers must acknowledge that there will always be something in their team’s personal life that they aren’t aware of. Therefore, a simple question like “how is it going?” can go a long way in helping team members to express themselves. Make it a regular practice to hold one-on-one meetings that aren’t about work to start a friendly conversation.
Be Approachable and Proactive
Let the team members know you are always available if they need help. Besides simply listening, be accommodating enough to offer a solution.
Support Flexible Work Schedules
Employee behavior has changed after the pandemic. The candidates reaching out to mortgage recruiters and recruiters, in general, are in search of employment with a flexible work schedule. Therefore, offer a flexible work schedule.
Establish core working hours for meetings and other important stuff. Outside the core working hours, trust your employees to complete their tasks when they are most productive.
Create a Culture of Emotions
Don’t be among those employers who consciously avoid dealing with the emotional aspects of their employees’ lives. Such managers only focus on building a cognitive culture that includes intellectual values, assumptions, and norms that set the tone for how employees must think and behave at work. The truth is, emotions are central to building the right culture.
Failure to understand how emotions contribute to the well-being of the workplace culture can bring damaging consequences. By embracing a culture of emotions, you are creating a safe space for your employees, empowering them to feel comfortable expressing their concerns and feelings.
Increase Recognition and Appreciation
If a business has to seek out a staffing agency more than often because of a high employee turnover, maybe it’s time to reconsider its rewards and recognition program. Lack or absence of appreciation can be a leading cause of employee demotivation. Don’t downplay the significance of their accomplishments. Show appreciation!
Micromanagement often results in anxiety, frustrates employees, and may lead to burnout. Avoid it at all costs. Set objectives for your team, listen and guide them instead of micromanaging. The right approach is to trust your employees and give them enough autonomy and ownership to complete the tasks expected of them.
Support Work-Life Balance
Employees prefer a job that supports work-life balance. Of course, every organization has vacations as a standard perk, but that’s rarely enough to cure employee burnout. Allow a certain amount of vacation time to roll over rather than having a use-it-or-lose-it PTO policy. Some firms have mandated that all employees take a minimum amount of vacation time, which amounts to one vacation day each year.
If an employee constantly feels the need to work overtime to finish up their regular tasks, this might mean their workload needs to be reassessed. In case they need help with prioritizing their tasks and remaining productive, offer them support.
No workplace is completely stress-free, however, with the help of these strategies and tips, you can identify and address the indicators and triggers within your organization, and show your employees you care.