Sometimes, it’s easy to spot employee burnout. Sometimes it’s not. Among the sufferers may be your best performers. Those who are typically on top of every task begin missing deadlines, showing up late – or not at all – to meetings, or turning in substandard work.
In any worker, you may notice behavioral changes like rudeness, aggression, apathy or hypersensitivity to feedback or constructive criticism.
What’s an employer to do?
Understand the Causes
Knowing what causes burnout can help you determine whether an employee is suffering from it, as well as how to treat it. Triggers may vary based on individual personalities and temperaments, but there are some common origins, such as:
- Unrealistic goals and deadlines. You may come to expect more from employees who consistently overproduce. These superachievers come to feel overwhelmed and burned out, especially if they work in high-pressure jobs or in positions that are mostly isolated. Be sure to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound) goals for all your workers and allocate hours, support and resources so they can realistically meet them.
- Is it really burnout? Get to know your employees well enough that you can easily identify changes in their demeanor and tell whether they are attributed to burnout or another factor, such as a personal problem at home.
Make it clear that your employees can approach you at any time to discuss their concerns and issues, including feeling overwhelmed, bored or stressed out.
- Hold regular one-on-one meetings with employees. These can be structured, as in weekly meetings in your office, or impromptu chats at their work site. Especially if you notice signs of burnout, schedule dedicated time to meet and give your employee the time they need to vent and work on a resolution.
- Give your employees a voice. Practice active listening. This means allowing workers to voice their frustrations and opinions in complete confidence, without fear of retribution. Avoid jumping in to give advice or offer solutions, at least initially.
- Group discussions also can be helpful, especially if you perceive an overall sentiment of staff burnout. Make staff meetings a priority, so your team members have a regular forum in which to share anxieties as well as ideas. Encourage co-workers to step in, make suggestions, and help one another in the process.
Break the Monotony
Mix up the tedium of the typical workday, especially if people are charged with completing the same tasks day after day, week after week.
- Cross train. Teaching employees some or all the typical duties of their counterparts has numerous advantages. They can help each other when one has a slower week and take on urgent needs when a colleague is on vacation our out of work unexpectedly. You may even discover that some tasks are better suited to other staff members’ personalities and strengths, which benefits everyone in the long run.
- Make work more fun. Establish enjoyable group activities. If there’s no time during the workday, arrange get-togethers afterwards or on weekends. This could be a group trip to a sporting event, a Happy Hour or a picnic. Employees who can laugh, be creative, and enjoy one another’s company from time to time will be better equipped to handle their workloads.
The recruitment and workforce development experts at Employment Professionals Canada can partner with you on the solutions you need to maintain high morale, engagement and productivity amongst your workforce. Contact us today for more information.