Employee burnout occurs when an employee experiences extreme exhaustion. It is often the result of an employee experiencing both physical and mental stress for a prolonged period of time.
Job burnout can happen to an employee at any level within the company. If managers do not address the situation, feelings of frustration and indifference toward the company’s mission among exhausted employees often spread. Generalized absenteeism may rise. The quality of other team members’ work may suffer as well.
Furthermore, employees may choose to look for new jobs rather than continue working in a negative atmosphere.
What are the Signs of Job Burnout?
An employee who is experiencing burnout is different from an employee that lacks motivation. In fact, it is common for employees who previously turned in outstanding work and met every deadline cheerfully to be the first ones to experience burnout. If your former star employee starts to miss deadlines or begins to deliver subpar work, they may have a burnout problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an employee who is experiencing job burnout typically fails to meet deadlines. They turn in poor quality work. It is common for them to be hostile and argumentative towards other team members and management.
Another clear sign that job burnout is present is when the employee begins to voice bitter thoughts about work. An employee who openly badmouths the company or the management team is no longer prioritizing their job above the desire to vent frustration. If they are muttering to colleagues about looking for a new job or trying to persuade other workers to leave the company, then they are likely experiencing burnout.
HR Review points out that absenteeism is a significant warning sign of employee burnout. Many workers mistake feelings of exhaustion for actual illness and begin to use up their sick days more often. Others genuinely believe that all they need is a few days of rest and use up available vacation time. If a dedicated employee starts scheduling many doctor’s appointments or begins taking more vacation days than usual in a short span of time, it is safe to assume that they could be experiencing burnout.
What Can Managers or Business Owners do to Reduce Burnout Among Their Staff?
Managers and business owners must be proactive in reducing job burnout among their staff. It starts with cultivating policies that minimize job burnout. Creative methods aimed at remotivating employees who have begun to feel work-related exhaustion may also be needed.
Avoiding employee burnout is critical when trying to keep your employee satisfied, engaged and productive. Here are some tips to follow if you want to keep your best employees not only happy and productive but excited about staying with your company and developing their careers as members of your team.
10 Keys to Reducing Job Burnout and Fostering Long-Term Company Success
1. Establishing a healthy level of communication between management and staff
Without meaningful communication between management and employees, how will managers know that their employees are struggling? One good example of identifying a communication problem and altering processes to help promote healthier communications is when Adobe decided to do away with yearly performance reviews. Instead, their “Check-in” program keeps managers and their team members in constant communication about goals and methods for achieving them. This system keeps communication flowing and allows managers to uncover problems and find potential solutions before the employees become frustrated, and projects begin to stagnate.
2. Ensuring that employees feel empowered at work
Example: to continue using Adobe’s “Check-In” system, one aspect of the program involves an Employee Resource Center. The resource center provides tools that enable employees to receive the help they need resolving any issues they may be experiencing. Not only is the identification of employee problems important, it’s also crucial that the company act on the feedback they receive from employees. One area in which this could be put into practice is the employee scheduling process. A good way to empower employees is to allow them to have a say in their schedule and when they can or can’t work. That’s why it’s a good idea for the staff schedule maker in any company to regularly check in with staff to find out what shifts they prefer to work and why.
3. Maintaining a low-stress environment
While many of the methods that can decrease staff stress levels are fairly involved, there are also simple things that you can do to enhance the physical work environment in a way that lowers stress among employees. One example is making sure that employees keep their workspaces clean and tidy. Psychology Today published a detailed report on how clutter adds to mental stress levels. Little things like making sure that the workplace is clean and employees workspaces are neat and orderly can be considered a good first step towards decreasing stress levels at work.
4. Empowering employees to maintain a proper balance between their professional and private life
When employees achieve proper work-life balance, they will reward you with higher productivity and better retention rates. However, one common problem is employees being unable to disconnect from work even when they are not at the office. Companies sometimes encourage employees to remain plugged into work even when they are on vacation.
5. Giving employees the resources they need to improve their physical and mental wellness
Consider offering perks at the workplace that can benefit your employees’ physical health. Install a small gym or offer gym membership as a benefit to employees. Take walks with your team after lunch and hold meetings while walking around the neighborhood whenever possible. Even having a small room set aside with exercise mats and free weights would allow employees to get in a quick workout or yoga routine during their lunch hour, as many companies do according to WorkingMother. Employees spend a great deal of time at the workplace, so it makes sense to create a space where they can work to improve their physical health.
6. Streamlining the employee scheduling process
If you are a manager that is creating schedules for hourly employees with varying shift schedules, you need to optimize this process in order to avoid job burnout and keep yourself from burning out just as quickly.
In this case, technology can help you turn this sometimes overwhelming process into a more efficient, streamlined one. Employee scheduling software allows managers to create accurate schedules for their employees in the cloud and takes minutes instead of hours. It also offers employee time tracking options that make it easy for managers to know when their employees have clocked in and out, which makes the creation of accurate timesheets for payroll a much more straightforward process.
Furthermore, hourly employees are commonly people who are either attending school, have other jobs or need to create their schedules around their family obligations. These types of employees frequently need to swap shifts with coworkers in order to keep up with their business schedules. Shift trading is incredibly easy with employee scheduling software. Employees can request shift trades from their phones and managers can quickly analyze the shift trade requests and either deny or approve the requests from anywhere with a couple of clicks.
7. Making overtime an exception rather than the rule
Having a good work-life balance is very important when it comes to avoiding job burnout, which is why you definitely should try to avoid overtime if at all possible. This is another area in which having an online employee scheduling solution can help. Scheduling software allows you to distribute your shifts more evenly so that no one is working overtime if they don’t have to. This saves you money and saves employees from working long, difficult hours on a regular basis and eventually burning out.
Employee time-card systems may help identify areas that managers could streamline and help calculate overtime and other rate costs better.
8. Encourage workers to spread their talents out over multiple jobs
Sometimes workers pursue an outside, personal interest and hope to make a little money out of a passion project. Showing that you are supportive of it will help the employee feel like a valued team member and encourage loyalty to the company. According to a survey done by Career Builder in 2016, a whopping 71 percent of employees with a side gig have no desire to leave the company. Supporting the side gig gives the employee an outlet to set aside time for things that may interest them more than what they are doing at your company. But at the same time, what they do at your company gives them the support and stability that they need to pursue their passions, so it’s a win-win situation on both sides of the coin.
9. Staying open to changing roles
An employee who has received cross training and development opportunities is less likely to become frustrated with the company in general. They are more likely to stay on in another role if or move up in rank, which is a great way to avoid job burnout. By helping your employees to succeed, training them for future managerial positions and allowing them to learn while continuing to work with you, there’s a great chance that you will be rewarded by having a great, long-term employee with a small chance of ever burning out because they find their experience with you to be very rewarding and diverse.
10. Let employees know that they are appreciated
The Incentive Research Foundation published eye-opening statistics about the ROI of employee recognition. For instance, one out of three employees feels that management doesn’t recognize their work. Also, 24 percent of them say that a kind word from the CEO or the owner is the best recognition of all. Prioritize handing out bonuses for work well done or publicly commending an employee who has gone above and beyond. BusinessWire.com shared that companies with high engagement levels showed 28 percent higher earnings over a 12-month period. These numbers make it clear that happy employees produce more and experience less turnover. Keeping employees happy and productive by letting them know that they’re doing a great job is another way to make sure that your best talent never burns out and stays with you for the long haul.