No matter how loyal your top talent may be to the company or how deeply you have stacked your labor bench, your employees are susceptible to burnout. Unfortunately, it is the employees that are the most engaged with their jobs and the company that often fall victim to exhaustion first. Engagement is seen as the golden ticket to company success and low employee turnover, but it can have adverse consequences as well. Too much engagement can create undue stress upon those that are working the hardest.
Dealing With Burnout
There are a lot of names for burnout, but any state of emotional, physical, or mental exhaustion that complicates a perceived value in the work or an employee’s personal competence is a classic sign that a breaking point has been reached. Smartphones and connected devices have made it easier for employees to remain at the beck and call of their clients, accounts, or tasks, but it also makes it more likely that an individual isn’t pursuing a healthy work/life balance. If you want to put the brakes on the toxic consequences of low morale, turnover, and decreased productivity, it is time to take action.
Tools for Reducing Burnout
To head it off that pass, your company can address potential problems with burnout by honestly assessing the workload and expectations placed upon employees. Team-based projects often have individuals pulled in several different directions but with little guidance on appropriate levels of engagement. Employees are forced to manage their time in impossible ways, with management having little understanding of the overall workload. Managers, as well as those in human resources, need to define the role of a position or individual and assess whether the expectations are realistic.
You can reduce the strain on certain employees by utilizing technology in an assistive way. Employees who are expected to manage phone calls, emails, and instant messaging may have little time for their more important tasks. Consider using a live virtual receptionist to alleviate this burden. Use automation or AI software to run reports or manage date. Give your employees the tools they need to reduce burnout.
Providing Alternative Options
Burnout often stems from a lack of balance between work responsibilities and family or social loyalties. Employees shouldn’t have to choose between their kid’s Christmas program or their job. You can help employees give up the tug-of-war by providing more flexible working conditions or schedules. Remote employment has grown to include about half of the American workforce, and for companies that have embraced the transition, the are reports of increased productivity and employee happiness.
Remote employment gives employees that opportunity to take care of their responsibilities without having to choose between one or the other. Parents are able to take their kids to school or stay home with one that is sick. Remote employees miss out on stressful and time-consuming commutes. Employees are often able to accomplish more when they aren’t distracted by the conversation across the hall or they are given the freedom to clock in early before the phone starts ringing. Flexibility in work hours and location can keep employees from reaching their limits.
Supporting Employee Wellbeing
Paying attention to the health and wellbeing of your employees is the start of preventing burnout. When the people of your company become the priority, you take steps to improve the employee experience both in and out of the office. Look beyond your salary package. Do you offer benefits that encourage gym memberships or provide for mental health support? Does your company sponsor wellness activities or health fairs or give employees extra time off on key holidays? You can take steps to create a culture that puts employee wellbeing over company profits.
Educating Your People on Burnout
At the end of the day, you aren’t responsible for how your employees respond to their jobs or the pressures they face. You can give them all the support they need and create an environment that tries to avoid burnout, but you need your employees to recognize when they are feeling exhausted and at the end of their rope. Educate your staff on the warning signs of burnout. Train managers to subtly look for signs in their departments and reach out when things aren’t looking good.
Burnout leads to low morale and high turnover rates. Though these jeopardize your company’s financial success, burnout takes a much greater toll on the individual.