Perhaps you’ve been there — work is overwhelming, help is limited, and before you know it, your drive and determination have diminished.
Regardless of whether it’s you or your employees you’re trying to protect from burnout, doing so is of vital importance to your business. Not only are burnt out employees unengaged, but their lack of productivity costs you money. According to Medibank Private, work-related stress costs Australia AU$25 billion per year.
The causes of employee burnout typically fall into three general categories.
1. Personality factors.
The people most likely to burn out quickly are over-achievers, perfectionists, and pessimists.
If one or the other is taking over an employee’s life, work will suffer, and burnout will ensue.
3. Work-related stress.
An overwhelming workload, increased job demands without commensurate benefits, a lack of recognition or feedback, and a loss of faith in leadership can all contribute to burnout.
According to recent studies, the leading causes of workplace stress are:
- Workload – 46%
- People issues – 28%
- Juggling work / personal lives – 20%
- Lack of job security – 6%
The Catastrophic Effects of Burnout
Not only are burned out employees tough to deal with for customers, they can also become a toxic presence in your office. As they begin to show symptoms of burnout, staff begin to transfer their stress (and work) to others. Some of the more common signs of burnout include increased anxiety, irritability, weight loss or gain, frequent absences, and susceptibility to illness.
What You Can Do: Take Action!
If you’re noticing signs of employee burnout, take immediate steps to prevent it from continuing.
Here are six ways to stop burnout:
1. Listen and seek feedback
As an employer, you have a duty of care to ensure your employees are respected and heard. At first, it might need to be an anonymous process. Seek regular feedback from every employee and act on this feedback wherever possible.
2. Provide functional equipment
Equipment performance will reflect poorly on the employee’s production and the failure of management to recognise the need to upgrade can create an air of helplessness. Frustration with equipment can be one of the first symptoms of burnout and solving this problem can effectively alleviate work-related stressors.
3. Be fair
Nothing causes burnout quicker than watching someone else receive preferential treatment or get credit for the wrong reasons. Even worse is unfairness that seems arbitrary. Pay inequality, random promotions, capricious recognition—all these things can create animosity or a sense of despair in an employee. They’re made worse by the fact that, in most cases, the employee must bottle up their feelings of injustice.
4. Empower and motivate employees
For employees who feel as though they have no say in organisational decision-making, burnout can be a natural or even expected consequence. Change that situation by:
- Challenging your team members
- Stoking a passion for the company’s vision
- Giving clear opportunities for advancement
- Develop employee skills and knowledge with an online diploma
- Applying the same measuring criteria to everyone
- Getting out of the way, and letting staff do their work
5. Be positive and have fun
Employees who enjoy coming to work will burn out far less frequently than those who loathe their job. Why not build a positive work environment for your employees? Celebrating the completion of projects, having regular team activities, making meetings friendly and inviting – can all boost morale tenfold.
6. Recognise success
No matter what they tell you, every employee wants to feel needed. An unexpected pat on the back or recognition in front of peers for a job well done can be a welcome motivational boost. Research has discovered that 71% of respondents believe that appreciation by a direct supervisor has the most impact on employee engagement in their organisation.
Prevent your chances of burnout
A burnt-out employer can equally contribute to employee burnout. Recognising the signs in yourself is just as important as identifying them in others. If the thought of needing to change everything to make it work for your employees is just another job you don’t have time for, then it could be time for your reboot.
Successful entrepreneurs recommend that you keep your vision in sight, take time out for yourself, and gather a group of likeminded business colleagues around you so you can get support. Perhaps a career refresh is needed. There are online diplomas that give you the benefit of new peer networks while upskilling yourself for career advancement opportunities.
Looking after yourself can be the most critical decision you make for both your employees and your business. Avoid burnout in your business by educating yourself and your staff, recognising the symptoms early, and acting when necessary.