Has your organization checked its temperature lately? This test is quick and painless and alerts you to potential employee engagement problems. You can quickly check your organization’s temperature by answering the following questions:
By answering yes to any of those question, it could indicate that some of your employees are starting to feel burned out. While there’s not a magic cure-all, recognizing the early signs can help you stay ahead of it.
Burnout is now considered an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization. Mental Health America reported that 75% of people have experienced burnout at work, with 40% asserting the COVID-19 pandemic has been a contributing factor. Burnout could be the answer as to why your high performing employees are just not themselves. Not surprising, the physical and mental inertia of many employees has shifted throughout the last year. Causes such as unexpected family stressors, work from home challenges and increased work demands all contribute to an employee’s inability to feel and/or be as productive as normal. In studying the root causes of burnout, employee survey feedback from Gallup uncovered five main contributors:
Strategies to Avoid Burnout
What does this list tell us? Burnout is not only an employee-specific issue but should be treated as an organizational concern. Well-meaning leaders often unconsciously apply quick fix solutions rather than directly addressing the underlying challenges. This can result in detrimental consequences for the organization such as high job dissatisfaction and increased employee turnover. While there is no monolithic solution to mitigate all of the complexities associated with burnout, here are four strategies organizations can use to rise above it:
What better way to find out what employees need than to ask them! Create a culture that encourages employees to contribute ideas and provide feedback related to the clarity of their roles and responsibilities. Facilitate discussions around project priorities and areas of development. This can help employees focus on the critical few instead of the trivial many!
Creating a positive work environment can decrease feelings of unfair treatment at work and promote work-life balance. Managers can offer flexible work schedules that focus on objective-based productivity rather than the number of hours the employee is at their desk. It is important that manager lead by example and model the behaviors to reduce hesitation in engaging in work-life balance activities or routines.
Leaders can alleviate burnout by creating a sense of ownership and accountability in their employees. Set clear expectations and measures of individual and organizational success and check in often to help remove roadblocks and seed their success. Leaders can also work to communicate with empathy and respect.
Cultivate a workplace that supports emotional well-being. Work with HR to disseminate information about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and encourage employees to seek assistance. Work with your organization’s benefits coordinator to ensure every employee is made aware of any tools and services available to them to support mental health and wellness.
Sources: Harvard Business Review, World Health Organization, Gallup
Eryn Pulliam is a Consulting Coordinator and Public Health Professional with several years of experience in Program Management. At TalentQuest, Eryn works with HR Leaders across a variety of industries to administer Talent Management Assessments and provides technical support to ensure a superior client experience for both customers and candidates.