Burnout is a special kind of job-related stress. And, although there is no official medical diagnosis, most managers understand the damage burnout can do to both individuals and organizations.
How can your company recognize the symptoms and stop burnout in its tracks?
The Signs of Burnout
Changes in Behavior
Your workers have unique personalities and, therefore, burnout can disguise itself in many ways. This isn’t just a bad day or a bad week. Look for long-term changes in behavior. For example, an outgoing employee may seem isolated and withdrawn. Or, a quiet employee may be actively engaging in daily gripe sessions. These two scenarios are quite different, but both should raise concerns.
Bad attitudes, especially from previously upbeat employees, are not a good sign. Burnout causes people to feel hopeless and down. This leads to complaining, irritability and cynicism. Workers could argue more frequently with one another and/or become uncharacteristically impatient with customers and clients.
Burned out employees are emotionally exhausted. They may drag themselves to work, find it hard to concentrate and suffer from stress-related illnesses such as headaches and anxiety. Obviously, this impacts overall engagement. If either an individual’s or your whole organization’s productivity took an unexpected nosedive (and you can’t find an obvious reason why), burnout might be to blame.
Talented workers who are unhappy will seek out better opportunities. And when one employee leaves others often follow. As this makes a tough situation even worse, try to address burnout sooner rather than later.
How You Can Help Your Employees
Identify the Problem
You may know exactly what is causing burnout, or you might be surprised. Begin by talking to your workers one on one. Ask probing questions such as, “If you could change one thing, what would it be?” rather than a simple, “What’s wrong?” Your employees may not be able to identify what the real issue is until you talk it through.
Let Your Workers Know You Have Their Backs
One of the best tactics for dealing with burnout is to show your employees you are willing to support them through good times and bad. You may not be able to make immediate changes, but your workers should understand you are ready to fight for them and to improve their situation. Sometimes, simply realizing things will get better can lift people’s spirits.
Develop and Execute Solutions
Unfortunately, curing burnout isn’t as easy as giving everyone a day off. Appreciate that the process requires time, energy and patience. Start small and work toward more significant changes. For instance, an overworked team could immediately benefit from a “no email after hours” rule. Then, you could explore the option of hiring more people or bringing in contract workers to make workload expectations more realistic.
Could Your Organization Use A Contract Workforce?
If a seasonal surge or major project is taking your employees to their breaking point, give United Talent a call. We offer on-demand staffing services and on-site management options. Give your workers the extra support they need and get the job done!