Employee burnout has been a contributing factor in the Great Resignation and its crucial for employers to understand how to prevent employee burnout. Let’s examine some of the causes of employee burnout and what we can do to prevent it.
How Engagement Staves Off Employee Burnout
Everybody knows that you have to work hard if you want to be successful, but even challenging work has its limits. You can push yourself too far—or take too few breaks—and end up with a bad case of burnout; then, all your challenging work may actually wind up counterproductive.
I talk to a lot of business owners who are eager to do what they can to achieve some balance in their lives, and to prevent burnout as best they can. It seems to me that the first step toward preventing burnout is understanding what really causes it. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the science behind burning out.
The Real Cause of Employee Burnout
All of us have unconscious needs—physical, mental, and emotional ones—and we also have demands within our professional lives. Burnout comes when there is a mismatch between the needs and the demands. For example, burnout may happen to an outgoing accountant who seeks to make new friendships but whose job offers little opportunity to do so. Or perhaps to a manager who does not enjoy taking center-stage or being in a leadership role, In both of these examples, there is a mismatch between the employees’ individual needs and the requirements on the job.
Even the internet company Bumble was affected by employee burnout this past year. As the result, the company gave all employees a week off to re-energize.
Practical Implications of Burnout
So, what does this really tell us about burnout? You have certain needs to be truly motivated and energized.
When your daily responsibilities meet those needs you will resist burnout. A good place to start is with a self-inventory. Admittedly, this is where things get a little more complicated, but it’s still worthwhile to ask yourself the following questions:
What motivates you? Think through the tasks or responsibilities that leave you feeling the most pumped up—the most energized.
Which daily activities or responsibilities drain you the most? These are going to be the things you dread the most.
How emotionally satisfied does your job really leave you and do you think a change of position is needed to have a truly satisfying work life?
How well are your employees personality types and internal motivations paired with their responsibilities? If your team is low on motivation or on energy, it could be because you’ve given everyone ill-fitting roles.
Interventions that prevent or repair such mismatches could increase well-being at work and reduce the risk of burnout. There’s still time for you to act and be proactive even if your needs and your daily demands are not well-matched,
Steps to Prevent Employee Burnout
Today’s employees are overworked and over-stressed according to new studies just published from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It’s a critical issue, not least because it impacts the bottom line of your business: Overwhelmed and burned-out employees simply aren’t as productive, as energetic, or as creative as problem solvers.
The way to beat burnout is through engagement. Bringing your employees into a better understanding of the big picture and their place within it. Employees won’t feel like they’re drowning in thankless work when they see what the vision is and how their part makes a difference.
How Leaders Can Curb Employee Burnout
Additionally, let me recommend three specific ways to help your employees stay engaged rather than burned out. Give your employees someone they can talk to.
- Employees who feel alone are more likely to struggle with burnout. Create small discussion groups in your company to help employees feel connected to one another, and to a broader sense of community. Discussion groups should be safe spaces where anything can be said. Don’t neglect the little things.
- Encouraging employees to go for a quick walk around the building, allowing them to cut out an hour early on Friday, offering an afternoon to decorate the office for the holidays. These little things add up, and help stressed employees to feel a little bit more appreciated.
- Keep the focus on productivity. Things like how many hours your employees spend at the office don’t really matter; these aren’t meaningful metrics. Focus on how much they are accomplishing toward your broader goals and objectives that should be your goal.
There are many things that leaders can do to improve employee engagement and retention. There are also many ways to sabotage the process. If you want to get started building your employee engagement and retention process give us a call.