The term “exhaustion” has been around for some time, but in recent years we have seen and heard more and more “exhausted” employees.
The World Health Organization now recognizes burnout as a serious health risk, but in the past, burnout symptoms were often misinterpreted as fatigue, lack of interest, or even laziness. Fast forward and a Gallup poll found that the top five reasons for employee burnout are.
Employee burnout is a real problem. Just ask the World Health Organization, which said that employee burnout consists of three things:
Feeling of exhaustion or depletion of energy.
- Increase employee mental distance from work or negative or cynical feelings about work.
- Decrease inefficiency or professional productivity.
You might think employee burnout only occurs in rare and spectacularly bad workplaces, but you’re wrong.
Not convinced? Take another look at the WHO list and consider how common each element is.
In other words, it’s not just the amount of work, but also the experience and emotions that surround the work. Emotional and mental exhaustion is an important part of the employee burnout equation and can be caused by more than just a measurable workload.
How do you help burnt-out employees?
- Take mental health seriously
More and more we see mental health issues in the news and the sometimes shocking results of people whose mental health has been ignored and deteriorated.
You must take your employees’ mental health seriously.
While it is illegal for employers to punish employees based on their mental health or for acting outside certain boundaries that does not stop anyone from suspecting that they are honest in their mental state.
- Offer rewards that work against burnout
Rewards happen for a variety of reasons.
We often see them as a kind of carrot on a stick, and we hang something valuable for our employees to get them to work harder and do more.
It makes sense, but remember two things about this approach:
- You can simply brag that the reward is not the motivation.
- The constant pressure to work harder to be rewarded can lead to … employee burnout.
Rewards of this nature have their place, but if all the perks and benefits are based on performance, your employees will be suspicious.
Some rewards simply have to exist because people matter, not just what they can do.
- Avoid severe instinct reactions
Suppose your employee is struggling with burnout. They don’t feel comfortable telling you directly, whether it’s because of the culture in the workplace, their management style, the response other employees have gotten, or perhaps because they don’t quite know what it’s about. Do not go up.
Before starting a public action, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this how my employee usually behaves?
- Are they generally reliable employees or high performers?
- Does this sound weird?
If the employee washed all the time and complained to you, that’s one thing. But if they were a good employee and cracks started to appear, that should be part of the context of the current concept.
- Limit your enthusiasm when planning
You have a business to run and customers need to be satisfied – that’s understandable. It’s easy to see this as the main consideration and create conditions that burn workers.
Communicate as quickly as possible so employees aren’t overwhelmed by a large amount of last-minute stress every week. This tension is increasing. They can eventually handle the work, but last-minute changes and requests make them redundant.
- Consider Employee Off-Job Obligations
You probably know how to value and respect your employees’ personal lives and time. This has been hammered into you over the years.
So think about this: do you value the other job the employee has to do that isn’t for you?
Employees may be doing other work. Or maybe they work as a freelancer to survive. You may not be able to pay minimum wage or they may only work part-time. Whatever the reason, you probably have employees who are almost always available to someone, even when it’s not you.
Remember that employee burnout is not just a lot of work. This happens when employees are tired, worried, stressed, depressed, upset, stuck, scared, or lacking a sense of community where other people are working hard with them.
In other words, employee burnout does not have a one-size-fits-all solution. But that needs to be addressed if you want to reduce staff turnover, absenteeism, or poor customer experience.