Combatting Employee Burnout Before it Spreads
One bad apple. They say that’s all it takes. Just one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. It’s one of the reasons hiring managers are so careful about selecting the right candidate for any given job opening – because you never want to be unintentionally introducing that one bad apple into your workforce.
The problem? Even if you make the perfect hiring selections, all employees are susceptible to turning at some point. A few bad encounters with a supervisor, or feeling consistently unappreciated for good work, and any employee could begin to experience a case of burnout.
Once that happens, it doesn’t take much for the burnout to spread. Because employees talk, and negativity takes off. And before you know it, what started as a singular flame has now engulfed your entire office, hurting productivity and affecting the bottom line.
Which is exactly why employers have to be vigilant about spotting and counteracting burnout before it gets to that point.
What Causes Burnout?
There are so many possibilities when it comes to potential igniters of burnout, and even the best employees are susceptible. But some of the most common causes might be:
- Remaining stagnant in a position, with no real hope for advancement.
- Having mistakes and low quality work called out, but never being recognized for a job well done.
- Feeling invisible to superiors and peers.
- Long hours and little recognition.
- A lack of communication from company leaders about big changes.
Signs of the Burnout
One of the best ways to combat burnout amongst your employees is to first be vigilant, know what to look for and remain cognizant of the signs. People experiencing burnout might display:
- Reduced Productivity: These are the employees who used to be on the ball, forever producing quality work on time and without hesitation. Now, they are guilty of routinely missing deadlines and the quality of their work has suffered.
- Negative Sentiments: If your once upbeat employee has suddenly become a “Negative Nancy”, you need to ask yourself why. It’s possible that burnout could be to blame.
- The Monday Flu: People experiencing burnout are more likely to call in sick or show up late. Some may refer to this as “The Monday Flu” (for employees who routinely call in sick on Mondays). But really, when it’s a new habit that is not consistent with previous work ethics, it’s more likely an indicator of burnout.
Ways to Combat Those Flames
If you are truly committed to helping your employees combat burnout, first recognizing that every case is different is key. An employee experiencing burnout as a result of personality conflicts with their supervisor may respond better to different methods than an employee who is simply feeling overworked. Learning to listen, and pay attention, to your employees may often be the first step. From there, some of these tips may work to soothe the burgeoning flames of burnout:
- Initiate Conversations: If you notice an employee is displaying some signs of burnout, approach them in a nonthreatening manner and initiate a conversation about what is going on and how you may be able to help.
- Work Together to Brainstorm Solutions: Show you care by becoming an active participant in helping your employees to recover from burnout and address the issues that may have caused it.
- Motivate and Challenge: Help employees to rediscover their own value by motivating and challenging them, rather than allowing them to remain stagnant in their current rut. Offer opportunities for continued education and mentorships, showing your investment in their growth and the company’s belief in their value.
Remember to find ways to address burnout before it becomes an epidemic. Once those flames have spread throughout your corporation, they can be much more difficult to combat than they would have been if addressed in the initial stages.