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Employees Are Burnt Out — Here’s How HR Can Offer Support

Dec 19, 2022
Employees Are Burnt Out — Here’s How HR Can Offer Support
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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that many employees think about work. When the virus swept across the globe, people started to realize that there is more to life than just going to a job every day for a company that doesn't really value them as people. This is more than just a fad, and there is even a term for the massive exodus of employees leaving their jobs. It’s called the Great Resignation.

The fact is that many employees are burnt out, and they want to find a company that appreciates their efforts. By understanding burnout and its consequences, your organization can make the changes necessary to turn things around and bring on more qualified candidates. Let’s talk about burnout and how HR can offer its support.


Your Employees Are Likely Experiencing Burnout

The first step to creating a more productive work environment is to understand that many of your employees are likely experiencing burnout or anxiety. Burnout can happen if a worker is pushed too hard with unnecessary tasks, required overtime, and extensive micromanagement. 

Burnout can also happen if an employee goes to work every day and does their job but feel that their work is not valued or appreciated, or they believe that they will never evolve past their current role. These are the reasons for the Great Resignation, and your HR team needs to start making changes from within.

It is easy to believe that since the work is getting done and employees are friendly with one another in the lunch room that there is no issue with burnout at your company. 

However, the signs of burnout are not always visible, and many employees don’t feel comfortable enough to speak to their managers or call HR to advise that they are feeling burnt out. In fact, even if you send a survey asking them, many employees may feel like their opinion doesn’t matter, and they won’t respond. 

Some don’t even realize what burnout is, so burnout is underreported in workplaces. Employees just don’t feel like themselves. Thus, realizing there is an issue and being proactive is key. Teach staff how to recognize that they are experiencing burnout themselves, and take note of patterns in behavior to catch burnout in employees, yourself. 

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How Burnout Affects the Company

When an employee is burnt out, it will show in their work. Sometimes, an employee may feel like their work isn’t helping the company succeed, and so they may decide to give only half of the required effort. Other times, they may feel like they aren’t appreciated, and so they might intentionally do their work incorrectly. Sometimes, the issue may be that they aren’t excited to go to work anymore, so they might call out more often, so your production timelines take a hit. 

The role of the HR team is to talk to every member of the organization and understand their concerns so you can speak to those needs directly. Management and HR need to have an open-door policy where employees feel comfortable enough to come to them at any time and talk. Then, they need to know that management will provide a solution. Employees who feel like HR is lording over them instead of acting as their ally will show their disapproval through their work.

The solution is to help the team feel better mentally and physically and to help them excel in their careers, so they want to help the company succeed.

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Help Them Excel in Their Careers

Now that you know the problem, you need to take action, and you can begin by showing each employee that they are a valued member of the team and that their contributions matter. To do so, open up multiple possible channels of communication, starting with emails and telephone calls. Many remote employees may feel isolated or that they have been forgotten about, so take extra time to find ways to communicate and keep them as valuable members of the team. 

Managers can set up instant messaging channels where employees can ask questions and talk about their lives. It is also a good idea to have a video conference at least once per week over Zoom or a similar program, where your team can talk about their accomplishments and maybe share stories about their weekend. That way, they can see their team members face to face and feel like they are present and valued.

Management and HR also need to show empathy to employees when they come to them with concerns. Instead of only listing out the requirements of their job and scolding them if they do not perform, ask them why they are struggling and what management or HR can do to help them out. The solution may end up working for the other members of the team as well.

It is also important to help employees to evolve in their careers so they can feel a sense of meaning in their jobs. Conduct annual reviews and provide feedback whenever possible so they know what they are doing well and how they can improve. 

It is also a wise idea to sit them down and ask them where they see themselves within the company in a year. If they want to be promoted, then lay down the steps that they can follow to do so. Do whatever you can to improve the employee experience on a personal level.

You can also try cross-training initiatives or provide opportunities for the employees to network with others in the organization to see if they can find a position that suits them best. If you choose to do so, then you need to set them up for success. Teach them healthy networking strategies, like how to be themselves and start a conversation. 

You can also teach them about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol during an event or how to deal with anxiety. Do your part to help them succeed, and they will be forever grateful. 

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Improve Employee Mental Health

Human resources can also ensure that the employees are feeling good on a personal level and that they aren’t feeling mentally burnt out day after day. You can accomplish this through your benefits program. Make sure that your team has enough sick and vacation days so that overburdened employees feel comfortable enough to call out and refresh their minds so they can be more productive when they return. 

Also, ensure that your workforce is provided with plenty of employee mental health resources, including the option of different types of therapy. There are different forms of therapy that can help an employee that is experiencing burnout, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which can help the employee to manage their difficult feelings and improve their mind frame. Sometimes, just talking to someone can make all of the difference. 

Finally, consider the fact that some employees may benefit from a flexible schedule. During the pandemic, many working parents enjoyed the idea of working from home and taking care of their kids during the day. Now that they are back, some employees may still have responsibilities at home, and if they cannot assist their families, then they may be stressed at work. 

Consider offering your teams a flexible schedule if they need it. That may mean that you allow them to start later in the day and make up their time at the end of the shift. Or it may be a hybrid schedule where they work part of the week at home and the other part at the office. Studies show that employees are happier overall when they have a flexible schedule, so consider it, and you could see a more eager and productive workforce.

As you can see, it is essential that your HR team is able to identify when employees are experiencing burnout throughout your organization and solve the issue. Focus on the health and happiness of your employees, and they will show their appreciation through their work.




Author Bio:

This article is written by a marketing team member at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is a leading provider of proven HR solutions, including recruiting, onboarding, employee communications & engagement, and rewards & recognition. Our user-friendly software increases employee productivity, delivers time and cost savings, and minimizes compliance risk.



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