Employee burnout is increasing in the American workforce. In fact, according to multiple studies and surveys, as much as 50% of American workers feel overworked and under appreciated in their jobs.
This is a concerning number, obviously. And definitely something worth analyzing, and addressing if need be, within your own organization.
In this post we'll define exactly what job burnout is, how your HR department can better recognize the signs, and how to best prevent it inside your workplace.
Dealing With Burnout
Greg is one of your company's top performers. He always arrives on time, works hard and exudes an elevated excitement for the job. You've even noticed him staying late many times over the last few months to "get ahead" and responding to emails over the weekend.
Greg seems like the perfect employee right? Maybe not…
Yes, we love hardworking, engaged team members as much as the next company. But if Greg isn't careful, he might reach a breaking point and experience staff burnout.
But before we go any further, let's make sure we're on the same page.
What is Employee Burnout?
The term, while popular, is often misunderstood.
Burnout is more than a case of "work stress", though prolonged periods of work related stress can definitely contribute to severe burnout syndrome. Rather, it's a condition of complete mental and emotional exhaustion, loss of purpose, and an overall feeling of emptiness.
Employees can experience varying levels of burnout, which is why it can be hard to detect before it becomes a major issue. Let's discuss a few of the most common symptoms.
The Signs of Employee Burnout
Being able to recognize the signs of burnout, both in the employees you manage and in yourself, is essential to maintaining a healthy and productive work environment. Employee burnout symptoms include:
- Chronic Fatigue and/or Depression: If you or anyone on your team consistently feels a lack of energy, complete mental exhaustion, or feelings of sadness and low self-esteem; burnout may be the cause.
- Detachment and a Lack of Focus: Employees that begin to isolate themselves, exhibit an inability to focus for even short periods of time, or begin to neglect duties entirely could be suffering from burnout.
- Unprovoked Irritability and Rage: Consistent irritability is another possible sign of burnout and can escalate into full, rage induced outbursts if it isn't handled appropriately.
It's important to note that just because an employee exhibits the above behaviors, doesn't not mean he or she is suffering from burnout. But an investigation into the situation is warranted.
Preventing Employee Burnout
Now that you have a firm understanding of what burnout really is and a few of its most common symptoms, you're probably wondering how to prevent it in your workplace, right? There are a few ways:
- Communication: The first step in the fight against burnout is opening the lines of communication between employees and management. Do team members feel comfortable enough to have honest discussions with their superiors? They should! By encouraging conversation in your workplace and ensuring that lower level employees feel comfortable enough to discuss any work related issues with their bosses, your company will greatly reduce the chances of employee burnout.
- Boundaries: The management team at your company must realize that there are only so many work hours in a day. Consistently demanding more time from employees is both unfair and unhealthy. Make sure your employees have time away from the job to relax and rejuvenate. Not only will this help still many budding burnout symptoms, but it will also make the time that employees do spend working much more productive!
- Environment: Does your team enjoy coming to work every day? If your company is conscious of the environment it creates and actively works to better it, the answer is most likely yes. Be sure that all employees feel appreciated for the work they do. It's simple to do and goes a long way. Also, foster creativity and fun whenever possible. This could be as simple as catering lunch for the entire team on Fridays or scheduling monthly activities outside the office once a month.
- Celebrate: Finally, it's easy to feel burnt out at work when it seems like you're never getting any closer to your goals. So celebrate the small wins with team members. You may not have reached your ultimate goal yet, but you've probably taken a few steps towards it recently and that's worth recognizing. And if you happen to be looking for ways to acknowledge both employee and team achievements, we recommend Workmates: our employee recognition software you can use to easily build positive company culture.
Say Goodbye to Burnout
Burnout is a serious condition, which can affect anyone in any workplace. But by using the above mentioned tips, you'll be able to prevent it much more successfully!
If you notice any areas within your company that could be improved in regard to burnout prevention, address them right away. Your company will find much more success when its employees are happy, healthy, and excited to be a part of the team.
HR Cloud is a leading developer of HR software & HRMS solutions for small and medium size businesses that have high turnover. HR Cloud's Onboard is market leading technology for effective new hire onboarding and Workmates enables employee engagement simply and easily. Founded in 2012, our HRIS empowers teams to easily onboard new hires, manage employee data, create a company social network and support employee development.