You may be surprised that your best employee is calling in sick, taking longer lunch breaks, arriving late, and leaving early. You may be alarmed that this employee is not happy with the job anymore and on the search for a new one. You may fear losing one of your best employees. However, it is important to recognize that in many cases, employees are spending as much time away from work as possible, not because they don’t like their job, but because they are suffering from employee burnout.
Identifying employee burnout
So, what exactly is employee burnout and how can you spot the signs? Employee burnout can be thought of as an emotional reaction to situations that occur on the job and even in the employee’s personal life. Typical symptoms include physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, body aches, headaches, insomnia, lack of energy, irritability, declining performance, or substance (drug or alcohol) abuse. The employee may dread coming to work in the morning or may feel that their job is meaningless. They may become irritated with coworkers or management.
Who is susceptible to employee burnout?
While all employees can become victims of burnout, it is often your best employees who suffer the most. This is because they are highly motivated to take on large, difficult tasks and may become quickly overwhelmed. Also, because of recent lean efforts, your business may have fewer employees with increased responsibilities. They may be expected to work harder and complete more tasks in the same amount of time. Employees that have many responsibilities such as work, school, a family, volunteerism, church, etc. may find that they cannot balance work and personal life. As hard as they try, they are simply burning themselves out.
Five steps to minimize burnout
As an employer, it is your responsibility to create an environment that prevents costly employee burnout. There are five simple things you can do to prevent your best employee from feeling the effects of burnout.
Always allow an open door policy, in which the employee feels comfortable communicating with you. Also, ask questions during meetings and when you greet the employee each day. Subtle clues such as “I’m exhausted” or “I feel so drained” may indicate they are suffering from employee burnout. If the employee feels comfortable communicating with you, they can let you know what is going on and even what is causing their fatigue. There may be a simple cause which you have control over and which, if properly addressed, can result in an increase in the employee’s motivation and productivity.
2. Show Appreciation
Employees start a job expecting to achieve tasks and receive recognition. However, many employers neglect to offer a simple “thank you” or “good job.” If employees do not feel appreciated, they will quickly become burned out. Reward good employees with recognition and small gifts such as an afternoon off. Also, you may try having a surprise luncheon or afternoon party to increase employee morale.
3. Further education/training
Employees want to feel that they are able to climb the ladder and achieve more. Provide opportunities for future education and training that will improve their job skills and make them more confident.
4. Schedule Rotations
If possible, allow employees to rotate their schedules to better fit their personality. For example, some employees perform better in the afternoon, while some find their prime accomplishment time to be in the early morning. Consider allowing an employee to come in an hour early in order to leave an hour early for their child’s football game. By allowing scheduling flexibility, you show the employee that you care about their work and personal life balance.
5. Provide proper resources
Be sure that the employee has the proper equipment to perform their job. Also, if needed, allow another employee to help them get a large project done on time. Consider cross training employees to ensure that work is completed even if the employee must take a few days off.
Unaddressed burnout will affect your bottom line
What does employee burnout mean for your business? Employee burnout is a huge production buster. Employees that are burned out may have trouble accomplishing tasks or meeting deadlines. They may be taking time off of work to rest or simply to avoid returning. Worse yet, the employee may decide to quit, leaving you to replace one of your best employees. Follow these simple steps to prevent employee burnout while retaining your prized employees and maintaining a productive atmosphere in your workplace. Disregarding the morale of your employees will have a direct impact on the efficiency & effectivity of your business.