If you run a company, the last thing you would want the organisation’s employees to do is to throw their hands up in the air and say they “give up!” Once this mindset has taken hold, it can be difficult to shake off.
This is why you need to prevent employee burnout before it happens. It is only then that you can ensure a healthy work environment while also maintaining productivity.
Now, you may be wondering how high the risk for stress and exhaustion in the workplace is. It turns out that one in five highly engaged employees is at risk of burnout. So, although your employees might appear to be passionate about their work, this doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering as well. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to greatly cut down this risk.
Make better hiring decisions
Believe it or not, the best way to prevent employee burnout is to hire people who are better equipped to handle a particular occupation. According to a Gallup poll, people who worked in a job they were well-suited to were less likely to experience burnout. Thus, one of the main elements you need to improve on is the selection process.
To start with, improve the people search online and conduct more in-depth interviews. This way, you will have an increased amount of time to determine if someone is a good fit for a specific title. If not, it is best for you to move onto another candidate. While this may sound time-consuming, such steps will truly help with increased employee satisfaction and reduced turnover rates later on.
Prevent employee burnout by setting suitable workloads
One of the main causes of worker burnout is unfair workloads. After all, if employees have to complete a considerable amount of work within a short period of time, it is only natural for them to feel stressed out. Therefore, start by considering how much each worker has to do on a daily basis.
First of all, are the deadlines you have set for each person feasible? Or do they have to work overtime to meet them? You should also check that the work is equally balanced among your employees. It is incredibly unreasonable for a few people to take on more tasks than others of a similar position.
Ensure proper support is in place
In addition to the workload, you may also want to keep an eye on whether the workers have enough support to do their job. Most individuals have to work with others or, at least, require certain resources to get their work done.
If this support isn’t in place, the average person will have to make twice as much effort to accomplish their tasks. As you can imagine, continuing in such a manner can lead to exhaustion.
A simple way to avoid this is to understand what employees need to complete their daily tasks. By making sure that these are present when required, you can take a great deal of stress off their shoulders. In turn, they will have an easier time reaching their various goals.
Train managers and workers better
On a similar note, training is as important in preventing employee burnout as anything else. If your workers aren’t properly trained for a specific job, this can lead to continued feelings of stress. So, it is often as simple as showing an employee the ins and outs of their position before they get started. This reassures them that they can, in fact, handle the workload.
It is vital that managers are trained as much as employees are. Employers need to be taught how to communicate, deal with, and work with others more effectively. When the staff has a more positive relationship with their superiors, they are more likely to have a positive work experience, in general.
Reinforce an open door policy
Many employees will claim to have an open door policy but will fail miserably at enacting it. Understand, workers need to speak to their superiors about the issues they are having at work. Otherwise, these frustrations will simply build up until the employees feel as though they can’t take it anymore.
Of course, the only way you can be aware of their problems is if they are confident enough to speak with you. This is why ensuring that an open door policy is in effect can go a long way towards preventing employee burnout. You can do a lot to alleviate workers stress by lending a sympathetic ear.
Enforce work-life balance
The claim of a work-life balance is another refrain that many employees are guilty of parroting. While many superiors will agree that such an equilibrium is important, they do very little to support it. Thus, without the proper safeguards in place, workers will end up working long hours to complete their tasks on time.
Well, in this instance, the example begins with upper-level management. Remember, employees aren’t going to want to leave on time or take holidays if their bosses aren’t doing the same. So, in a way, it is healthy for workers to see their superiors leaving early or taking vacation leave.
The next step involves actively encouraging workers to go on vacation, particularly after a rather stressful period. It is also a good idea to limit how much vacation time can be carried over into the next year. Make sure that employees get breaks, as needed.
Did you know that employees actually value their career success over money? One survey showed that 73 percent of individuals rated “being proud of what you’ve achieved” is what was most important to them. It is this statistic that shows how significant it is to celebrate a worker’s success.
Now, you don’t have to throw a party every time a worker reaches a particular goal. In most cases, it is small gestures like public announcements regarding accomplishments that can make a difference. Your employees need to know that every effort they make is relevant and meaningful to the company as a whole.
Break up the calendar with fun activities
Finally, you should keep in mind that all work and no play can definitely increase the risk of employee burnout. Thus, you should make certain that the company calendar is littered with fun activities throughout the year. Again, these don’t have to be elaborate affairs but it should break up the monotony of the daily grind.
When planning these activities, think carefully about what the employees would like to do. If you aren’t sure, then let them make these decisions as long as they are within reason. Remember, these events are for them. Thus, the activities should provide some excitement for the workers.
As you can see from this article, there is a lot you can do to prevent employee burnout in the workplace. It could start from the very beginning, during the hiring process and then go all the way down to managing daily tasks.
Managers and individuals in higher positions have a large role to play in these instances as well. If you do want to see a positive shift in the workplace, it is a good idea to make use of all these suggestions in your company.
About the Author
Eric Lawton has spent much of his career in HR departments in various industries. During this time, he has learnt just what it takes to create a healthy and productive workplace. When he isn’t working, Eric can be found out on hiking trails.