Employee burnout is rapidly becoming an epidemic. Seventy-seven percent of all employees—and 84 percent of millennials—say they’ve experienced workplace burnout. Nearly half say it’s inspired them to leave a job.
The old, outdated model of doing things treated burnout as an individual problem, something a worker had to manage on their own. We now know that a toxic workplace culture, unreasonable demands, and inadequate support can all conspire to create employee burnout.
And when it happens, your employees aren’t the only ones who suffer. Burnout can decrease productivity, increase absenteeism, and steadily undermine your business. Improving morale is key to employee retention.
People are the backbone of a successful company. Give your business a competitive edge by supporting them. Improve your company culture and boost profits and morale by educating managers on how to spot early signs of burnout and reduce workplace stress.
Strong management means proper support for your staff. Here are five strategies to spot and stop burnout.
1. Establish a Healthy Work Culture
Workers are not automatons, and they tend to work less efficiently when companies treat them as such. Healthy work cultures treat staff as whole people who are entitled to lives outside of work, fair treatment, and compassion.
Some strategies for nurturing a healthy workplace culture include:
- Encourage employees to use their benefits, including time off and sick leave.
- Promote effective, compassionate, direct communication.
- Support your team by letting them know where they stand. Praise them for good work and offer constructive developmental feedback when necessary.
- Build a culture where bullying, discrimination, and other forms of abuse are never acceptable.
- Embrace all types of personalities. Workplace cultures that demand extroversion or enthusiasm from everyone, that pry into people’s personal lives, that value only young people or people with certain interests can be alienating and unwelcoming.
- Support boundaries between work and home. When work is over, people shouldn’t need to field non-emergency calls. They also shouldn’t have to share their personal lives at work if they don’t want to.
Your managers set the tone for your corporate climate, so hire and promote people who understand and support your healthy workplace goals. Including this criteria during the hiring process may be beneficial in the long run.
2. Support Employees to Achieve Their Goals
Your employees likely have a variety of goals both within your organization and beyond. They may hope to earn a promotion or eventually return to school or start their own business. Effective managers provide employees with mentorship and new opportunities that help them gain new skills and cultivate new opportunities.
Encourage managers to talk to employees about their goals both inside and outside of the organization. For example, does a team member want to eventually start a consulting company or have a successful blog? There may be ways your business can support these endeavors.
Mentorship and support only work when they are available equitably to everyone. Find a way to make the system fair, so that your managers don’t limit their reach to people they like, or those who share their values and goals.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Giving feedback to your team can feel challenging, but directness is kindness. Clear, specific feedback gives your staff the exact information they need to thrive.
Schedule regular check-ins and make feedback a two-way street, welcoming and accepting employee feedback that’s both critical and complimentary. Bolster employee morale with the following:
- Clear job descriptions
- A consistent rubric for formal feedback
- Consistently applied expectations across your team
4. Ensure Autonomy
Micromanagement is a recipe for burnout. Employees are autonomous, thoughtful adults, not unruly children who must be managed 24/7. The American Psychological Association’s “2021 Work and Well-Being” Survey highlights lack of control at work as a key stressor. Forty-eight percent of respondents said that not being involved in workplace decisions was a key driver of stress.
Identify and implement strategies that support your team to chart their own course at work and beyond. Some tactics that can help include:
- Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to encourage effective mentoring and feedback without micromanagement.
- Offer flexible work options, such as remote work, flex scheduling, and part-time work.
- Prioritize the quality of work and the end result over being physically present or the appearance of busyness. Results speak for themselves. The team member who seems to work very little could actually be your most efficient employee if she’s a quick worker with great output.
5. Refer Employees to the Right Resources
Your managers are not social workers, and they cannot solve all the problems your employees face. Your team needs comprehensive support, especially when it comes to employee burnout. So fill their toolkit with a wide range of tools, including workplace assistance, training, and mental healthcare.
It’s not enough to provide the resources, though. Without comprehensive knowledge of what you offer, your most valuable resources will go underutilized, limiting their value as an employee benefit. That’s where TalkSpace comes in. We offer a wide range of support options, as well as support to ensure your team knows exactly what’s available.
You may not be able to do it all. Let us help.
Eager to learn more about how stress affects your business? Check out our comprehensive Employee Stress Check 2022 Report.