Everything looks fine. Your team is working dedicatedly and meeting the deadlines. Clients are happy. Your startup journey has been immaculate, and it seems no one can stop you from achieving your goals.
Suddenly, some of your team members start underperforming. As stress and exhaustion prevail, they start missing key milestones. With a rapid decline in team productivity, your clients start complaining about quality. Eventually, you gradually lose your most loyal employees one by one.
What went wrong? It’s work burnout that can fry up your personnel and badly affect organizational performance. A 2018 study by Gallup revealed that over 67% of full-time employees experience feeling burned out on their jobs. Besides, they become less productive and start actively seeking new job opportunities.
So, how can employers prevent their employees from burning out? Let’s discuss five effective methods to minimize job burnout and keep your workforce happy and engaged.
What is Burnout at the Workplace?
If you can’t focus on your work, struggle to talk to your clients, or fail to deliver the expected results, you’re in constant stress called burnout. And it’s very in the workplace. Employees burning out in their jobs suffer from physical and emotional fatigue, anger, or cynicism. Besides, their personalities shift rapidly, and their performance declines sharply.
So, when your personnel are exposed to prolonged stress, they feel exhausted. High levels of apathy significantly reduce their workplace efficiency. At the end of the day, they become less productive and passive.
Work burnout is a common phenomenon. A survey conducted at Yale University revealed that 20% of highly engaged employees are always at a risk of high burnout. Employers, therefore, must be proactive in reducing burnout in their organizations.
Critical Reasons Behind Employee Burnout
Five factors are highly correlated with employee burnout:
Unfair Treatment at Work: Unfair treatment increases the chances of a high level of burnout by 2.3 times. Employees feel disengaged due to prejudice, nepotism, and mistreatment by the executive leadership.
- Unclarity in Roles: According to the State of the American Workplace report, only 60% of employees believe they fully understand their job roles. Personnel becomes exhausted and less productive when employers focus more on accountability without communicating positions.
- Time Pressure: Time pressure is the killer of productivity. Employees who have sufficient time to complete their tasks are more engaged and delighted. In addition to their routine jobs, they also spend more time on innovation and rethinking. Conversely, they cannot meet their employers’ expectations if they have to work under time constraints.
- Unmanageable Workload: Uniform workload management is the duty of a team lead or manager. When employees are exposed to unmanageable workloads, they shift from optimistic to hopeless. Eventually, they start searching for new jobs.
- Lack of Support: A company’s leadership behavior has a critical role in managing workplace burnout. Lack of support from managers or limited communication demoralizes team members. Eventually, they become less loyal, reorganize their priorities, and burn out.
Early Predictors of Job Burnout
As an employer, if you see any of these warning signs at your organization, your personnel are experiencing high burnout.
- Employees remain tired, distracted, and inadequate.
- Poor concentration and lack of decision-making ability
- Depression and hopelessness
- High Absenteeism and turnover rates
- Obstructive and uncooperative behavior
- Increased cynicism and apathy
- Declining productivity and poor performance
- Lateness and communication problems
How to Reduce Burnout at the Workplace?
Being a manager, if you feel your employees are burning out, try these five methods to keep them engaged and achieve higher productivity.
1. Compensate Your Employees Fairly
Mercer is a leading US-based HR consulting firm that helps employers analyze their HR metrics for business success. The firm conducted an Inside Employees’ Minds survey in 2022 involving 4,049 full-time employees in the U.S. Findings revealed that nearly 33% of workers with less than $60,000 annual salary were doing additional jobs to meet their expenses. Extra work means additional workload, which results in poor performance and high burnout.
Fair compensation is crucial for employees’ well-being and financial wellness. However, when workers’ income is lower than their expenses, it becomes difficult for them to manage stress. Eventually, low unfair salaries significantly increase the risk of burnout.
Conversely, companies that offer market-competitive salaries and additional perks are more likely to retain and attract talented workers. Besides, employee well-being supports a sense of purpose and engagement at the workplace. When teams get good salaries and benefits like health insurance, 401(k) contributions, and paid vacations, they show exceptional performance and deliver impeccable results.
2. Support Your Teams
The relationship of managers with their subordinates is paramount. As a team lead, if your staff is happy with you, their performance will be exceptional. Hence, you are responsible for caring for their needs and bringing your organizational values to life.
Managers must be empathetic, lenient, and generous to achieve these goals. Their leadership style accounts for more than 70% improvement in employee engagement, according to a paper published by Maslach et al. in the Annual Review of Psychology. Similarly, a Gallup report revealed that managers with good ratings have five times more productive and engaged personnel.
Therefore, managers should be familiar with the real potential of their team members. They should use their greatest strengths to achieve desired milestones. Similarly, employees must feel valued and respected. Team leaders must support them and address their concerns without delay. There must be a relationship of trust and reliability between managers and personnel.
3. Foster an Environment Of Collaboration
Another reason for workplace burnout is the lack of teamwork and collaboration. When employees don’t trust their team members, they look suspiciously at each other. Instead of working together, they focus more on individual efforts that fail to deliver the expected results. At the end of the, the whole team suffers from poor performance.
So, the job of a team leader is to identify the factors that hinder team collaboration. As per HR experts, some of the key reasons include limited understanding due to vague instructions, unrealistic deadlines, and uneven employee workloads. Similarly, lack of access to proper communication and project management tools also contributes to workouts.
To address these issues, managers should use tools like Slack, Teams, Zoom, and Meet to organize virtual meetings regularly. Similarly, they should also optimize using existing CRM dashboards to track staff progress. A culture of transparency must also be established to break down silos and build an emotional commitment among team members.
4. Encourage Flexible Work Arrangements
Rigid, non-flexible, and traditional 9-5 work arrangements are no longer applicable in today’s workplace. Several studies have indicated that workplace flexibility significantly reduces stress among staff members. When employees work in flexible schedules, they get significant control over their lives and tend to be more committed.
Therefore, companies should encourage flexible work arrangements and empower their teams to balance their personal and professional responsibilities. Instead of following fixed schedules, allow your personnel to work from home at their preferred times. If remote work is impossible, you can choose the hybrid model to balance team productivity and employee satisfaction.
By taking these steps, businesses can not only reduce burnout, they can also cut down their operational costs. Eventually, workers stay more engaged and give the best results possible.
5. Provide Consistent Feedback
A manager’s positive or negative feedback matters a lot when overcoming burnout at work. If one of your team members performs exceptionally, your positive feedback will encourage them to work even harder. Your motivational words and positive feedback will improve their morale and operational efficiency.
On the other hand, if your employee is not performing as per your expectations, you should discuss the issues transparently. Ask them if any factors are hindering them from performing well. Maybe that staff member is not comfortable with the work environment. Or they may have concerns with the behavior of colleagues or supervisors.
This discussion will have two benefits. First, you can identify and resolve issues that are compromising performance. Secondly, your staff will feel valued and in control of their professional growth. Consequently, you can make informed decisions and reduce burnout at the workplace.
Job burnout, also called workplace burnout or employee burnout, is a common issue. It refers to employees feeling demoralized and disengaged with their jobs. Their performance declines rapidly with time. Eventually, they look for other jobs that badly affect overall organizational performance.
From an employer’s perspective, burnout can be costly. They can struggle to meet their client’s expectations or retain a talented workforce.
Nevertheless, the problem can be solved by taking a proactive approach to staff management. Employers should introduce fair compensation for all their employees based on their skills and expertise. Similarly, they should support their teams and listen to their concerns. An environment of teamwork and collaboration should be fostered along with flexible work arrangements.
Lastly, managers should give consistent employee feedback to motivate them and boost their morale for better outcomes.