Employee burnout has been on the rise in many organisations, resulting in higher turnover rates. In 2019, WHO officially classified it as a medical diagnosis due to its prevalence in many organisations. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation by piling up caregiving responsibilities, work-related stress, and job security and health concerns. Many employers fail to recognise the problem, leaving employees to shoulder the burden on their own. This stress can be costly to the company since it increases employee turnover. Apart from physical health concerns, work-related stress also reduces confidence in your workers’ performance.
Luckily, most of the factors that contribute to employees’ exhaustion are within a manager’s control. That means employers can come up with ways to identify and address work-related stress.
Workplace Factors That Cause Stress and Burnout
There is no doubt that work-related stress and burnout are caused by complex, overly demanding and fast-paced lifestyles. However, unfair compensation, bias and favouritism at work also break the psychological bond that brings meaning to work. Lack of communication and clarity can also increase frustration since workers cannot understand their responsibility and contribution to the organisation’s goals.
Overworking employees, assigning unreasonable tasks and setting unrealistic time constraints can also pile pressure on your employees, leading to exhaustion. Lack of support from upper management can also cause poor performance, and reduced professional efficacy.
How to Identify Burnout in Your Workplace
Unfortunately, some employers misinterpret fatigue as laziness, tiredness or disengagement. Treating exhaustion as a personal problem or talent management issue can be disastrous since companies rely on talent to boost their bottom line. Instead of ignoring the problem, you can identify its causes and find solutions.
You can only identify employee burnout if you are aware of the warning signs. If you notice employees exhausted most of the time, sleeping at work or calling in sick often, you should investigate the cause of the sudden change. Many employees will also demonstrate low morale, detachment and dissatisfaction with their work.
While friction between workers is common, exhausted employees are irritable, will snap at co-workers and clients without provocation and harbour grudges. Cynicism can breed negativity and create a toxic work environment. If your staff members regularly complain about working for long hours without adequate compensation, you need to identify the cause of the problem.
Apart from observing the warning signs, you can use employee management tools to identify signs of work-related stress and exhaustion at work. For instance, the Performance Management Software from Advance Systems records performance appraisal reviews of every employee and creates a scorecard. With the records available in one database, you can compare past and present performance trends. If there is a sudden shift in behavioural changes, you can use the performance review as a benchmark to assess the changes. With a transparent performance appraisal system, you can quickly identify the red flags and take immediate action.
How to Prevent Employee Burnout
You should not under estimate the effects of exhaustion and stress on your work workforce. Instead of being reactive to work-related exhaustion, you can be proactive and develop measures to foster a healthy work environment.
Encourage Employees to Go for Mental Health Days and Vacations
Morale often declines during highly stressful times, and it can pile up stress and cause exhaustion amongst employees. However, it alleviates any apprehensions over requesting time off to relax if you encourage mental health days. When the c-suite initiates health days, employees are likely to embrace them without worrying about negative repercussions.
You can introduce an incentive to encourage workers to take mental health days, such as a gift card to their favourite coffee or pastry shop. Apart from mental health days, encourage your staff to utilise their vacation days. Check the employees with an excess vacation balance and discuss with them the importance of a work-life balance. Spending time away from work is refreshing and will relieve employees’ stress.
Provide Clear Communication
As a manager, you need to communicate the performance goals and the role of each staff. You can set new performance objectives annually and adjust them quarterly to ensure they meet the business requirements. It is also vital to review the responsibilities regularly to ensure fair distribution of duties amongst the employees.
Apart from relaying information, managers should also encourage and motivate employees. Listen to their issues and address them to ensure everyone is comfortable at work. Creating a supportive culture can encourage employees suffering from burnout to seek help and improve their performance. Encouraging meaningful interpersonal relationships among co-workers also boosts engagement at work. Besides, workers often feel energised and motivated when working alongside their friends and are less likely to acquire work-related stress.
Promote Fairness at Work
Any form of bias and favouritism can negatively affect workers’ commitment to their tasks. You should value the effort of every team member and appraise their performances without bias. Promoting fairness at work can also eliminate cynicism in your organisation and boost performance. You can promote fairness by revising your employee scheduling system. Ensure every worker gets equal shifts at their preferred time to avoid bias. In case of any changes, you should involve the employees in the decision-making process to ensure everyone is satisfied with the changes.
Job rotations and equal career development opportunities can also boost fairness at work. Create a realistic job design that ensures everyone benefits from the enrichment opportunities and doesn’t work in the same position for extended periods. You should also review your compensation system and ensure everyone receives competitive and fair pay that matches their responsibilities in the organisation.
Employees’ well-being is critical to every organisation, and you should not underestimate the effects of stress and burnout. Luckily, you can take preventive measures to mitigate the adverse effects. For instance, regularly monitoring the performance reviews using the Advance Access’ Performance Management Software can foster a healthy workplace.