Unfortunately, most of us know what burnouts look like. It is not just about being tired or stressed. Nor it is something that a weekend will resolve.
Burnout is an overwhelming tension that is brought by multiple causes.
When employees constantly face stressors in the workplace, they start feeling powerless. This situation leads employees to develop a skeptical attitude toward their responsibilities and results in a significant drop in productivity.
The overwhelming stress felt by burnout employees can threaten their jobs, relationships, and health. For this reason, it is vital that you, as a human resource leader, know how to prevent this situation from happening in your workplace.
Let’s explore some of the ways that you can implement this prevention plan.
Encourage Real Rest Time
Although you might believe that driving productivity entails making your employees work longer and harder, that’s not the case. Technology has been accelerating the pace of our lifestyle, as a society in general. However, as human beings we still need rest.
According to Psychology Today, the regions of the brain that are responsible for solving problems, making decisions, developing plans and interpreting information work best when the mind is still. This means that if you want your employees to make complex connections to resolve problems, you need to make sure that they have enough breaks to clear their minds.
Our working culture doesn’t value resting-time as it should. More than half of American workers don’t use all of their vacation time. However, putting in more hours doesn’t help them get their jobs done. Extra hours are not as productive and they merely contribute to burnout.
As a human resources professional, you are responsible for encouraging your employees to have quality time outside work. To make this happen, you must establish reasonable working hours and be flexible.
Many employees, especially recent graduates, feel the necessity to prove themselves by staying at the office a few extra hours. I recommend that you discourage your employees from doing that. Going home at the regular time will allow them to do other activities that they enjoy, and on the next day, they will come back motivated to their best.
When employees have a sense of fulfillment in their personal lives, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Allow them to decompress over the weekends so that they return on Monday with new insights and plenty of energy. Respecting your workers’ time will also improve morale.
Invest in Wellness Programs and Benefits
Offering the right employee benefits and wellness programs is crucial to help your employees to avoid burnouts. The best employee benefits package includes programs to improve workers’ physical and mental health.
If you can contribute to your employees’ happiness, they will certainly contribute more to your company’s goals. Happy and healthy employees have more energy to dedicate to their work responsibilities.
There are multiple wellness programs that you can implement to improve your employees’ well-being. My favorite ones include:
- On-site counseling
- Partnerships with mental health providers
- Health and exercise rewards programs
- Smoking cessation programs
- Healthy meals and snacks available on site
- Relaxation rooms
- Commute assistance and transit options
- Cutting-edge technology to accommodate employees
By incorporating wellness programs in your employee benefits package, you’ll be securing top talent. One of the most successful ways to attract and retain talent is not only telling employees that you care about them but actually showing that you care through wellness programs. If you want your best employees to stick around and perform to their full potential in your company you must make sure that they are being taken care of. Employees that feel good are less prone to burning out, consequently to quit their jobs.
Communicate Openly with Employees
An open-door policy is essential for helping your employees manage stress. You must be transparent when communicating with your employees. In this way, they will be transparent to you too.
It is essential that employees know that they can trust you and other leaders to navigate obstacles and avoid burnout.
The first step is to create an atmosphere of respect by encouraging employees to come to you with ideas, questions, and feedback. I have realized that most companies claim to have an open-door policy, but in reality, many of them don’t practice it.
Providing education about how to manage stress and avoid burnout shows your employees that you’re on their side and understand what they feel. It is key that your staff feel that you understand them and what they are going through.
Help Employees to Connect to a Purpose
In this day and age, most people in the workforce don’t want to punch a clock just to bring home a paycheck at the end of the month. Employees want to connect to a purpose that brings them fulfillment as a human being. Not being able to connect their work to a purpose makes employees feel worthless.
This means that if you want motivated employees, you must be constantly communicating the purpose of every task they are responsible for, and how it will help the company achieve its goals.
You must explain why each job responsibility is important. If employees understand that and connect it to the company’s vision, motivating them becomes easy. If you can get them to find purpose in their work, they will naturally be more willing to put in their best efforts.
Recognize Employees’ Achievements
In addition to working purposefully, employees need to be recognized for their achievements. You might think that financial incentives are enough to keep employees engaged. However, research shows that recognition is a better motivator than money.
Leaders must offer specific and timely praise to recognize workers’ accomplishments effectively. Don’t wait until their end-of-the-quarter review to compliment them. To make your positive feedback more effective, you must make it while as soon as the well-done task is completed.
Additionally, making your recognition public can bring a few other benefits. Not only the recognized employee will feel good, but also other employees will be able to see the company’s progress and even feel more motivated to accomplish a goal too.
Assign Realistic and Achievable Tasks
Holding employees to unrealistic standards is a prime way to make them burnout. To meet unrealistic expectations, workers need to rush and take shortcuts. This situation leads to a cycle of poor performance, inferior quality results, disappointment, and of course, employee morale issues.
If you want employees that come to work motivated and ready to get their jobs done, you must help them to set realistic goals. I’m not talking about setting up an easy goal, because this will also reduce their motivation. I’m talking about challenging but achievable goals. Additionally, the more specific and relevant the goals are, the easier it will be to keep employees accountable.
Encourage Employee Development
Employees are an organization’s main asset. Therefore, you must invest in them by fostering their growth. Investing in their development not only enhances workers’ skills and boosts their knowledge, but it also inspires them to give back to the company with a stellar performance.
The most effective ways to build an outstanding employee development program include:
- Offering regular performance reviews;
- Giving and asking for feedback frequently;
- Providing opportunities for promotion;
- Implementing relevant training programs;
- Encouraging networking and membership in professional organizations.
Create a Friendly Workplace
While healthy competition can boost employee morale and performance, a hostile environment will cause dissatisfaction and demoralize your workforce.
You must prioritize the curation of a welcoming work environment, where employees feel comfortable. The more comfortable they feel the more productive they will be.
The first step in cultivating a welcoming workplace is by encouraging healthy interpersonal relationships amongst co-workers. It’s crucial for workers to have meaningful connections with their colleagues. Having friendships within the workplace will only make the workflow better.
The Bottom Line
Reducing stress in the workplace does not depend only on employees. Human resource leaders must be able to recognize behaviors that will lead to employee burnout and take action to avoid it. It is crucial to focus on nurturing a welcoming, respectful, encouraging work environment to make employees feel seen, heard and appreciated.
Author Bio: Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Squibler. Forbes noted him as one of “12 Innovative Founders To Watch And Learn From.”