Burnout is real, and it can be a huge problem! The formal definition can be described as a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. What exactly does that look like? Employees get disengaged, they begin losing interest in what they’re doing at work, and soon enough, they’ll go out and find a new job. For obvious reasons, businesses want the most output from their employees as possible. The hard part is finding ways to motivate employees and increase their productivity without pushing too far! Giving employees to much of a workload can result in a "burnout" which actually results in a decrease of productivity.
According to research by Cornerstone, "Work overload decreases productivity by 68% in employees who feel they don’t have enough hours in the day to complete their tasks." In short, you cannot treat employees like machines and improve production by increasing number of tasks.
Burnout is the last thing employers want people to experience at their workplace, yet Millennial Burnout Syndrome is a prevalent worry. Millennials are constantly getting burnt out and “job-hopping” has become the norm. Although it’s easy to hold to the idea that burnout is a persisting problem found in multiple generations, we can't and shouldn't hope that it’s something that will magically resolve itself.
If employers begin disregarding burnout as an issue, they’ll see the same costly “job-hopping” trend in a new generation. Here are five solutions that’ll help your company through employee boredom and drive employee engagement up:
1. Make Employees Part of the Big Picture.
Share with your employees where you see the company going and what you intend to do to reach those goals. Then give them the opportunity to make a difference through the work they are doing and give them the chance to help guide your company to success. Don’t micromanage but hand them the tools they need and allow them to see how their work is actually making a difference.
2. Help Them Grow.
No one wants to stay in the same role forever. Take each employee’s career path seriously and provide them with the support, training, and mentoring they need to succeed. If you see that they’re excelling in one area and really love doing that part of their job - give them the chance to actually do it.
If you help each and every employee grow along with the company, you’ll notice a big change towards the work they’ll help your company do along the way. Stay competitive with job compensation and make sure employees know their career pathway and how they will be progressing along with your company's succession plan.
It's also beneficial for your company to continue training and developing employee skills. Allow them to learn new skillsets and strategies will not only allow them to increase their work output but also fulfill their need to learn new things and achieve their personal goals. Find things that they are interested in learning that will benefit both them and the company.
3. Recognize and Reward Achievements.
Achievement and recognition for accomplishments are highly motivating factors for any employee. If they were able to reach their goals, reward it! Recognize that your employees are doing an amazing job and acknowledge it. Even a short verbal acknowledgment goes a long way. It’s the small stuff that can add up and have a big impact.
You could consider implementing recognition programs allowing employees to nominate their fellow coworkers for outstanding achievements. Doing so can incentivize employees and allow them to increase camaraderie with each other.
Make sure you are giving employees ways to provide ideas and opinions on things the company can do to improve. You might find that their ideas can bring significant improvements to the team! When you do end up using their ideas, give credit and recognition where it is due. Everyone likes it when they are appreciated and their ideas are used. If they realize their voice is being heard, they will be more likely to contribute in the future.
4. Encourage Communication in the Workplace.
Strong and good communication between your team members is always the foundation of what makes a great team. Create spaces where people will feel comfortable sharing their ideas and collaborate.
Don’t scrutinize them for wanting to talk about their weekends in the break room. Heck, encourage it. You’re working together at least five days a week for 40+ hours. Trust me when I say it’s a lot easier for a group to collaborate when it’s already easy for them to get along.
There are so many different technologies that can help workers communicate and teams collaborate digitally, but there is no substitute for face-to-face communication where both sides can read each others' body language. HR Specialist Zinny Obayagbona recommends,
As much as possible, pay attention to body language, gestures, facial expressions, and posture when communicating with employees. Try to make employees feel relaxed and encourage the same from them. Smile!
In-person interactions will decrease the chances of miscommunication and misunderstandings. Do your best to give all team members the tools and resources to communicate properly with one another.
5. Make Work-life Balance a Priority.
Take their benefits, work environment, vacation policies, and overall wellness into account. Show your employees that you trust them to be able to do their job and be able to take care of themselves properly. Have flexible vacation or work policies.
Create spaces where employees are able to do something in the office that isn’t just about work (yoga, ping pong, something stress-relieving). Consider providing after-work activities where they can socialize with each other and do things together outside of the workplace. It’s important that you’re providing a positive work experience that will add to a richer, more fulfilling life.
Consider implementing employee well-being programs that will allow employees to have healthier lifestyles as well! Health, happiness and productivity all go hand-in-hand with each other. By having these kinds of employee benefits in place, you will show employees that your company cares about them as individuals and they are not just another cog in the machine.
Bottom line: burnout sucks. Not just for the employer but for the employee as well. Take the measures in ensuring your employees are happy and reap the success in the positive changes that come along with it.