Employee Burnout: Ways to effectively tackle this as a leader in the workplace

A recent workplace burnout survey carried out by Deloitte showed that more than 70% of employees have/are experiencing burnout and their employers seem to be doing nothing about it. Could this be as a result of the employers not even knowing what their employees are going through? Some people might agree to this, but a lot of employees will certainly disagree. Before we go too deep into this article however, let’s examine what it means when an employee is said to be burnt out, shall we? Alright, let’s continue.

Workplace burnout is commonly defined as an extreme physical and emotional exhaustion that results in a lack of professional efficacy, increased cynicism, lack of engagement and depleted energy. Interestingly, employee burnout doesn’t happen overnight, rather, it’s a series of triggers that occur over time causing even the most passionate employee to become disengaged. Some warning signs that an employee is likely burnt out include;

  • Detachment from the workplace culture
  • Loss of motivation and enthusiasm for their job
  • Decreased productivity
  • Increased mistakes and poor memory
  • Inability to make decisions
  • They’re Irritable and more sensitive to feedback
  • Increased negativity and cynical outlook
  • Increased absenteeism

However, rather than address the root causes of burnout, workplace leaders including employers, HR and line managers often think it’s about money, and so they sometimes proceed to offering more perks/benefits to the employee. But this has proved not to be a suitable solution as most times the problem resurfaces and escalates up until the point where an employee loses their job. 

It then begs the question; how exactly can the root causes of workplace burnout be tackled in order not to get to the point where employers have to part with employees? Well, we’ll be revealing that in just a few more lines. But first, you need to know that tackling burnout is much more than implementing a well-being program. It’s changing workplace habits, identifying root causes and utilizing leadership to set the tone moving forward. 

Because employees look to their managers and leadership to learn the norms and acceptable behaviors of the workplace, leaders need to be the champions of mental health and well-being. For example, when employees see their manager work through lunch, not take leave, or work on holidays, they assume they need to do the same as well, and this cultivates a culture of burnout. 

I’m sure this surprises you, right? I mean, employees who often work overtime are usually more preferred to those that don’t, but as a leader, what you might not realize is that burnout can result from this and various other factors such as an unmanageable workload, lack of support, an inflexible schedule, low expectations & role clarity, unrealistic deadlines, micromanaging and unfair treatment.

But to help you effectively tackle this long lingering problem, here are some ways for you to prevent employee burnout in your organization;

  1. Lead by example
  2. Ditch the tradition 9-5 work and embrace hybrid/remote working policy
  3. Actively work to mitigate an overwhelming workload
  4. Encourage employees to take mental breaks throughout the day at their own discretion
  5. Encourage employees to use their leave period and holidays
  6. Integrate an employee feedback system
  7. Ensure employees are taken care of

The bottom line

In order to get the best out of employees, it is very important to ensure that they’re constantly in the best shape, both physically and mentally. Therefore, using the guide provided in this article, you can be rest assured that your employees will be free of burnout and its consequences.

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