Human Capital Management

8 Ways to Prevent Employee Burnout

/ May 7, 2024 May 7, 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we’re seeing a workplace epidemic around burnout. Several recent surveys show that over 50% of today’s employees are feeling burnout. According to SHRM, workers experiencing burnout are nearly three times more likely to be looking for another job. This isn’t something companies should ignore as it can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

Employee Burnout: Emotional, physical, and mental burnout employees feel due to workplace stress and frustration.

The impact:

  • Lower production
  • Lack of innovation
  • Increased mistakes
  • Decreased customer satisfaction
  • Increased turnover
  • Low team morale

All of these can contribute to large costs in forms such as customer service, quality control, healthcare expenses, onboarding costs, and more.

Ways to prevent employee burnout:

  1. Create an inclusive culture. We work too many hours to be in a place where we don’t feel we belong. SHRM reports those who feel a strong sense of belonging are nearly three times less likely to feel burnout. Creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels they belong will boost morale, productivity, and innovation. People thrive when they feel included.
  2. Invest in good leaders. We’ve all heard that people leave bad managers. People need leaders who inspire them, coach them, and make a point to help them grow and develop. While leadership isn’t for everyone, companies should make sure they’re investing in their leaders’ development to equip them with the tools to inspire and coach others. Often times, companies promote people who are good in a particular skill set but don’t take the time to train and coach them on how to become a good manager and inspirational leaders. Even the best managers need ongoing coaching and training to enhance their leadership qualities.
  3. Normalize taking breaks. Whether you’re fully on-site, hybrid, or remote, everyone needs breaks. Not having time to grab a snack, coffee or take a lunch is not something we should be celebrating. People need to have some space away from work to reset. Review meeting schedules. Are they necessary in the timeframe and cadence they are set now? Does everyone need to be at the computer for all of them? Set some meetings that can be designated as walk and talks. It’s not only giving people screen breaks but also encouraging healthy movement. Who can’t use more steps? Set no video days. If you’re a company that has a lot of video calls, your team can feel like they’re getting ready for a TV production every day. Allow people to opt out of video calls sometimes. Encourage lunch breaks out of the office. Getting a breath of fresh air can do wonders to help reset and influence creativity and relieve stress. How many times have you been stuck on something, and you walk away for a bit and come back and it just hits you?
  4. Provide Recognition. We all want to be praised for good work and feel valued. When someone recognizes you for good work, it boosts morale and motivation. As humans we crave being valued, so once we have that recognition, we want to continue those efforts to continue that recognition. Recognition can come in many forms. Some examples can include public recognition via social channels, announcements team-wide, small bonuses, or awards. It can even just be a conversation with a peer or leader. Be sure not to assume your team knows you value them. A little can go a long way to making someone feel good. Be genuine about it though.
  5. Clear communication. It’s important to make sure people understand the “why.” If you’re asking your team to do something or change something, they’ll be able to pivot better if they feel they understand the why. They want to know where they fit in and what the impact they will make is. Being clear with your expectations and deadlines allows people to understand what you’re asking them to do and what they need to accomplish with less confusion. The lack of clarity in direction increases frustration and stress for employees.
  6. Growth and development opportunities. Most people don’t want to be stagnant in their careers. While some are just looking for promotions, most are looking for challenges to increase their skills and learning. Ask your team what they want to learn and find paths to help them get there. They want to feel like they are developing themselves and becoming better every day. People need to see they have a career path and have goals to strive for.
  7. Realistic expectations and workload. We have a tendency to not visit workload frequently once assigned. Volumes of work can change over the months and years. It’s important to have a space where you can evaluate if the work on someone’s plate makes sense and is realistic for them to accomplish the goals you’ve set out. Work with your team to ask them how they feel about their workload and goals. Make those decisions with them so they feel part of the process. Some people may have more bandwidth than you think which can relieve some heavier plates of others. Some are too loaded up and expectations need to be adjusted. The stress of feeling overwhelmed with too much to accomplish than is realistic is a huge cause of stress and burnout. Have regular conversations to make sure people have even and realistic workloads.
  8. Have some fun. We spend a lot of time at work and we’re all humans. It’s important to have some fun. Maybe that looks like some fun office events or virtual events, or just better ways to get to know each other. Set up coffee chats so people can get to know each other better, take the team out for a fun lunch or activity, make sure people are taking their vacation days, and ask people about their days before you get down to business. There are many things that can create a positive working environment. Poll the team and see what they prefer. At the end of the day, happy people are more productive.

We hope you find these tips useful in reducing burnout in your workplace. Share with us some other suggestions that have worked for you. If you’re looking for assistance in reducing employee burnout and increasing morale and productivity, we have a number of solutions. From inclusive culture alignment, coaching, training, performance management design, assessments, and employee surveys we can find a solution that works for you. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.​