How to recognize, treat burnout among your team

Have you ever noticed that the employee who is helping you pick out a style of blinds for your windows might not have his or her full heart into the job? Maybe you noticed the person scanning and bagging your groceries is a bit quiet, not chatting you up and asking if you have coupons, as is usually the case.

Chances are good that employee is suffering from burnout.

A Gallup study of nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23 percent reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, according to a CNBC report. An additional 44 percent said they were sometimes burned out. Especially affected are millennials.

There is no single cause of employee burnout, according to Money Crashers. Common causes are:

  • Being overworked and underappreciated, with so much work demanding attention that it cannot be completed in a normal workday.
  • Being underutilized on the job. Employees become depressed or bored and lose interest in their work.
  • Another possibility is they feel insecure about their level of work or don’t fully understand what is expected of them.

The epidemic of burnout accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in health care spending each year, according to the Harvard Business Review. Those health issues, according to the journal PLoS One, include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under age 45.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing or easing employee burnout, CIPHR said there are steps that can help ease the stress and make a job more enjoyable.

First, review the job descriptions. Have you piled too much responsibility on one employee instead of sharing the work across the team? Too much responsibility for the success of a task can cause stress, which can lead to burnout.

Clarify objectives. Employees without a clear set of objectives can lead to employees shooting from the hip without a clear purpose. CIPHR noted this is particularly problematic with new employees. If there are no clear objectives, the worker will toil away at a task that is not in line with the overall objective, wasting time and talent, and leaving the worker dejected.

Providing adequate training is also key to avoiding burnout. Similar to not having established objectives, employees who do not have proper training to achieve those objectives can lead to burnout. Workers who are not sufficiently equipped with the skills to do their tasks can be stressed out when they don’t succeed.

Communication is key to avoiding a crash-and-burn situation. Providing employees with targets to hit and then going over their progress in regular reviews is vital to worker satisfaction. Giving them support to track their success is good for workers and for the company.

Promote a good work-life balance. Nobody wants to be on the job 24/7 without a break, even if they are away from the workplace. Employers need to understand there are lines they cannot cross when it comes to infringing on a worker’s downtime. Receiving constant work emails on the weekend reminding them of a big project coming up can cause resentment and additional stress.





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