Caroline Vernon was joined by a panel of INTOO career coaches including Holly Klenk, Lisa Nichols, and Carmen L. Bonilla to talk about the many causes of employee burnout. As we learned during the webinar, some of those reasons were not as obvious as others. This informative session provided learnings from the coaches’ experience with clients that could help you prevent future burnout.
Here’s a summary of key learnings from the webinar.
What are the causes of employee burnout?
There are reasons for employee burnout that may seem obvious to many: heavy workload, long hours, the pandemic. However, there are many additional factors that contribute to burnout:
- Lack of opportunity
- Lack of recognition
- Reduced social engagement
- Unrealistic performance expectations
- Lack of leadership support
- Poor management
- Misalignment of skills and values with those of the organization
- Lack of purpose; no feeling of tangible impact or outcome of work
How can you help address and prevent employee burnout?
While the signs of burnout can include diminished engagement, loss of productivity, increased attrition, and decreased morale, sometimes the signs aren’t so apparent. So how can you address burnout before it’s too late?
To begin with:
- Make an effort to get to know your employees individually
- Take the approach that everyone may be going through something
- When you do notice burnout, don’t make assumptions about what might be causing it. Ask questions.
Create opportunities for connection
Working remotely can cause people to miss out on impromptu and informal conversations that lead to deeper personal connections at work. Those connections are what can create an environment of psychological safety that allows employees to reach out to colleagues when they need help and support. It’s important to create situations that enable and encourage connection, even for remote employees.
Consider beginning meetings with a few minutes reserved for informal social conversations. Use messenger apps to check in with your employees just to see how they are doing. Even plan social gatherings, either online or, if possible, in person to help employees connect and establish relationships.
Create opportunities for growth
Workers can experience burnout when they don’t feel that their career development is supported. In fact, those who plan to stay with their employer for 2 years or more are twice as likely to say they have opportunities for growth with their company.
Leaders need to realize that employees are first and foremost human beings with aspirations, dreams, and both professional and personal interests. By taking an interest in them as complete human beings, employers can discover employees’ strengths and skills and consider how they may be able to be applied to benefit the company.
Facilitate their growth with opportunities for mentorship and career development, both vertical and lateral. Allowing employees to move about the company will keep them loyal while nurturing and developing their skills. By employing their interests in their work, workers can feel purposeful and engaged in their jobs.
Lead with compassion
Bring a compassionate leadership style to your workplace. Encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work by valuing their differences and recognizing them for their contributions. Doing so helps employees feel seen and appreciated.
Be a good listener and lead by example. Many leaders are also overwhelmed with deadlines and meetings. Model healthy behaviors by taking time off when needed and encouraging your employees to use their PTO or vacation time when needed. Allow employees to block out time to simply work and think.
It’s important for employees to get up from their desks. Encourage walking meetings. One-on-one meetings taken while walking are great opportunities for employees to incorporate wellness with work.
How can you advocate for your employees?
Convincing leadership to make changes in order to prevent burnout may seem in itself like a task that could lead to burnout! However, you may find the following justifications helpful:
- Employees who are burnt out can’t contribute their best to their roles and the company, as their ability to perform is diminished.
- Burnout can have long-term effects on retention and talent attraction.
- Turnover, lost productivity, and absenteeism can be quantified. By showing the impact burnout has on the organization through numbers, your leadership may more easily realize the benefits of addressing the problems causing it.
Click here to watch the webinar to hear suggestions from our career coaches that you can apply to your organization.
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