Top management, especially in small businesses, has a lot on their plate. They are responsible for setting the overall direction of the organization, keeping an eye on operations, and ensuring that funds and resources don’t run out. With everything happening, it’s easy for them to overlook what’s going on at the employee level. Prioritizing the bottom line above all else can have adverse effects on people’s motivation and disposition, which can lead to the physical and emotional exhaustion called burnout.
With how prevalent burnout is in the modern world, the World Health Organization (WHO) included it in their International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon. According to WHO, businesses should look for signs of energy depletion, negative feelings towards one’s job, and reduced performance at work. If burnout is not addressed immediately or at all, the consequences will weigh heavily on the company in the form of a high turnover rate, low productivity, and expensive healthcare costs.
To keep employees happy and healthy, companies can employ the following strategies to avoid burnout:
Always define the relationship
One of the major causes of burnout is uncommunicated and unrealistic expectations. Employees operating in ambiguity and grey areas will be in a constant state of anxiety and confusion. They don’t know what success looks like for their roles, and which areas they are accountable for. That can lead to a lot of second-guessing and trying to pre-empt what management wants from them. Without clearly defined job roles, it is also easy for managers to dump miscellaneous tasks onto employees. The increased workload and demands will affect the employee’s physical and psychological well-being.
Train managers on employee engagement and motivation
It is a well-known fact that having a bad boss is the number one reason people leave their jobs. Immediate supervisors who regularly throw their people under the bus and go around in an angry and selfish tirade can make any loyal and high-performing employees stop caring about the company. They are responsible for creating the culture in their division, managing workloads, and preventing burnout. Sometimes though, managers perpetuate toxicity because they lack skills and knowledge to do better. Regular training and best practice sharing for managers can do wonders for building a culture of trust, honesty, and engagement.
Encourage mental health days
Despite the company’s best efforts, high-stress situations and large workloads can be unavoidable. When this happens, encouraging employees to take mental health days can help in restoring their energy and morale. It’s like how it is in farming. Giving the topsoil ample time to recover its nutrients will ensure that it doesn’t lose its fertility too soon. Planting too many crops in a short amount of time will leave barren land.
If companies are also supportive of mental health days, employees will see no need to lie about being sick just to have a break from a stressful week. It will lessen their apprehension and fear of being perceived as a person with a weak mental constitution.
Employee burnout is a real problem that businesses should look out for. They can lessen the chances of burnout from happening through clear job expectations, proper training for managers, and being encouraging about mental health.