Employee burnout is a problem many organizations face. In simple terms, it is a situation in which employees feel extremely pressurized at work, because of which they could run short of energy, enthusiasm and motivation in carrying out their work. When employees suffer from burnout, they could be fidgety, edgy, irritable, angry or go through a general loss of interest at work, which could spill over to their life as well.
Burnout can be due to a variety of factors, some of which include pressure from colleagues or pushy managers, lack of interest in the job, lack of creativity in what is being done, monotony of the work and other related factors. Having said all these, it is also equally true that it is the individual’s mental state too, that contributes heavily to employee burnout. It is the mental makeup of the individual that goes a long way in determining whether she handles pressure or succumbs to it. Many people handle heavy pressure very gracefully while others cave in or overreact to even small pressures.
Effectively dealing with employee burnout
How to effectively deal with employee burnout is thus a concern for most organizations in which this problem exists. It is good for the organization to do this quickly and effectively because they are as much victims of employee burnout as the employees themselves. An organization in which employees are low on energy and fire cannot be expected to compete in the market. Their products and services are not going to be of high or sound quality. And, in this era of information overload, it is never difficult for them to earn a bad name through the social media.
Prevention is key
We have heard the old saying that prevention is better than cure. This goes very well for burnout. Burnout is seldom noticed at first glance. It takes some time to build up. Being receptive and sensitive to these issues, HR should take the lead in identifying burnout among employees and should initiate remedial preventive actions before something big happens. These could include taking the employee into confidence and understanding what is making her behave erratically. HR can also counsel the employee and the manager to ensure that this is nipped in the bud to the extent possible. It could take the help of professional counselors and psychologists, which will go a long way in helping to douse the flames.
Identifying the employees with the potential is important
As we examined, not every employee has a burnout issue. Some are more prone to it than others. Here too, HR has a lead role to play in identifying those employees who show a tendency for burnout. It should particularly look for triggers in their behavior that could elicit stress. Those who lose their temper without reason, for instance, could be a candidate for burnout.
Identify the immediate triggers
Although employee burnout can be largely up to the individual, some factors can cause even the most unflappable employees to react. This could be extreme provocation from colleagues, targeting them for handing excessive work, chiding or humiliating or abusing them, and so on. One of the highly proven methods of how to effectively deal with employee burnout includes talking to the team to understand if this kind of behavior is the precursor to burnout or is the result of some other issue, which could include domestic problems, sickness or other pressures at life.
Offer practical remedies
HR or other players in management who are tasked with how to effectively deal with employee burnout can offer immediate steps such as asking the employee to take off work for a day or so or encouraging them to take a vacation. While these can go some way in relaxing the employee and bringing her back at work refreshed; these are at best short-term, symptomatic treatments. They are not cures. Understanding and addressing the underlying problem is the most effective means for how to effectively deal with employee burnout.
Fitness, yoga and the like are known to be effective. But these too cannot serve their purpose fully if the employee does not have the basics resolved. HR and management can play a role in resolving this, but it is finally up to the individual.