How to Burnout-Proof Your Workforce

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For many, the burnout struggle has occurred during some part of their career. Happy and engaged employees dedicated to the cause seldom hesitate to take on extra tasks at work. They feel inspired and excited to carry out their company’s mission, all the while forgetting to take care of their basic needs. While leaders can appreciate the extra mile their team is willing to go, be aware that burnout can and will happen. Overworked employees are more prone to mistakes and oversights, which just ends up being counterproductive. It’s a leader’s job to be proactive and prevent burnout by promoting these tips to help your people sustain a healthy, balanced work life.

Evaluate workload on an ongoing basis

Everyone has their ‘A’ team, and often, others accidentally lean on them too much, causing undue burden. If your top performers seem like they’re feeling the pinch, it’s time to start investing in your bench. Spend time nurturing up-and-coming employees so that work is dispersed evenly. Not only will you avoid overworking your workforce, but you’re also promoting “leadership at all levels.”  

One way to evaluate workload is to ask all employees to rate theirs on a monthly basis. This way, you’ll have company-wide data to analyze for trends and potential solutions.  (Read more about using data to make talent management decisions here.)

Encourage time away from the office

We get it, vacation requests can be a headache. Trying to cover the responsibilities of missing employees is tough, but absolutely necessary. Divide necessary responsibilities of the vacationing employee among the department, so that it’s not a big project. In fact, this practice pays off in the long run, because it is good succession preparation. 

Planning for employee vacation time is important, but it isn’t enough. In order to promote a healthy balance, there need to be behavioral signals from the top. As employees are taking less vacation time, so are senior leaders. Recent studies show as little as 41 percent of American workers use their paid time off– with senior employees less likely to take time off. Leadership sets the tone of the organization, so encourage managers to get away as well. When employees see that leadership has a life outside of the office, they will follow the lead.

Maintain an awesome work culture

Employees that enjoy their work environment are less likely to feel burned out. When employees feel replaceable or not valued, it tends to show in their performance. Make a point to have meaningful conversations with your team. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out speech everyday. Talk to your people, express genuine gratitude for their efforts in the company. A little recognition goes a long way in terms of an employee’s sentiment and loyalty toward the company,

Be proactive to prevent burnout

Bottom line, burnout happens to the best of us. Skilled leaders, however, can play a significant role in reducing burnout in their workforce. When employees enjoy their workload, spend time away from the office, and have leaders who appreciate them, the “R&R” is baked into the job. Be proactive in rejuvenating your people as they will reward you with a strong work ethic and a well-run organization.

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