We’ve previously discussed the importance of your employees’ emotional well-being and how you have the power of providing not just a job but a standard of living for them.
Another way of showing your employees you care is through discovering when they suffer burnouts and how to prevent them from happening in the first place. Understanding how burnouts happen is crucial as your employees are also the people that move your company forward. Moreover, you don’t want them to break down from overwork either.
Signs of employee burnout can be easily overlooked as just another feature of a tiring workday. But you’ve noticed that an employee’s fatigue or stress isn’t just a one or two-day thing, then it’s time for you as the manager or CEO to step in.
The harsh reality that every manager and CEO has to come to terms with is that burnout is unavoidable, no matter how exciting the job can be or how many perks are offered. Because at the end of the day, there is bound to be a time when an employee gets exhausted from the routine and the enthusiasm they once had can fizzle out no matter how much they love what they do.
However, this does not mean that these employees need to be fired or demoted. It’s essential to keep in mind that your employees are your most valuable assets. Often, it’s not that they don’t want to give their all for the job, but that their burnout needs to be addressed.
What does burnout look like in employees?
When identifying signs of burnout in employees, it’s helpful to keep in mind the circumstances in which employees are more likely to yield to burnout.
Here are some (not all) situations that may cause burnout in employees :
- Demanding too much of themselves.
- Not receiving affirmation for their work.
- Feeling inadequate or inadequate.
- Having irrational demands placed upon them.
- Being in a role that’s not a good fit for them.
Suppose you notice any of these situations unfolding in front of you. In that case, you may want to look out for the following burnout symptoms and possible courses of action to help your employee.
This is the number one clue that can help you identify if your employee has burnout. It is entirely normal for anyone to feel tired from time to time. But if you notice that they are exhausted all the time, this means there is something more going on.
It is crucial to understand that although this exhaustion could be physical, and you find your employee sleeping on their desk a lot, it could also be emotional. Other signs of exhaustion include loss of weight, ill or sickly appearance, dark circles under the eyes.
Check-in with them. Ask them what’s going on. They may be facing something at work or at home on top of their job requirements, so reach out to them to find out what’s going on and see if you can do anything to help or show that you care and value them. If there is something wrong, let them confide in you. If nothing’s wrong, then most likely it is burnout. Cut them some slack for a few days to let them get over the fatigue.
- Mood Swings
Moodiness, irritability or negative attitudes, in general, are dead giveaways of burnout in employees. For example, tensions in a workplace can be the result of a clash in personalities. However, suppose an employee is suddenly unable to get along with everyone. In that case, it is a sign that the employee is under a lot of pressure.
Another sign to note is when your employee shows signs of having depression.
You’ll notice that the employee has a decreased passion for their work. Defensive mechanisms like overeating or appetite loss may also become apparent in employees suffering from depression due to burnout.
Encouragement and appreciation go a long way in making anyone feel better, especially if you’re the supervisor or manager of this employee.
You may also want to facilitate a safe and conducive environment for employees to express their emotional needs. This will help in combating depression in the workplace as encouraging them to speak about their negative feelings can be a cathartic way you can offer help.
- Missing Work Days
Another huge burnout sign is when your employee starts taking too many ‘off’ or sick days. By not being at work, the employee doesn’t have to deal with the stress or routine of their work life. Since they are unsure of what to do, sometimes escape might seem like the only option.
However, do note that some employees take ‘off’ when they are actually sick or need to attend to something personal! Illnesses such as colds, headaches, or body ache are also classic signs of too much mental pressure. So if your employee is getting sick too often, you should start being concerned about their emotional well-being.
You may want to start a wellness program or offer free wellness credits to your employees. This allows them to start a wellness program that will help them cope with stress and remain mentally healthy while they work.
As the manager or CEO, you should communicate with your employees and proactively check in with them to ensure that those who are stressed or exhausted take a break to properly rest and recover. Suppose your employee suddenly breaks down from an overwhelming burnout that you’ve not noticed. In this case, the flow of your organisation may be hindered without any mitigating measures in place, and it is highly likely that the employee might not speak out about it to anyone until it is too late.
Hence, provide early support for your employees to recover their prior levels of productivity and enthusiasm by recognising burnout and nipping it in the bud.