Dealing with employee burnout is an existential challenge many Australian business owners face today. It's a sight we know all too well: workers looking tired, lacking drive, and uninvolved - a clear sign of burnout. The effects can be damaging, resulting in low spirits, less productivity, and even increased employee turnover. But it doesn't have to be this bleak.
At HR Coach, we get the ins and outs of these challenges and offer customised strategies to aid businesses in creating a caring and flourishing work atmosphere.
The Big 5 Stress Triggers
Preserving both the mental and physical health of your employees is a critical task for every business. Here are five prevalent triggers of employee burnout and insights on how you can tackle them.
1. Overbearing Workload
Excessive workload is one of the leading factors contributing to employee burnout or stress in the workplace. A study by Harvard Business Review highlights that overworking leads to dwindling productivity and can trigger burnout. Acting to reduce workplace stress could involve devising a fair system for task allocation and setting realistic due dates.
2. No Control
Employees who feel out of control in their work are more prone to burnout, as stated by the American Psychological Association. Encouraging autonomy in the workplace is crucial. This could mean allowing employees to participate in goal-setting or granting flexibility in work organisation.
3. Not Enough Rewards
A Gallup survey indicates that employees who don't feel sufficiently acknowledged are twice as likely to leave within a year. Therefore, appreciation and fair pay are essential. Think about introducing a comprehensive reward system that values both individual and team achievements. This can significantly contribute to nurturing a positive work culture and reducing burnout.
4. No Team Spirit
A feeling of community at work is vital for employee contentment and can directly affect burnout rates. Research published in Springer found that employees with robust social support at work reported less burnout. Regular team-building exercises and open communication channels can create a strong sense of fellowship and mutual support, serving as a buffer against burnout.
5. Unfair Practices
Fairness in the workplace is a crucial component of employee contentment and can greatly influence burnout rates. A 2019 article from Harvard Business Review revealed that perceived unfairness in the workplace can result in employee burnout. Ensuring transparent decision-making, providing equal opportunities, and fostering an inclusive environment are key steps in promoting workplace fairness and avoiding burnout.
How Employee Burnout Hurts Your Business
We've looked at what causes burnout. Now, let's explore why it's bad news for your employees and your business.
1. Bad for Health
Burnout isn't just about being overworked. It's a serious health issue that can lead to problems like high blood pressure and weakened immunity, as shown in a study by The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences. This doesn't just harm the individual's health. It also means more sick days and lower productivity for your business.
2. Hurts Mental Well-being
Burnout is tough on the mind, too. It can cause anxiety, depression, and knock your confidence. The World Health Organization tells us that this can make it hard to think clearly, make decisions, or work well with others. This is bad for the mental health of your employees and bad for business.
3. Lowers Work Quality
Burnout can make people less good at their jobs. Stress makes it hard to concentrate, be creative, or solve problems. According to a report from Gallup, this means poorer quality work and lower productivity. That's not good for your bottom line.
4. Increased Employee Turnover
Burnout pushes people to look for jobs elsewhere. As this study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows, this means you're constantly having to replace employees. This costs money and disrupts your business. Plus, it can make it harder for the employee who stay, affecting their mental and physical health too.
5. Damage to Company Reputation
Finally, burnout can damage your company's reputation. If people leave because of burnout, they might tell others about their bad experiences. This can make it hard to attract and keep the best talent. A Glassdoor survey found 92% of workers would consider moving if another company had a better reputation. So looking after employee well-being is not just good for them, it's vital for your business too.
Recognising the Signs of Employee Burnout
How do you know if your employees are experiencing burnout? Here are some common signs to look out for:
Decreased productivity and work quality
Increased absences or tardiness
Lack of enthusiasm or engagement in their work
Mood swings, irritability, and negativity towards colleagues or tasks
Physical symptoms include headaches, fatigue, and insomnia.
These may not be all-encompassing, but they are some of the most commonly observed signs of burnout.
5 Actions Business Owners Can Take to Prevent Burnout
Stopping employee burnout is a team effort. Here are some steps you as a business owner can take to reduce employee stress:
1. Create a Positive Work Environment
A good working environment is key for stress reduction. Work environments that encourage collaboration, open chats, and respect can greatly reduce stress in the workplace. As a leader, you can make this happen by encouraging employees with team activities, getting feedback, and building a culture of respect and inclusivity.
2. Encourage a Good Work-life Balance
Knowing that employees spend many hours at work, you should offer flexible hours and a work-from-home setup and make sure their workload is manageable. You should encourage employees to take regular breaks and use all their annual leave. This balanced approach allows stressed-out employees to recharge, increasing their happiness and productivity at work.
3. Offer Regular Training and Development
Giving regular training and development opportunities can help your employees feel they are valued and motivate them. Upskilling can increase employee confidence and engagement, helping employees manage stress and reduce feelings of burnout. Offering career development workshops and continuous learning opportunities not only improves your employees' skills but also helps them grow as people.
4. Fair Pay and Rewards
Fair pay and recognition are key to keeping your employees motivated. Make sure you pay your employees well and that your pay is in line with what others pay. Set up a reward system for good work and achievements. This could be bonuses, promotions, or even just saying well done in public. Feeling valued can lift employee spirits and reduce employee stress.
5. Promote Awareness of Mental Health
Raising awareness of mental health is an important step in burnout prevention. Setting up wellness programmes, providing mental health resources, and talking openly about mental health can help your employees handle stress levels effectively. Remember, a mentally healthy team is a productive and engaged one.
Get in Touch with HR Coach to Learn More
At HR Coach, we're dedicated to helping businesses like yours tackle employee burnout effectively. Our STAR Workplace software can help assess staff engagement and identify potential burnout triggers. We're here to guide you in designing strategies that promote a healthy and productive workplace. Chat with us today.