As one of Perth’s leading recruitment agencies we are often contacted by good employees who are feeling burnt out from any number of factors in the workplace. We are also contacted by employers who are looking to replace an employee who is no longer performing as they once were. General assumptions may be that they are experiencing troubles outside of the workplace but sometimes there are issues at work that are leading to staff burnout.
Staff burnout is a significant issue in many organisations. It refers to a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long-term involvement in situations that are emotionally demanding. This is often due to excessive and prolonged stress. Feelings of exhaustion, cynicism and detachment from work, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment characterise burnout.
Three top signs of staff burnout
- Physical signs: Chronic fatigue, insomnia, impaired concentration, physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches.
- Emotional signs: Sense of self-doubt, feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated, detachment, feeling alone in the world, loss of motivation, increasingly cynical and negative outlook, decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
- Behavioural signs: Withdrawing from responsibilities, isolating oneself from others, procrastinating, taking frustrations out on others, skipping work or coming in late and leaving early.
We have learned that if a business is experiencing a high turnover of staff there might be a management or organisational issue.
Preventing and managing staff burnout is crucial and involves organisational as well as individual efforts. Many business owners have worked long hours with an extraordinary commitment to their businesses but expecting others to do the same can put enormous strain on your workforce. At the end of the day we want our businesses to succeed and the wellness of staff can have a huge impact on productivity.
At the core of what we’re talking about here is workplace culture and a healthy one will help you get the best results but also to help you retain and attract the best people for roles within your company.
Strategies for building a healthy workplace culture include
Promote a positive work-life balance
Encourage employees to take time off, limit the expectation of overtime unless it’s necessary, and respect boundaries between work and personal time. As a business owner I might feel okay to punch out a few emails on a Sunday evening but I shouldn’t expect my staff to respond to them that night!
Encourage open communication
Create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing workload, stress, and any issues that may contribute to burnout. Even just feeling heard is a big step in the right direction for building team morale.
This could be through employee assistance programs, stress management resources, or mental health resources. Team building exercises can help but so to does one on one support for staff who are experiencing difficulties.
Recognise and reward efforts
Regularly recognising and rewarding employees’ work can boost morale and motivation. Similarly being open to new ideas can do wonders in building a sense of team.
Ensure that workloads are appropriate and manageable. Employees should have the necessary resources and support to fulfil their job responsibilities. Recognise that not every staff member will be a high achiever in the same way. Some staff will produce amazing work when they have a little more time and space to get things done.
Promote healthy lifestyles
Encourage regular breaks, physical activity, and healthy eating. This could be through initiatives such as wellness programs that are inclusive and build people up as they make improvements and work towards their goals.
Provide opportunities for growth and development
Employees should have opportunities to learn, develop, and advance in their career. Acquiring new knowledge and skills creates a sense of purpose. Knowing that we have opportunities to move further up in our careers is great for motivation.
Know the signs of burnout
Different individuals experience burnout differently and will require different types of support. By keeping this on your radar and spotting the signs early you can help employees from going too far down this path.
Foster a positive work environment
A healthy and positive work environment, where employees feel valued, respected, and fairly treated, can help reduce stress and prevent burnout. This, and all of the above, is what helps to create a healthy workplace culture.
Your people are your company’s best investment. They’re the ones who talk to your customers and are often the ones doing a lot of the hard work. When they feel good about the workplace, and their place in the company as a part of a team, they will naturally perform better and everyone who comes into contact with your business feels this.
Knowing the signs we can act early to make sure no issues become too big and we can prevent staff from falling into burnout. When approached with sensitivity and understanding your workplace can become one the most sort after places for prospective employees.