Burnout according to psychologytoday.com is a state of chronic stress that results in physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of lack of accomplishment and ineffectiveness, cynism and detachment. Although burnout can affect anyone regardless of their job, it is your high-achievers that are most likely to be affected.

Employees suffer burnout when they feel overworked and underappreciated for extended periods of time. As a result, their morale and performance suffers costing your business both time and money. Burned out employees can also become a toxic presence in the workplace affecting the performance of other employees.

StaffAdvert suggests five ways to prevent employee burnout in your organisation:

  1. Encourage a team environment. Employee burnout will start to creep in when your employees feel like their work has little meaning, purpose or value. Talk to your employees regularly to ensure that they don’t lose sight of the company’s goals. Help them feel like they’re an important part of a team working towards a similar goal.

Relationships within the team should also be encouraged to create a positive working environment. After all, nobody wants to be around people they dislike. Provide opportunities for your staff to socialise and build friendships by organising social events and encouraging goodwill among team members.

  1. Set reasonable expectations. Although employees need to be challenged to grow in their jobs and perform at higher levels for career advancement, make sure that the standards you set for them are reasonable and attainable. Setting unreasonable expectations could be counterproductive as it could give undue pressure to your employees.

Setting goals that your employees feel are unachievable will create extra stress, hurt their self-esteem and leave your employees feeling like they will never measure up to expectations. As a result, a number of employees will stop trying. Avoid this by setting standards that are within everyone’s reach.

  1. Recognise good work. Giving public credit to deserving employees is a sure way of building morale. Denying your employees the credit they deserve will make them feel their work is undervalued and their achievements are going unnoticed. With these feelings, employees could stop giving their best or even want to quit – both manifestations of burnout.

Develop a continuous reward programme that recognises outstanding performance and encourages it. This will not only encourage your top performers to continue working hard, but also provides other employees with something to work towards.  

  1. Encourage communication. Keep your employees in the know by providing information on the things going on in the company. This way they feel valued and part of the organisation. Feedback should also be provided consistently to give your employees a sense of direction especially when things are getting a bit challenging.

Effective communication is two-way and hence you should encourage your employees to come to you with their issues and suggestions. Encourage them to be open and honest about problems they might be facing in the workplace so that you can identify and fix them before they result in employee burnout. Sometimes people just need to vent to get back on track, so provide a listening ear when they need one.

  1. Provide the right resources. It can be extremely frustrating for employees when they have to muddle through tasks because they lack the proper equipment and training. Train your employees to make them more productive as well as reduce stress and frustration. Also provide the tools that workers need to do their job to help them speed along their workloads and ease pressure to avoid burnout.

Any employee can suffer burnout, but taking the above measures will ensure that you prevent it from happening for a happy, productive workforce.