Blog Post

Your people are more tired than you think: Tactics to prevent toxic burnout today.

You know how damaging employee burnout can be. First ebbing engagement. Then plummeting productivity. Then finally, tumultuous turnover.

Bad things. 

But you do a good job of preventing employee burnout, right? Your people are happy, engaged and inspired. Employee wellbeing tops your priority list.

Stop.

Because employee burnout is a bigger issue - for you, your people and your business, right now - than you think. Keep reading for proof, then keep keeping reading for some research-backed tactics to banish burnout for good. 

Your efforts at banishing burnout have fallen flat

 

Deloitte’s employee burnout survey finds 77% of 1000 professionals have experienced burnout in their current job – and 51% more than once. 

But your people love their jobs, you think. You’ve worked hard to build a culture that engages and ignites passion.   

But even so. That’s even more interesting.

Passion doesn’t preclude burnout

 

Deloitte’s survey found, 87% of those professionals were passionate about their job. That 77% figure takes all those passionate people into account. If you focus only on the employees without passion, 84% had experienced burnout.

Which means lack of passion does correlate slightly with increased burnout - but being passionate isn’t itself enough to dispel burnout. You can love your job but still feel stressed and frustrated sometimes. 64% do. A couple of times a week, for 32%.

This mirrors recent findings from the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence, into the relationship between engagement and burnout.

Engagement doesn’t exclude burnout 

 

We all know how important employee engagement is. Does it naturally follow that high engagement means low burnout? No. Like Deloitte’s findings, Yale finds the correlation isn’t nearly as exact as you think. 

While two in five highly-engaged employees also reported low burnout, one in five reported high engagement and high burnout. 

Which is a problem, because those highly engaged but burnt-out employees also reported an intention to leave their current role. The study even finds, “many employees appear to be optimally engaged while they are burned-out and considering to leave their jobs’.

Now, that’s worrying. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

Employee engagement is still A Good Thing.

Research like this just proves, the things you thought prevented burnout don’t.

We need new tactics.

 

Coming back to Deloitte, the numbers echo that. 69% of professionals feel their employer doesn’t do enough to minimize burnout – which is an opportunity. Your people are more burnt-out than you thought, but there’s space to fix it. Because right now, you’re most likely not giving your people what they want most. 

So what do your people want most? What can you do to turn things around, banish employee burnout, and keep your people onboard for longer? 

These things.

Eight Tactics to Banish Employee Burnout for Good

 
  • Co-create goals and deadlines. Deloitte found unrealistic deadlines and expectations were a major driver of employee burnout for 30% of respondents. Unrealistic deadlines are a byproduct of top-down goal-setting and hierarchical performance management. Move to a collaborative, agile approach where employees have ownership over their workload.
  • Create a culture of work-life balance. 29% of survey respondents credited their burnout to consistently working long hours or weekends, and one in four said they never or rarely use all their vacation days. This is an insidious cultural problem – read this article for eight ways to drive change.

Take Rockstar Games’ recent Twitter boast that the team were working 100-hour weeks to bring a new game to market, for example. Major cultural change needed, not just hollow after-the-fact apologies.  

  • Say thank you. 31% of respondents to Deloitte’s survey cited lack of support or recognition from leadership as a major burnout-inducing factor. Help your people feel valued and appreciated by creating a culture of recognition. One where you say thank you – not just for results, but also for effort. 

Imagine your team are working on a big project. It’s all they think about for weeks. And then senior management pulls the plug. That’s not an uncommon situation, and it can totally derail a team, destroy morale and accelerate burnout. Unless you recognize their effort and find positives within the bigger picture. 

  • Refresh your reward scheme. Nothing says thank you like tangible rewards linked to results. Think about ways you can actively reward your people when they do a fantastic job. Little unexpected perks can go a long, long way.

Imagine how much your team would value an unexpected day-off when they do bring that big project successfully across the line, for instance. Or a meal out. Or a bottle of fizz. All those hours they spent testing, fixing, sweating the small details. Caring, in short. They’d feel you cared back. 

  • Assess your support mechanisms. Stress happens. Frustration happens. You’ll never completely banish those. But you can create an environment where your people always have someone to talk to. An open-door culture where you encourage open, transparent communication. Where mental health isn’t a persona non-grata
  • Get continuous feedback. As the Yale study showed, employees who feel burnt-out are already intending to leave. It’s much harder to change made-up minds. If you let employee burnout sneak up on you, you’ve already lost the turnover battle. So don’t. Train managers to seek regular, continuous employee feedback, so you can nip problems in the bud.

That’s why Talmundo’s employee onboarding software prompts new hires to complete ‘pulse checks’ throughout their first months – and even years. It’s an early warning system for employee burnout, so managers can work with employees to solve the problem. Check it out here.   

  • Promote strong social ties from Day 1. Employees with a best friend at work are twice as likely to be engaged, Gallup report. Engagement mightn’t necessarily preclude burnout, but it does improve your odds. Plus, Deloitte’s survey found 51% of respondents deal with burnout by talking to friends and family. Help them make friends at work and they’ll have an in-built support system to defuse burnout before it begins. 
  • Ask your people what they want. 69% of professionals feel employers don’t do enough to help with burnout – but only 21% say their company does nothing. What that means is, there’s a disconnect between what you’re doing and what your employees want. Fix that by consulting with your people to create an employee well-being program that ticks their boxes. Not the things you assume are their boxes.

 For example, Deloitte found the three most important things employees say alleviate burnout are flexible work options, health and wellness programs and paid mental health/recuperation days. Meanwhile only 32% of organizations offer paid family leave, 30% flexible working and 28% employee assistance programs.

Don’t assume you’re immune to the damaging effects of employee burnout. The research proves you’re most likely not, even if you’re working really hard to build a good environment for your people. Instead of assuming, go back to the drawing board with these tactics and create an employee anti-burnout programme that really works.

Talmundo cares about helping you care for your people.

Claim your free demo to discover how our employee onboarding software makes it easy to create a powerful experience for new hires, to launch them into a more successful career with you.  


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