21 May, 2021

Tackling Burnout amongst Employees in 2021

Employee burnout levels have been alarmingly on the rise for the last few years. However, with the unforeseen challenges brought about by the pandemic, it has become the biggest challenge employers have to tackle today. With remote working teams and minimal inter-team interaction, employees are going through a socially and emotionally taxing time. Consider these statistics from Gallup- Employees who experience high levels of burnout are 63% more likely to take a sick day, 13% less confident in their performance and are 2.6 times more likely to be actively seeking a new job. Moreover, a Microsoft study declared Indian employees the second-most burned out in Asia, with one-third of Indian workers facing increased burnout.

What exactly constitutes burnout at the workplace? According to experts, burnout is characterized by lack of energy, sense of distancing from one’s job, apathy, lack of ownership and a sense of futility, often leading to reduced job efficacy. Given the current working environment, employers need to find new ways to prevent burnout from occurring. This blog talks about a 3-step strategy to help wrestle burnout using digital engagement tools:

Preventing Burnout through Recognition

Setting up a healthy culture of appreciation and instilling a sense of community is a must to prevent burnout from occurring in the first place. The right employee engagement software can help managers and peers recognize each other for their day-to-day contributions, via voice, video or text, making the appreciation feel memorable. Rewards and recognition for teams can be instrumental in promoting bonding as well as teamwork. Physical gifts can also be sent to employees’ homes, thus acknowledging their importance to the organization during these trying times.

Assessing Burnout through Pulse Surveys

Burnout is a gradual process and is difficult to track unless it results in drastic consequences like absenteeism, ill-health, attrition, or sustained underperformance. Thus, it is important to put metrics in place which will caution teams against unhealthy practices like unrealistic targets, lack of training and undue criticism. These can then be structured in confidential online surveys to get a pulse of the organization. Installing a simple mood-o-meter for when employees log into their work apps can also give critical insight into the employee journey; angry, numb or sad moods can point to a potentially burned out employee.

Curing Burnout through Cultural Leadership

Mitigating the effects of burnout can be a gradual process involving a complete shift in focus on a cultural level. Organizations need their employees to feel like their well-being matters. Providing virtual counselling sessions, wellness events as well as rewards for keeping fit can be a good start. Features such as on-demand digital content delivery on wellness tips also reminds employees to maintain a work-life balance. On a team level, leadership coaching can be facilitated through an employee engagement platform to help managers lead with empathy. In fact, leaders and managers should set the right example by prioritizing their own well-being and turning empathy inward first. A burned-out leader can only produce burned out teams.

According to Forbes, employee burnout is a leading cause of attrition, and can wreak havoc on workplace culture. Having the right mix of leadership training, appreciation, employee listening and wellness practices can help re-orient business focus to be more employee-friendly, which is the need of the hour.