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Employers Guide to Employee Burnout

Are you noticing employees suddenly missing from work or missing deadlines? Are they generally tired or disengaged? Do you notice lethargic responses? If you answer yes to those questions or feel like you have witnessed such a pattern in your employees, then your employees might be facing burnout.

Promoting employee wellbeing and managing burnout is of utmost importance and need of the hour. It is directly impacting employee engagement, productivity and eventually the success of the organization. Employee wellbeing is no longer just about providing medical cover but also other aspects of the employee’s life (emotional, mental, and social). 

WHO has classified burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ and defines it as a syndrome. In a nutshell, it results from chronic workplace stress. It leads to exhaustion, or cynical feelings and mental distance from one’s job and ultimately reducing professional productivity. 

Now the technical definition has us thinking that it happens rarely and mostly in places with a bad work environment or haphazard workplace culture. However, revisit the WHO pointers and check statistics on how common these are!

Let's explore creative strategies and tricks to help employees combat burnout.

HR Bot or Automated Employee Engagement Software   

An innovative idea that is born out of recent digitization and offered by a lot of online employee engagement solutions companies include Bots and automated engagement software. A couple of this software is available free of charge online. These include team games, goal setting in creative ways, innovative and fun quizzes, etc. The asset value of this software is that they help retain employees through engagement while helping them stay motivated and connected.

An interesting example is hosting a random quiz where you give the employees a situational question and they respond by picking who they think would have been a part of it. 

This could be a welcomed break in the monotony of their daily schedule. 

For example: Who do you think would have ordered a pizza with pineapple? 

Option 1: Employee X            

Option 2: Employee Y

These can have additional chat features that can help connect employees across their department and other departments.

Burnout Buddy 

Think about your college or university days, a number of these places assign buddies to new intakes, who are generally seniors. This buddy helps you adjust to the daily mundanities of your college and help you with issues when required. Similarly, there are a few companies that train their employees to signpost and identify from among their colleagues who may be struggling and require help.

Drawing in from the fundamentals of these, employees can volunteer or the employers can pre-assign buddies for their employees. In this way, you not only create awareness about burnout and wellbeing but can also increase engagement between employees. The process helps to have a dialogue about your true feelings in a less constricting manner, employees know who to approach when things go awry and finally it promotes a sense of belongingness.

Employee Care Packages and Appreciation Gifts

We all love gifts, don’t we?

Getting your employee meaningful gifts for their efforts and varied milestones (1st work anniversary, a most productive employee for the month, etc) shows that you care and appreciate their work. 

When an employee is sick, or celebrating life events ( birthdays, marriage, childbirth, degree completions, etc), living by themselves or are stuck in a pandemic, send a curated care package as a little reminder that you will stand by them as they do for the organization.


Wellness programme 

Employee wellness programmes can be a great way to boost mental health, improve morale and stay holistically healthy. These don’t need to be mundane as you can add creative programmes to keep everyone interested and motivated to be a part of them. For example different exercises or boot camps, creative workshops, etc.

You can even use mental health scoring, as at times ‘how you feel?’ can be ambiguous and difficult to explain. These scores can be anonymous and serve as an indicator for when and how to seek help. Indeed, multiple platforms offer corporate employee wellness screening and related mental health services. Having your employees given the choice to be enrolled for such services can help them have an anchor when things start overwhelming them. 

There are several other tried and tested ways to help with a burnout like being less critical, providing breaks, having clear communications and clear delineation of tasks. However, with changing times we need to adapt to creative solutions. A worldwide survey statistics (2020) revealed that India ranks the second highest in Asia with 41% of the workers facing increased burnout. Additionally, citing lack of separation between work and personal life negatively impacting their wellbeing. Collaborating with organizations that provide EAP services that promote wellbeing can be helpful.