Staff Burnout - 6 November 2007
Is it possible there are employees working twice as hard as your employees and yet they don't suffer from burnout, overwork, or stress? Of course it's possible.
There's a similar pattern of actions and causes between burnt-out employees and the experience people go through when they suffer from a nervous breakdown. Nervous breakdowns are usually triggered by some kind of loss. It might be the loss of a job, loss of money, loss of love, or loss of health. Whatever it might be, there's usually some kind of loss which results in mental and physical exhaustion.
The exact same thing happens in the workplace. If your employees are complaining of burnout, it doesn't necessarily mean they're overworked. Rather, it indicates there has been a loss of something at work that has triggered their feelings of overwhelm.
This can include loss of recognition (are they being rewarded and acknowledged for their efforts?); loss of communication (are there fewer opportunities to chat and listen to them?); loss of control (has employee autonomy been eroded?); loss of values (have ethics been compromised?); loss of relationships (has the team bond been broken?); and loss of fairness (have promotions or pay raises been awarded unjustly?).
Any one of these has the effect of making employees feel as if they're suffering from burnout, when in reality it's just that a necessary employee engagement attribute has been lost. Identify and rectify the loss, and you'll avoid the worst loss of all: your employees.
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