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How Can Leaders Help Prevent Employee Burnout?

  • By Sheldon Kawarsky
  • May 2, 2023

Employee Burnout

Employee burnout is an incredibly common issue in the workplace, with research showing that many employees are affected. Nobody wants to see their staff feeling overwhelmed and exhausted from their work, which can lead to reduced productivity levels, dissatisfaction throughout the team, and high turnover rates—so it’s essential for leaders to notice signs of employee burnout and help manage workplace stress. In this blog post, we’ll look at how you can use your team leadership skills proactively to reduce the chances of employee burnout occurring within your organization.

What Is Employee Burnout?

Employee burnout is a state of exhaustion caused by long-term, overworking without enough rest or adequate rewards or recognition. Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion can lead to cynical thoughts, lack of motivation, and decreased productivity at work.

For employees, the causes of burnout can be long hours, too much responsibility and workplace stress, micromanagement, job insecurity, or a feeling of powerlessness. These pressures leave workers feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with daily tasks.

Important Workplace Stress Statistics

Although we all experience stress in our everyday lives, stress at work can have particularly negative consequences.

  • 57% of U.S. and Canadian workers feel stress on a daily basis
  • 1 in 5 employees feel their work environment increases their stress
  • 36% of employees experience heavy stress at work oftentimes resulting in lost productivity and increased healthcare costs for employers
  • 25% of workers have called in sick because of stress
  • 1 in 5 workers have quit a job because of stress
  • 39% of workers say their workload is the main cause of their stress
  • 31% of workers say personal issues at work are the main cause of their stress
  • 19% of workers feel juggling their work and personal life is the main cause of their stress
  • 34% of employees experiencing stress don’t feel safe reporting it because they think it would be interpreted as a lack of interest or unwillingness to do the activity
  • 75% of people have experienced burnout at work, while 56% of employees say that their HR department didn’t encourage conversations about burnout

How Leaders Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout

Employers need to be aware that burnout is happening among their staff and should take steps to manage stress in the workplace by developing healthier practices. Here are some tips:

  • Employee Conflicts: Leaders can help to resolve workplace conflicts quickly before they cause tension that affects employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. To do this effectively, leaders must have great communication and team leadership skills to ensure all employees are up to date with company policies and management changes.
  • Team Communication: By staying connected with employees and effectively communicating the team’s mission, leaders can ensure that everyone is working together towards a common goal. This is especially important for remote work cultures when there is no physical presence of an employer or leader.
  • Employee Motivation and Engagement: It is important to continuously provide employees with honest feedback on their performance, so they have a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Daily check-ins with employees are key: reach out to them when they have questions or need help overcoming an obstacle that may be causing workplace stress.
  • Task Delegation: It’s essential for managers to be organized and have the skills needed to help those on the team that are feeling overwhelmed by multitasking. Assigning duties and responsibilities evenly will help the team work in harmony, focus on the tasks at hand, and get the most from their time spent in the office.
  • Clear Job Expectations: Establishing a clear job description with specific goals helps give employees direction and ownership over their work, while also providing them with the tools they need to perform at their best.
  • Positive Work Culture: As a leader, it’s important to create an environment where employees feel encouraged instead of burned out. This can be accomplished by prioritizing things like having a positive work culture, planning events and team-building activities, or taking small breaks during the work day that all employees can join in on.
  • Work Flexibility: With many people preferring a remote or hybrid work culture—due to health needs, personal responsibilities, or life balance requirements—company leaders must recognize these needs and allow them to work in flexible shifts that suit these reasons.

Join Our Management and Leadership Skills Training Workshops to Learn More

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Sheldon Kawarsky

Sheldon has over 20 years of experience holding manager and director roles in the private and academic sectors, focusing on business development and fostering relationships with companies, universities, government organizations, and venture capitalists. His strength is in relationship building and clarifying the needs of clients to ensure their training maximizes their return on investment.