Employees are still plagued by burnout. So it begs the question: Is HR doing enough to help employees?
The bigger issue now: Almost 85% of employees don’t think their company is doing enough to address the issue. So even if you take burnout seriously and try to help employees avoid or recover from it, many don’t recognize your efforts.
Now employees continue to do more with less. They’re still overwhelmed professionally and personally. And they feel detached from what they love about work. It’s a perfect recipe for burnout.
“It’s super, super important to check in on employees now with one-on-ones,” says Jeff Cates, CEO of Achievers, “not just to talk about what needs to be done. Talk about challenges and get a pulse check on their stress levels.”
In addition to that, here are six ways you can help employees even more as they try to keep burnout at bay – or bounce back after suffering it.
Get the word out
You probably already have plans, benefits or events in place to help employees with burnout issues. But some employees may not see the connection if you don’t explicitly tell them something is meant to help.
For instance, if you provide mental health screenings and easy access to experts, let employees know those are part of your work to combat burnout. If you offer benefits such as fitness classes, meditation, nutrition counseling, etc., note on the schedule of events that they’re helpful to de-stress.
Another way: Pull together several educational, physical and mental health events. Then offer them as a series under an umbrella of “Helping Our Employees Avoid Burnout.”
The main point: Consistently and clearly communicate that the tools and benefits you offer are part of a company effort to address employee burnout.
Change the mindset
Many HR leaders struggle to get some front-line managers to recognize burnout is an issue for employees. Some managers think complaints of burnout are signs of weakness, only adding to their employees’ stress!
HR leaders need to help front-line managers keep the realities of burnout in perspective. Give them tips on identifying burnout.
From there, foster a mindset that burnout is a larger, company problem to fix – not an individual issue to scoff at. Then ask front-line managers to join in the effort to identify the biggest contributors to burnout and ways to alleviate them.
Make it easier to get help at home
Since many employees still work from home at least part of the time, it’s important to help them de-stress there.
One way: Give them some leeway and a budget in how they work against burnout.
For instance, TravelBank created a Work From Home expense policy that allows employees to invest in their surroundings, explains Tiffany Mast, Director of Digital Marketing. TravelBank wants to help employees create and work in their “happy place.” One employee may use the budget to get a healthy smoothie delivered occassionally. Another employee might invest in a fitness app membership. Or another might enjoy surrounding herself with fresh plants and florals.
Gather more best practices
As good as your ideas are to help employees avoid burnout, other HR pros and employers probably have good ideas to share.
TravelBank pulled together a group of leaders from other companies they do business with. Some had experience leading remote teams. Others didn’t. They came from a variety of industries and roles.
The common thread: They all wanted to learn new and different ideas to help employees avoid unnecessary stress and burnout. Some shared ways to keep employees engaged. Others had tips to keep their people active. Some had unique ways to motivate a remote workforce.
Can you think of a few companies you partner with that might want to try a similar panel? Now’s the time to organize it. Come up with some questions as a tipping off point – such as, “What’s been your greatest success in engaging remote employees?” – and see where it goes.
Amp up recognition
Most employees can handle the ordinary stress that comes with their jobs. They might struggle nowadays because more stressing factors surround us.
But employees find it easier to push through stress when they feel appreciated and recognized.
Give your front-line managers more tools and resources to tailor recognition and rewards to employees, suggests Cates.
“A lot of organizations rethink rewards to tailor them to their environment now,” he says. “For instance, create virtual events and recognition for remote workers. Then have special rewards for those who are working onsite. Plus, there’s social recognition for everyone.”
Another way to boost recognition: Give employees tools to reward and recognize each other. Some companies use apps that allow everyone to give reward points that can be accumulated and turned in for merchandise. Others use internal social apps for daily shout-outs.
Get even more flexible
One of the most effective ways to cut down on stress and burnout is increase flexibility. Nearly 85% of employees in the Blind study said it’s very important to them that their company offers flexible working hours.
With flexibility, employees can stay more focused – and hit the goals you need them to hit – when they work. They’re less likely to be distracted by their personal lives and concerns when they can choose to separate the two.