Jun 25, 2015, 12:00:00 PM / by John Duval
Is your company’s push for employee engagement burning out your best people?
Burnout happens when employees are physically, emotionally, or mentally exhausted. Throw in a lack of confidence about their performance or uncertainty about whether they’re valuable to your organization, and suddenly your formerly-great employees are floundering.
If your employees work long hours and stay connected to email on evenings and weekends while their vacation time goes unused, odds are good they’re burned out. If they aren’t yet, it’s only a matter of time. This can turn into a big problem for you as an employer.
What causes work exhaustion? Lack of control in job, long hours, work/life imbalance, confusion about expectations, and discord among coworkers or management can all contribute. As employees grow weary of their circumstances, job performance and attitudes suffer.
The good news? It's possible to keep employees engaged without burning them out. Here are 3 good places to start.
1. Invest in Your Employees.
Give employees the opportunity to grow. Send them to a conference, seminar, or other professional development activity. This extra knowledge benefits the company but more importantly, it shows employees that your company values them. Encourage employees to invest in themselves when you offer stipends or other incentives for certifications.
This kind of investment is more cost-effective solution than hiring a replacement.
Whether it’s a half-day seminar or a tuition assistance program, an investment in your employees is an investment in the success of your company.
2. Offer Alternative Employee Benefits
Money isn’t the only thing driving employees to seek new employers. Beyond a salary, employees see value in things like a healthy work/life balance, purpose in work, trust, and teamwork.
What are some alternatives you can offer employees outside of a bigger paycheck?
Change up the pace and location. Work-from-home days and flexible schedules offer some reprieve from a long commute, old routine, and stuffy office.
Amp up the company camaraderie with social events at the office. Whether it’s a group fitness program or a costume contest, don’t restrict work events to outside of office hours where employees sacrifice personal time to feel involved with the company. Get creative or appoint an employee to head up a social committee.
Encourage giving back. If lack of purpose can lead to burnout, motivate employees to contribute to a greater cause. Salesforce and Deloitte, among other Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, offer incentives for volunteering.
3. Give Employee Support and Recognition
Review the employee’s job description and duties with the employee. Does he understand what’s expected of him? Does he have proper resources to accomplish that? What’s changed in the last quarter or since he started in this role?
A good way to measure where an employee is thriving and struggling is a red light/green light review. Have the employee list out all of his or her duties. For each duty, have the employee mark it as green, yellow, or red. A green light marks the tasks the employee thrives in and enjoys. A yellow light signifies monotonous tasks that may or may not be necessary. A red light represents tasks the employee strongly dislikes or dreads doing each day.
Once the employee has evaluated each task within her job, discuss why she feels this way and consider opportunities to make more green light responsibilities and fewer red lights. Then you can reward the employee for her great work and increase productivity simultaneously.
A little recognition can go a long way. Whether it’s a personal note or recognition in front of peers, employees will work harder (and be more engaged) when they are recognized.
Implement these practices and see employees thrive.
Initiating and inspiring engagement takes time, of course. But it’s time you’ll save in the long run. When employees stay loyal to your company and thrive there, you’re much less likely to expend time and money combating the loss of productivity you’ll face with mass turnover.
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