HR 101: 5 Ways to Win Back Your Stressed Out Workers

According to a survey administered by Kronos and Future Workplace, 46% of human resource professional respondents (at organizations with 100 to over 2,500 employees) blame burnout for up to half of their staff quitting each year. The top three reasons for this burnout include unfair compensation, unreasonable workload and too much overtime or after-hours work.

You need to win back those burned-out, overworked employees or risk losing them – including some of your best people who might just get snapped up by your competitor. Here are a few suggestions for improving conditions and lessening the stress caused by too much work.

Celebrate small wins

According to Jon Gordon, consultant and speaker about enhancing workplace cultures and boosting morale, employers need to “always place attention on those little, ordinary, non-spectacular ‘wins’ that add up to big successes.” Instead of focusing on the fact that an employee hasn’t reached the larger goal, try building them up with smaller goals along the way. For example, if the employee goal is to bring in 10 new, big clients for the year, do a company or department shout-out for each individual client they bring on throughout the year. Or send an encouraging email whenever the employee lands a meeting with a potential client. When you focus on all the smaller successes, it can boost one’s confidence to go after even bigger successes long term.

Regular check-ins

Burnout can happen simply when someone feels unappreciated for all of the hard work he or she is putting in. Give positive reinforcement throughout the year, not just during annual performance reviews, to make sure you’re addressing issues as they arise. This gives you a chance to praise the work the employee is doing, and also allows time for management to receive feedback. This cultivates an environment of trust, and can help employees feel like their manager is their advocate.

Encourage time off

While vacation time may not completely cure a burned-out employee, taking some time away from the office and unplugging from work can certainly help alleviate some of the symptoms. Although it may seem counterintuitive to workplace productivity, employees who regularly take vacation can actually help your bottom line by being more productive than those who don’t take their allotted time off. The psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees can also cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the U.S. Vacation can cure more than just office stress, it can positively impact our economy.

Consider a flexible work schedule

Would your office benefit from a telecommuting policy? What about more flexible office hours? Giving employees more control over when and where they complete their work ultimately gives them the autonomy and control to manage their own work-life balance and overall happiness, while maintaining the same workload. Relinquishing a little control over scheduling can really pay off for employers in the long run with increased productivity and a better chance to recruit strong employee talent, so consider offering an optional work-from-home day once a week; or, flexible office hours for those who can’t seem to get out of bed before the sun rises.

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Focus on office culture

Employee burnout is a problem with the company, not the employee. So it’s the employer’s job to foster the best environment to prevent burnout. Your business may be flourishing from the hard work your employees are churning out, but is it worth it if your employee turnover is exponentially getting worse? The hard work may benefit your business for a short amount of time before employees feel taken advantage of and overworked. Find out what motivates your employees and see if you can incorporate that into your office culture. Maybe your employees would like a casual work attire policy, more paid time off, free snacks, or even an office happy hour once a month. Send out an anonymous survey and your employees will likely tell you what they want.

Andrea Meyer

Andrea joined WorkSmart Systems in 2001, and has played a key role in the development of all services related to the WorkSmart employee benefit plans. Whether leading the benefit team, answering questions from employees, or sorting through the latest benefit regulation, Andrea’s passion for employee benefits is evident. Andrea is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College, and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), as well as a Certified Benefit Professional (CBP).

Andrea played soccer at the college level, proudly representing the St. Joseph College Pumas. She remains active in rec indoor and outdoor soccer leagues in Carmel. Andrea also enjoys many outdoor activities such running, kayaking and bike riding.