According to a 2007 Careerbuilder.com survey, more than half of
employees indicated that they work with a great deal of stress. The survey also
found that 77% of those surveyed felt burned out by their job.
Although there is no point and click solution, business owners and
employees alike should take the time to research and understand the symptoms of
employee burnout. A manager who fails to do so runs the risk of losing the
employee and potentially hurting the company.
“Mid [level]to senior managers are so busy under their own pressure
to do more with less that they do not even recognize what is going on with
their employees,” Liz Bywater, PhD, consultant for the Bywater Consulting
Group explained to O&P Business News. “Recognition is one
of the most important aspects and openly acknowledging the situation is just as
According to Bywater, signs that one of your employees is suffering from
employee burnout include: reduced productivity and/or overall performance;
increased irritability; significant increase in sick days and/or late arrival
to work; decreased innovation and creativity; reduced energy levels and general
lethargy, apathy and depression.
There are a number of ways mid-to-upper management level workers can
reduce employee burnout. Bywater suggested creating a forum in which people can
come in and express their concerns and frustrations to their managers without
fear of repercussions. Let your employees know that your door is always open
and that you are willing to listen.
“You do not want your employees to work themselves so hard that it
becomes counter productive,” Bywater said.
Managers should explore all avenues to ease the burden on their
employees. This may include subtle changes to a management style or work
environment for the long-term benefit of your employees, according to Bywater.
“If you are in a senior leadership position, you have to set the
tone,” Bywater said. “Make sure the environment does not have an
atmosphere where people are discouraged to take a week vacation or a mental
In the current economy, it is unlikely that businesses can simply hand
out large cash bonuses and lavish incentives for their employees. Today, a more
modest approach may actually be the better solution, according to Bywater.
“Sometimes, just showing some appreciation can go a long way,”
Bywater said. “People can always benefit from some added cash, but it is
the small act that makes the biggest difference. People are often discouraged
when they do not feel appreciated.”
Bywater suggests giving out $25 Starbucks cards or offering your
employees the afternoon off if they have been working overtime all week.
“Maybe take your team out to lunch for a couple of hours,”
Bywater said. “It does not have to be something exorbitant. Even modest
incentives can make a large impact. In this economy, workers will understand
and appreciate it.” — by Anthony Calabro
For more information:
- Careerbuilder.com 5 signs of job burnout … and what to do
about it. Available at:
Accessed Sept. 8, 2010.
Research on job stress from our database of 2,400 organizations and more
than 3.3 million employee responses across all industries showed that 80% of
employees believe they have enough authority to accomplish the necessary
workload. Only 50% of employees feel they have enough people available in their
work group to accomplish the necessary workload.
Anonymous surveys can be another way to assess employee workloads and
stress levels. The employees can be asked for suggestions on how to even out
workloads and reduce stress. This creates a culture where employees feel
appreciated and can have fun. The best way to determine what will have the
greatest impact is to find out what your culture wants — you can implement
anything you want, but it might not be what your employees want.
Some easy ways to build employee morale on a shoestring budget include
changes to the dress code (shifting to a casual dress policy), letting
employees leave early on Fridays, or providing breakfast items to the staff on
a regular basis.
— Ashley Nuese
Director of marketing and
sales services at HR Solutions, Inc.