Five Ways To Prevent Employee Burnout In Your Business

When it comes to having a great team, all you have to do is get the right people on the bus, right?

Well, not exactly.

Sometimes hiring top performers is not enough. You need to make sure your top employees thrive and stay at your company. That means you need to provide them with the right environment so that they don’t burn out.

The effects of employee burnout can be disastrous to your business: It can lower your team productivity, create interpersonal conflicts, and sometimes even cause you to lose some talent. A 2017 study of 614 HR leaders indicated that 20-50% percent of employee turnover is due to burnout.

How can you tell if an employee is burning out? The obvious signs are exhaustion, being disengaged from their work and a drop in performance. Another sign that you should look out for is change in their level of communication: If someone who participates actively in meetings has been way too quiet lately, it’s better to stop for a second and evaluate the situation.

My business now has over 100 employees in seven states, so it’s not easy to keep an eye on everyone, but I do make sure that we have a few good practices implemented across the company to prevent employees from burnout. Here are five ways that I’d recommend based on my experience:

Always Keep Your Door Open

Your team should always feel comfortable with the idea of coming to your office and talking to you. By keeping the communication channel open, you give them the chance to let you know first thing if something is off.

I like to leave my door open so people can simply pass by and join me whenever they want. When we have meetings, I always encourage them to drop by my office before or after in case they need help with anything. When they do show up, the key is to put down whatever you’re doing and listen to them. If you don’t do that, not only will you lose the opportunity to fix a serious business problem, but you’ll also signal to other employees that you don’t actually care about them. After talking to your employee, make sure that you create a plan together to solve the issue. Schedule a follow-up meeting to assess the results and dedicate some extra time to it if needed.

Make Sure They Have What They Need To Thrive

Have you ever tried to bowl without the proper shoes? Well, they give you these shoes for a reason. Without it, you would have a hard time playing the game and might even fall down the bowling alley!

The same applies to business. If your employees are in the right roles, but don’t have sufficient resources to ensure their success, they will fail at the end of the day. Look, I advocate for doing the best with what you have — but getting someone talented to waste hours working on tasks that software or cheaper labor can do is a recipe for disaster. To make sure your employees perform at their best, ask them if there’s something that could make their work more effective. This could mean a new tool, a need to hire someone new or simply some extra training.

Give Them Crystal Clear Roles

Last week, I spoke with a fellow business owner. He was complaining his business was receiving too many negative reviews online. I asked him who was responsible for customer service. Guess what his response was? “Whoever is on site and can answer the phone.”

Now, when you don’t know who’s responsible for a specific issue like negative customer reviews, you end up blaming everyone — even those who have nothing to do with the problem. You simply can’t point out where the problem is. This creates frustration within the team and can also lead to burnout. The easiest way to avoid it is to give each person a specific role and let them know exactly what you expect from them.

Give Them Constant Feedback

Imagine you’ve just finished a project that required months of work. You stayed up late on many nights, worked on it during the weekend, and even read multiple books to learn more about the subject. But when you’re finally finished, you receive an email from your boss saying that the project will be discarded.

How would you feel? Wouldn’t you feel a little better if your boss had called you to his office, thanked you for the work you had done, and told you the reasons they were planning to discard the project?

Most people just want to feel that they belong in their company. Giving them feedback on their work, even if you don’t end up using it, is the best way to make them feel that way.

Let Them Be Part Of the Decision-Making Process

No one likes to only receive orders all the time. If you make a one-way interaction, where you only give orders and your employees just execute them, they will eventually get frustrated.

Most of the time, your employees will have great insights about your customers or your business that you may not know. You don’t necessarily have to follow their suggestions, but it’s critical that you hear what they have to say. Ask questions and get them involved in the decision-making process. They are the ones who will get the job done later, so it’s better if they feel a sense of ownership in the process.

Burnout is often a lot easier to prevent than it is to fix. Without attention early on, a burned out employee would take weeks or months to recover to full productivity. If you’re running a business, get the right people on the bus, but also make sure they are feeling 100% on the right line.


This article was originally published on Forbes.