The term “professional burnout” has forced us to take it more and more seriously in the last few years.
It would seem that not so long ago an employer could perceive an employee’s statement that he was “burned out” as laziness, infantilism and unwillingness to make an effort and take responsibility for his professional development and company growth.
Today, even if it is difficult for an employer to take such a complaint seriously, an employee can go to medical professionals or even lawyers and assert their right to rest and reinstatement.
Psychologists, coaches, and doctors talk about professional burnout, and professionals look for the signs of moral and mental exhaustion and, as a rule, find them. And though none of us is insured from a burnout, experts say that noticed at the “early stage”, it is quite a reversible process. The main thing is the joint efforts of the employer and the employee himself. And burnout starts with a “sag” in motivation, engagement and the usual physical and mental fatigue.
How to understand that an employee has engagement problems
According to research, the first swallows of motivation problems are employee boredom and confusion, followed by work/life balance problems and stagnant career development. British managers recently determined that their subordinates spend at least 5.3 hours a week in the office in a state of boredom. And this figure is higher for large companies: an average of 6.4 hours. In addition to boredom, engagement issues are directly impacted by ineffective employee organization and time management. A manager who spends most of his day in unnecessary meetings will quickly lose interest in his work.
An unmotivated employee is easy to recognize in a team. He is less and less likely to achieve professional goals, does not show high performance, and is not particularly concerned about it. He or she is difficult to get initiative from and shies away from new duties or responsibilities. This is an employee who will spend half of his working day at lunch, on a smoke break, on a coffee break and is sick much more often than others. Not surprising, because he really doesn’t physically want to be in the office. He often shows aggression on trifles, is irritable and loves to argue instead of figuring out the problem.
How to increase employee engagement
All of the above does not mean that the employee is lost to the company or does not want to “get better”. Often he himself is unhappy with his condition, but does not know what to do. Offer him/her cooperation in solving the problem.
It is not always possible to improve things by rewarding an employee who has lost motivation. Studies show that an employee who is given new, more interesting and important tasks is able to quickly increase engagement.
Try to identify with the employee his/her professional plans for the future. In what direction would he or she like to go? What skills and abilities will help him/her to do so? How can he/she improve or gain these skills? Try to incorporate training into his or her work plan.
Set achievable goals together and set realistic deadlines for achieving them. Meet again after the appointed time, note the employee’s progress using a computer time tracker. It is important for everyone in the company, regardless of their position, to feel that they are moving forward and that their manager notices their progress!
Try to be more flexible. Give the employee more freedom: in their work schedule, in their choice of tasks. See how the employee uses that freedom. Chances are good that he will cheer up and his results will increase.
Take note of successes and reward them. Sometimes a small bonus can really boost an employee’s motivation. After all, it is so important to feel productive and meaningful!
And finally, do not miss the professional burnout of a subordinate at a serious stage. After all, then there will be no more bonuses and plans, the person will have to turn to specialists, and you will “lose” him for a long time. Simple “hygiene” of rest is the basis of “professional health”. Regular holidays, full weekends, free evenings and real lunch breaks are key to keeping your employee working at their best. If you see that the activities of one of your subordinates are marked by bigotry, be the person to call him or her to sanity.