Your employees work hard for your company. They give their absolute best, one hundred percent of the time, which challenges you to dig deep and give your best in return. Usually, this leads to an upward spiral; you draw inspiration from them and set a high bar for yourself, and they follow your example and do the same. Your customers reap the benefits, and your company grows and grows. But while your orders flow in and you observe this cycle of success, keep one important thing in mind: everything comes at a cost, and every employee has limits. Keep the cycle going by protecting your employees from burnout.
Watch out for signs of stress. Ironically, the hardest working employees may also work hard to hide the signs of burnout and overload. A cheerful smile and a little extra makeup go a long way, but don’t be fooled. Keep an eye on the loaded plates of each individual employee, and before you assign new tasks, think about the projects they’re already dealing with. If you need to redistribute workloads, don’t wait for your employees to tell you so directly; they probably won’t.
Encourage the use of sick time.
Never encourage your employees to come to the office when they’re sick. This includes both physical and mental health issues, and when they feel anything from a cold to a case of generalized exhaustion, don’t just let them leave, send them home. Even subtle gestures and word choices can inadvertently encourage a culture of “heroism”, which can spread germs, low morale, and disengagement throughout the office.
Recognize different personalities and work styles.
Sometimes a case of burnout can be held at bay with fun activities that help your teams relax, socialize and de-stress. But think carefully. A mandatory weekend retreat in the mountains, a non-optional mini-golf tournament, or expecting every employee to show up at five for a sponsored happy hour at a local bar can actually make the problem worse, not better. Respect the needs of employees who recharge their batteries in their own way. Instead of group fun, consider surprising your teams by letting them leave early on a Friday. Tailor your program to your people and your specific culture.
Listen and respond.
In the meantime, keep your door and your ears open. Some employees may hide their stress, but others will let you know what they need. And when they do, you’ll be wise to listen. If they need better resources or extended deadlines, take action immediately and let them know they can count on you to help them do their jobs.
For more on how to work hard for your employees so they can keep working hard for you, reach out to the Westchester County staffing experts at Merritt.