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Training HR Teams to Recognize Burnout in Employees

Posted by Insightlink on 11/23/22

Today’s workers are in the midst of a burnout epidemic. People are working longer hours and covering more tasks than usual due to shortages and demands. Workplace stress is at an all-time high. For some, it’s impossible to be satisfied, so they keep climbing their way to the top of the corporate ladder while ignoring their well-being. 

Burnout is more than just feeling stressed or tired because of work. It’s a serious problem that not only impacts the employees dealing with it, but the businesses allowing it to continue.
As an HR professional, you have a responsibility to recognize the symptoms of burnout and do what you can to put a stop to it in your workplace. The sooner you’re able to see some of those signs, the sooner you can intervene – taking action before the burnout begins to harm that employee’s health.
So, how can HR teams be properly trained to recognize the symptoms of burnout? More importantly, what can you do if you notice one of your employees is struggling? Let’s dig into some of the common signs and symptoms, and how you can create a plan of action to implement company-wide preventative measures.
employee burnout
What Are the Signs of Burnout?
The best way to ensure your entire HR team recognizes burnout is to train them on the common signs. People can experience subtle differences and might “favor” one symptom over another. However, these are fairly consistent and easy to look for. With that in mind, some of the most notable signs of employee burnout include:
  •      Elevated stress levels
  •      Irritability
  •      Changes in sleep habits
  •      Disengagement
  •      Absenteeism
  •      Lower quality work
If you’re worried that an employee is feeling burnt out, it can be tempting to encourage them to get an official diagnosis. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, there’s only so much a burnout diagnosis can do. Not only can it be difficult to diagnose, but it can be even harder to treat if a doctor or mental health professional doesn’t really know what’s going on in the workplace or why that employee is struggling.
While that weight doesn’t need to fall solely on your shoulders, you should instead encourage every employee to recognize their own feelings of burnout, so you can work together to reduce their stress and make them feel empowered.
Putting Preventative Measures in Place
As with most things, it’s better to do what you can to prepare and prevent problems rather than deal with them after the fact. While you might not be able to completely prevent burnout in the workplace, there are measures you can implement to greatly reduce employee stress. You can also create a more positive work environment with a heavy focus on mental wellness. Some of the best ways to avoid employee burnout include:
  •      Creating fair workloads
  •      Monitoring scheduling
  •      Building relationships
  •      Encouraging mental health days
Additionally, do what you can to encourage and promote a healthy work-life balance for all employees. Your HR staff should be trained to frequently check in with workers. Simply asking someone how they’re doing and what they need can go a long way, and it will be easier to catch signs of burnout before they start to have a negative impact on that person. Weekly check-ins should become standard procedure.
Giving Employees the Resources They Need
In addition to putting a plan in place to prevent burnout, it’s essential for your employees to know they are valued. Consider adopting policies and programs that focus on mental well-being. Focus on improving workflow through things like creative operations, especially for employees in the creative industry who always need to be “on” when it comes to developing new ideas. Delegate different tasks, and encourage remote or hybrid days.
One of the best ways to ensure you’re giving your employees what they need/want is by asking them. Far too often, employee stress gets overlooked because HR teams and managers miss the mark.
While launching initiatives like movie nights, keynote speakers, happy hours, or even mental health apps can all help, the best thing you can do for your workplace is to get to the root cause of burnout. Why are so many employees struggling, and what can you do about it from an internal standpoint?
Take the time to identify the guiding principles of your company, and make sure your entire HR team is on board. When you’re able to do that, you can create policy changes that put employee health and wellness first. Many employees – especially those in younger generations – are well aware of the burnout epidemic. They’re less likely to want to work for a company that doesn’t take it seriously. Again, HR has a responsibility to encourage and foster change within every business. Your team should have its finger on the pulse of the employees and know exactly what’s needed to recognize burnout and stop it before it causes the business to crumble from the inside out.


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