When asked about the downsides of being a project manager, some people would list long hours and substantial pressure. There’s no denying that the PM job may require you to make difficult calls or to log in…
Running a company, one of your goals is to keep your employees’ productivity high. To do so, you need to consider every possible issue that may impair your team’s performance.
Employee burnout is one thing to avoid, as it may lead to several negative effects on your team, such as decreased productivity, lower engagement and increased withdrawal behaviors. In fact, it can also make your employees leave.
According to HR leaders study from 2017, 20-50% of employee turnover is due to burnout.
Susan E. Jackson and Randall S. Schuler, in their paper on preventing employee burnout, pointed out organizational and personal conditions that cause the burnout. In this article I will focus on the former, as these are the ones you’re in control of.
Organizational conditions causing employee burnout:
- Lack of rewards
- Lack of clarity
- Lack of control
- Lack of support
Now, let’s discuss five methods that will help you fight burnout.
Prevent employee burnout with these tactics
1. Establish performance management processes at your company
In order to know how your employees perform and what are their aspirations, you need to establish performance management processes.
Such a process can consist of surveys, both online and in person, that you conduct with your employees and their peers. This way you can:
- Ask your employee about their self-assessment
- Check what others think about that person’s performance
- Ask your employee about their goals or help them establish some
- Check if they’ve improved since their last performance review
Even though this process may seem daunting, the good news is that there are already several tools you can use to make it easier. Lattice are Culture Amp are just two exemplary tools for you to try out.
Tools like that often come with handy integrations, e.g. Slack bots that remind people about their upcoming review:
Make sure that everyone understands the process before you start and remember to monitor how people respond to it and if they are happy with the results.
2. Award and praise your best performing team members
After establishing performance management processes, you can tell who are the top performing employees. And, with that knowledge, you can show them you appreciate their work.
Awards and praise can have a huge effect on your employees. Studies show that recognition may improve performance of your team. People tend to be more engaged in activities they’re praised for.
The ways you can give recognition may span from a simple verbal praise (in person or in front of the team) to promotion and a raise. Come up with possible ways to show your employees that you value their work and they will surely appreciate it.
3. Make clear career paths
Good employees improve over time in what they do. After some time, it’s natural for them to look after more advanced tasks. One way to avoid employee burnout is to offer assignments that fit employees’ expectations.
But what about employees that don’t even know how they can grow within your organization? It would be a pity to lose them just because of the communication gap.
One way to make clear how people can grow at your company is to outline career paths. You can then use them internally or implement them as a part of your career page to attract potential employees.
This is how Apptension, a custom software development company, made career paths a part of their job page:
4. Give them space to grow
Giving your employees opportunities to grow and learn new skills within your organization is another way to prevent employee burnout.
Because you’ve already learned what their goals and aspirations are during the performance review, make sure they can achieve them. Here are just a few examples of how to do that:
- Implement a mentoring program to ensure knowledge sharing. Your employees can learn a lot from their peers, which benefits your team and your company at the same time.
- Allow innovation time off for your employees. Your team members want to grow, too. Let them try out and learn new things by testing innovative solutions at work. Assign a specific time a month for that, e.g. 10% of working time.
- Give employees more control. Good employees take responsibility for task they are assigned with. Let them prove their value by giving them more control over their tasks.
Again, if your employees know that they can grow their skills at your company, they will be less likely to experience burnout.
5. Implement resource management
Unreasonable workload is one of the causes of employee burnout. Having too much to do for a longer period of time is just too exhausting. That’s one of the reasons why managing the workload is so important for your organization.
To keep an eye on your team’s utilization, implement resource management. To put it shortly, it is “the efficient and effective development of an organization’s resources when they are needed.”
Monitoring projects your team members are assigned to, keeping up with their availability and logged working time may seem like a lot of work. Fortunately, there are tools for that, too. One of them is Teamdeck, a complete resource management solution to:
- Manage your employees’ schedule
- Track their time through easy to use timesheets
- Manage availability and days off
- Calculate employee utilization
For better resource allocation, use Teamdeck’s schedule. There you can easily assign people to projects and monitor if their workload matches their availability. If you spot employees with too little to do, you can add new tasks to their schedule. For those who have too much on their plate, you can try to reassign or reschedule some of their duties.
Plus, to avoid employee burnout caused by working too long on a single project, give your team a possibility to change projects if possible.
6. Focus on team-building
Loneliness and the lack of support lead to burnout. At the same time, people who enjoy working together are more likely to stay longer at your company. To keep your employees engaged and lower the turnover, focus on team-building activities.
To get people to know each other, sponsor team retreats once in a while. Especially for bigger organizations, where employees may not have a chance to work on the same project, team retreat is a good opportunity for people to connect with other team members and make friends inside the company.
And apart from lowering the turnover rate, fostering camaraderie increases employee engagement and productivity, as people who know each other work better together.
Get rid of employee burnout at your company
As you can see, preventing employee burnout is mostly about incorporating the right processes and actually listening to your employees.
Here are the key takeaways from this article:
- Reward and praise your employees to show them that you appreciate their work.
- Make sure that it’s clear how they can develop themselves within your organization.
- Give them control over the tasks they are assigned with.
- Monitor their workload to avoid over- or underutilization.
- Create a supportive company culture.
And to make it even easier, choose the right tools like Teamdeck to manage your employees more effectively. There’s a 7-day free trial you can use and find out, if it’s the right tool for you.