How to Avoid Employee Burnout 

5 min read
About the Author
Sam Schneider
Sam Schneider

Samantha is an expert in organizational efficiency and effectiveness, drives our customer-obsessed culture, and is a champion for inclusivity at Bloomfire. Her leadership has inspired our team to create products that our customers love, which has been rewarded with great loyalty. Sam focuses on operational excellence, particularly in customer success organizations.

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    As the COO of Bloomfire, I’ve seen firsthand how employee burnout has become a significant concern for many organizations in today’s increasingly fast-paced work environment. Understanding how to prevent employee burnout is crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce. This post will explore employee burnout, identify its signs, and provide actionable tips to avoid it, especially after significant organizational changes.

    What is Employee Burnout?

    Employee burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive stress at work. It often occurs when employees feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. Burnout can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and a high turnover rate, making it a critical issue for businesses to address.

    According to the World Health Organization, burnout is characterized by three dimensions:

    • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion.
    • Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
    • Reduced professional efficacy.

    Understanding the causes and signs of employee burnout can help organizations recognize and mitigate its effects early on.

    Signs of Employee Burnout

    Identifying the signs of employee burnout is essential for early intervention. Here are some common signs to look out for:

    Decreased Performance and Productivity

    Burned-out employees often struggle to meet deadlines, produce lower-quality work, and have difficulty concentrating on tasks. According to Built In, a lack of motivation and frequent mistakes can be early indicators of burnout.

    Increased Absenteeism

    Frequent sick days or unexplained absences can be a red flag that an employee is experiencing burnout. Research from Verywell Health indicates that individuals experiencing burnout are over three times more likely to be absent from work.

    Emotional Exhaustion

    Employees might feel drained, overwhelmed, or emotionally detached from their work and colleagues. Emotional exhaustion is a key component of burnout, often manifesting as chronic fatigue and a lack of enthusiasm, as noted by Built In.

    Physical Symptoms

    Chronic fatigue, headaches, and other stress-related physical ailments are common among burned-out employees. Verywell Health highlights that physical symptoms of burnout include headaches, back pain, and general fatigue, affecting a significant percentage of employees.

    Negative Attitude

    A noticeable shift in attitude, such as increased irritability, frustration, or cynicism, can indicate burnout. Experts from Fit Small Business emphasize that a negative state of mind and increased cynicism are classic signs of burnout.

    After the Change: 4 Tips to Prevent Employee Burnout

    Without an ongoing reinforcement plan after implementing a change management process, employees may feel burned out and frustrated, even if the change will benefit them in the long run. Follow these four change management tips to ensure smooth and successful transitions and avoid organizational burnout.

    1. Encourage Feedback (and Take It Seriously)

    You hired every team member because they are intelligent and capable and bring unique skills and perspectives to the table, so make sure you take their input seriously regarding change. Just as you should hold a meeting before implementing change, keep regular meetings to follow up so your team members understand the progress better. Encourage team members to share their frustrations and concerns, listen to and evaluate those concerns, and find solutions.

    2. Demonstrate Empathy

    Any major change in the workplace can mean significant stress for your employees (which often leads to poor performance and employee burnout). Employees who have recently experienced significant organizational changes are more than twice as likely to report chronic stress than those who haven’t. 

    Having a manager who understands the burden change places on their team members and who encourages them to cope with that stress in healthy ways can not only prevent employee burnout but also promote company loyalty and a sense of camaraderie during transitional periods.

    Encourage your team members to take advantage of their vacation and mental health days. Although stepping away from your work can sometimes be challenging, set an example by doing the same. You will be amazed by the positive results that a clear mind can bring to the workplace.

    3. Reward Champions of Change

    Adapting to change isn’t easy. But it’s made easier by champions of change who step up to the plate when the going gets tough. Have you noticed certain employees going above and beyond to help others adjust to a new transition, share their knowledge, and support their teammates? Publicly reward those employees with company swag, lunch with the C-Suite, kudos at your all-hands meeting, or however you see fit. The reward does not matter; expressing genuine gratitude to your employees does.

    4. Share Goals and Metrics Where Everyone Can Access Them

    Change in the workplace is hard enough without wasting countless hours tracking down information, instructions, and resources necessary to adjust successfully. Some technologies, such as knowledge management platforms, can enable your organization’s leaders to post directions, processes, and helpful resources to ease into new transitions, conduct surveys, ask and answer questions, and quickly identify and reward champions of change. Your team doesn’t have to waste time searching for important information when your goals and change documentation are centralized and easy to find.

    A well-implemented knowledge management system can support these efforts, enhance the benefits of change management, and ensure smooth transitions.

    Addressing Employee Burnout

    Preventing employee burnout is essential to maintaining a productive and engaged workforce, especially during significant change. By recognizing the signs of burnout and implementing these practical tips, you can create a supportive work environment that promotes well-being and resilience. Investing in a robust knowledge management system can further aid in managing change and preventing burnout, ensuring your employees feel supported and valued throughout the process.

    Prevent Employee Burnout with KM

    Learn how knowledge management can help prevent burnout and build resilience.

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    About the Author
    Sam Schneider
    Sam Schneider

    Samantha is an expert in organizational efficiency and effectiveness, drives our customer-obsessed culture, and is a champion for inclusivity at Bloomfire. Her leadership has inspired our team to create products that our customers love, which has been rewarded with great loyalty. Sam focuses on operational excellence, particularly in customer success organizations.

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