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How to Identify Professional Burnout

For business
Nov 25, 2022
How to Identify Professional Burnout

The HR department should be able to measure the temperature of the team as easily as a doctor checks for a fever. Some companies check team wellness regularly, conducting pulse surveys to evaluate the mood of employees, as well as more comprehensive surveys on motivation and engagement.

However, there are teams where the manager bullies or coerces subordinates into giving good scores on surveys. Repercussions for employees can be a concern, even when surveys are anonymous. 

What is Burnout?

Burnout is the exhaustion that arises in response to emotional overstrain when working with people. Workers are at high risk for burnout if they communicate with others regularly as part of their job, especially if their position requires emotional empathy or high levels of responsibility. Burnout is a professional crisis associated not only with interpersonal relationships but with work in general.

How to determine if you have an unhealthy atmosphere in your team:

1. Survey

If employees have confidence in a survey, it will help identify unhealthy symptoms in a team. HR teams look at indicators related to trust in the immediate supervisor, the management of the company as a whole, and an employee's understanding of their role and tasks.

2. Flow Rates

If something is not going well in the team, then a staff turnover from a particular unit will occur. A trusting and open exit interview can highlight the reasons for an employee's departure.

3. Conflicts

Conflicts at work can also cause burnout. Sometimes removing a toxic colleague or boss can make things better.

4. Low Performance

The transition to remote work can make maintaining high performance more difficult. Burnout symptoms may include frequent smoke breaks or coffee breaks, distracted conversations with colleagues, reduced enthusiasm, and noticeable changes in leadership. You will notice projects an employee used to do in three days are taking longer or not getting done at all.

5. Frequent Absence

Anemployee may be constantly absent online, avoiding getting into the office, or not interacting much with their team. Or the employee might seem distracted much of the time, engrossed in their phone or video games.

If your research reveals some of the symptoms of burnout, this is a reason to pay attention and take action. Depending on the scale of the problem, the action required can be a simple dialogue with the employee, their manager, or the owner of the business. Sometimes the situation may require intervention from a visiting consultant or psychologist.

In large companies, a long vacation or sabbatical is offered as a method of resolving burnout. As a rule, an employee needs to work at a company for some time to qualify for extended time off. Other measures may also be effective—for example, building a new career track for an employee.

Building a strong company culture and healthy atmospheres within teams will reduce the need for HR to retroactively address burnout. Educate your managers and business owners on the risks of burnout and the importance of proactive solutions to keep a company functioning properly. 

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