Burn-Out: Symptoms & Prevention

Good quality employees should be appreciated for their contributions to your business. Ultimately, they are motivated, accept challenges easily most of the time, are pleasant in stressful situations, and their work ethics encourage others to reach their level of contribution and participation. The downside is that the opportunity for burn out exists in every organization, no matter the industry, or size of the business, according to Entrepreneur.com.

A single burnt-out employee can affect the productivity of your business. The signs are usually easy to identify, according to Entrepreneur.com. The motivation and non-performance can be turned around, but the adage, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” is also true with people. All the motivation aimed at changing a behavior may not make a difference if the one who is not motivated does not want to be motivated.

Diminished productivity, compared to previous performances, is a first indicator that an employee may be unmotivated or burning out, according to Entrepreneur.com. You may also see an increased number of days missed, barring days that they may be sick at home. Lack of motivation may be the culprit if one rarely misses work. Changes in attitude and productivity, decreasing positive interaction with others in the office, and jittery or short-tempered reactions, may be other indicators.

After noting any of these indicators, you may want to speak with previous managers or supervisors, or seek information in past performance reviews, to determine if this is a trend or a bump in their performance. Entrepreneur.com suggests speaking with the employee directly. You can ask for their own perception of their performance and then share your perspective of the changes that you see.

You can ask the person what motivating factors may be missing or are no longer present in the workplace. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, according to Entrepreneur.com. Ask about areas of work where the individual gains a sense of accomplishment. Recognize jobs well done, or works in progress, with positive feedback or rewarding behavior. Above all, employees should also know what is expected of them to ensure positive performance.

Outside of speaking with individual employees, opportunities for personal or professional growth go a long way to employees seeing your commitment to them. Communication should be frequent. If a job or task is too challenging for an employee, you can exchange or rotate tasks or responsibilities between several employees. Cross-training can provide a different perspective and new challenges to ultimately energize employees. Optimal job satisfaction and productivity, and increased motivation are the goal.

Job satisfaction and retention can be improved by offering flexible work arrangements which allow employees to balance and manage the demands of work and family. The Social Science Research Network reports this work arrangement has proven to allow the worker to control and reduce their levels of stress. One benefit of increasing retention in your business is that your training costs are better spent.

Individuals can do several things themselves when they realize their own burn-out or near burn-out indicators. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recommends that you notice the stress and the ways it manifests itself in you, without denial or excuses. You can change your surroundings, be it your job, your relationship, or situation. Learn to say no and refuse or reschedule demands on your time. You can learn to delegate and pace yourself in order to better balance the facets of your life. Most of all, keep your sense of humor.

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