An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending
If you’re reading this from your office, I want you to take a good look at your bullpen.
If your employees look like extras on The Walking Dead, then read on. Why? Because they (and your business!) could be in serious trouble…
In today’s letter, we’ll be discussing burnout: how to spot it, how to fix it, and how to prevent it.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to those of you out on the floor. Wherever you are, I want you to look at your employees — your team members.
These are the folks you’re relying on day in and day out to solve problems, put out fires, and prepare for the future. Just keep in mind that they’re relying on you for a lot more than a paycheck.
Work takes up a good chunk of our lives, so your workers will inevitably look to you to make that work tolerable and safe. They NEED your guidance and support.
What Is Burnout?
I know, it’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what exactly is it?
Well, according to the MAYO clinic, job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
Maybe this sounds like something you or someone you know has experienced. If so, then you’re not alone. A recent survey by Flexjobs and Mental Health America found that 75% of Americans have experienced burnout.
But what happens when someone’s burnt out? As employees, they’re less productive and more likely to take sick leave in hopes of getting some much needed rest. More importantly, as human beings, they’re downright miserable.
So, yes, keeping an eye out for burnt-out employees keeps your bottom line secure — but much more importantly — it keeps your employees healthy and safe.
How Do I Spot Burnout?
It’s not as simple as checking for puffy eyes or lunch-break nappers out in the parking lot.
The truth is there’s no sure-fire way to spot employees who are suffering from burn out, but I’ve put together a few essential tips to get you started.
Are your most effective team members falling behind? Do you have an employee that responds to work emails right when you send them, even outside of office hours or late at night? Are any of your employees showing up late and leaving early to avoid contact with other coworkers?
All of these, and much more, are potential signs of burnout, but you’ll never know until you ask.
It’s important that your team members feel like they can approach you with their problems. If you ask me, the best way to spot burnout is to create an environment where said burnt-out worker can come directly to you and voice their concerns before it becomes an issue.
How Can I Help?
The best, and most effective way you can help your burnt-out brothers and sisters is by sitting down and working with them to adjust their workload and responsibilities.
And I’m about to give you the golden rule for this. Are you ready, folks?
NEVER punish someone for coming to you because they bit off more than they could chew.
Look at it as a good sign! Why? Because, though they’re eager to make an impression, they’ve also taken a massive leap of faith and admitted to their blind spots in front of a higher up, and that shows guts and strategic foresight.
How else can we help? I hear you cry. Well here’s a tip. The MAYO clinic suggests that management encourage their employees to engage in relaxing activities and get some exercise.
So tee up for the company golf tournament — or offer some yoga classes down in the courtyard.
A little goes a long way, folks.
Making sure that your employees are healthy and productive is your job as a team leader or manager. Especially in today’s world where work follows you around on your phone, it’s easy to skip out on R&R time, and find that you yourself have become a victim of the great and terrible phenomenon we know as burnout.
That’s why today, I’m calling on you to DO something about it before it becomes a problem.
Together, we can make our workplaces happier and safer for all.
Take it easy, underdogs.