Employee burnout can happen at even the best of companies. Unfortunately, workers can get out of sync with the company’s goals and, as a result, start to flounder. If left unaddressed, burnout can lead to high turnover rates and overall instability. Fortunately, there are ways to see burnout coming before it gets out of hand. Here are a few signs that might suggest your employees need a new approach:
Sudden drop in productivity
If a previously shining employee suddenly starts producing middling-to-poor work, there’s a good chance he or she is experiencing burnout. Keep your eye on your performance management information, and be willing to talk workload and expectations if you notice something worrying.
Similarly, if a previously bubbly employee begins seeming dour, or if a normally quiet worker becomes chatty out of the blue, there’s a chance something is up. These kinds of mood changes can suggest employee engagement has gone down.
Tiredness or increased use of sick days.
If your employees are constantly tired, burnout may be the cause. Feeling disconnected at work is often incredibly stressful, so workers experiencing it may get poor or little sleep. Another sign is an employee taking a lot of sick days close together.
This might not necessarily indicate anything – your employee could simply coincidentally be sick – but even if your worker is genuinely ill and not just too disengaged to come in, it could be as a result of work-related stress and anxiety.
What to do
If you notice these patterns, sit down with the affected employee and ask how he or she is doing. Many people aren’t comfortable talking about feeling disengaged at work, so you may need to do a little bit of prodding to get information out of them. As a manager, it’s appropriate to say, “I’m noting XYZ behavior, and I’m worried you may be feeling a little burnt out.” If your employee agrees, work together to find the source of the problem and to come up with solid goals for improving the situation.