Insights|Employers: 6 Ways to Prevent Workforce Burnout

Employers: 6 Ways to Prevent Workforce Burnout

How can burnout be prevented and what measures can be taken to promote associates' wellbeing?

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by Sitel staff October 24, 2022 - 4 MIN READ

Millions of employees across the globe have quit their jobs in the last few years or plan to do so soon, in what’s being referred to as the “Great Resignation.” How can you prevent workplace burnout and give your employees the wellbeing they need to stay engaged?   

The Great Resignation Continues 

There’s no question the pandemic prompted a greater pursuit for work-life balance, as so many started working remotely. People across the globe have discovered what they want and need in their careers and in life, which is why millions moved away from big cities and quit their demanding jobs for ones that promote flexibility and wellbeing.   

The Great Resignation continues in post-pandemic life, and employees have new, more defined expectations of what they want and look for in companies and workplaces. They seek jobs that are more flexible, convenient, autonomous and balanced.   

According to a recent survey, 40% of employees are thinking about leaving their jobs in the next three to six months in search of these values. The rate of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs is 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels.  

The major reason people are quitting is from burnout. So, what is burnout, and how can employers retain their talent, promote positivity and help foster productivity?   

Key Causes of Workplace Burnout  

According to Mayo Clinic, the definition of burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. In other words, it’s when employees feel so drained and overworked from their jobs that it affects their physical and mental wellbeing, and eventually, they become numb and stop caring.  

Limeade’s research indicates there are three key triggers that lead to burnout, and they typically affect the employees who are the most engaged — in order for employees to become burnt out, they have to be engaged in the first place.    

  • Exhaustion: Exhaustion may seem obvious when it comes to burnout, as employees become so stressed and overwhelmed that they are both physically and mentally tired. This is often the first phase of burnout. 
  • Cynicism: This occurs when workers are so overwhelmed and disgruntled that they stop caring about their work.  
  • Inefficacy: Inefficacy develops when employees don’t see value in their work and lack belief that they are making a difference.  

What Can Employers Do to Prevent Burnout?  

When it comes to support, employees say their direct managers matter more than C-suite leadership, but managers don’t often know how to address the wellbeing of their staff. Here are six tips for managers to promote a healthy team:  

1. Wellbeing is key.  

Engagement is critical, but, as previously stated, the most engaged employees are often the highest at risk for burnout because they care about their work. Both wellbeing and engagement must coexist in order to support healthy, productive employees. What employers often don’t realize is that wellbeing energizes engagement, so start there.  

2. Be generous with recovery time.  

Managers should have a solid understanding of their employees’ workloads and adjust plans accordingly. Communication is key here — they should check in with their team and see how much everyone has on their plate. Encourage them to take breaks and time off when needed.  

3. Offer flexibility.  

The pandemic completely shifted the mindset about remote work, and more and more employers offer this kind of flexible, convenient structure nowadays. Research shows that employees benefit from it, so it’s encouraged to provide options, whether a hybrid model or completely remote positions, when possible. 

4. Be an advocate for wellbeing.  

Different workplaces have different social and mindset norms, which are often led by leadership and managers. As a manager, it’s critical to promote wellbeing so employees know it’s okay to set boundaries with work and recognize early signs of burnout. Encourage them to communicate with you about their workloads and be a champion for both their health and work satisfaction.    

5. Stay social.  

Managers have the opportunity to build connection and support among teams, and they should take steps to do so, especially in remote settings when connection doesn’t happen as naturally. Schedule team gatherings, events, team-building activities and happy hours to create an environment where people can bond and build connections.  

6. Encourage employees to value work and define purpose.  

As discussed, a key trigger of burnout is inefficacy. People need to be able to connect their purpose to their work, or they become disengaged. To promote this mindset, give them constant feedback and positive reinforcement in addition to goal setting. Put in place a formal goal-setting meeting and help define your employee’s ambitions at the company. Discuss the future of their career and be a champion for their success in reaching their goals.  

Engaged Employees Are Critical to Strong CX  

There is countless research that shows the importance of having healthy, happy, engaged employees. Regardless of industry, engaged employees are 23% more profitable and 18% more productive in sales.  

Your organization depends on its people being healthy, as your customers depend on the effort, direction and care from your employees. To learn more about Sitel Group® and its approach to providing flexibility and engagement, check out our flexible Work from Anywhere approach and our dedicated whitepaper on The Future of Work & Employee Experience.

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