Preventing Burnout for Yourself and Your Employees
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
During the Great Resignation of 2021, the vast majority of employees left their previous jobs feeling burned out and underappreciated. They simply wanted a new position with an organization that truly provided support they needed, along with opportunities for career advancement, good wages and meaningful benefits. These circumstances have caused many leaders to for ways to make their employees happier, more resilient and provide them with meaningful work so they don’t look elsewhere for jobs. The first stage of helping your employees find fulfillment with their work is to understand the psychological aspects of what they are dealing with. Start with these three steps:
- Address your own burned-out mindset. If you are stuck in burn-out mode, you won’t be equipped to support your employees. Some companies and leaders are conducting what they call a “COVID audit and reset” to discuss how their behaviors have changed over the past few years. They then make a conscious decision about keeping what works and letting go of what doesn’t. Discussing areas of concern with leaders and employees is a first step to addressing burnout and moving forward with in a supportive, purposeful environment.
- Help employees self-manage their path. People need to feel like they can manage and design their own lives with what is called the Self-Determination Theory of motivation. The three components of this theory that help employees feel motivated to grow at work include competence, connection and autonomy. Provide your employees a sense of control over their work by co-creating goals and talking about what’s important to them. Establish deeper connections by working cross-functionally with other teams and having short, personal check-ins with individuals. During team meetings encourage the group to determine how to move forward on projects and deal with key issues so you guide the outcome, not the process.
- See employees for who they really are. When someone feels truly seen, they will feel more engaged and motivated. Try to understand your employees’ and co-workers’ dreams, feelings, values and contributions and take the time to ask questions regarding what their expectations and future goals are. Use your answers to help find a balance between individual needs and that of the organization.
Overall, it’s important to acknowledge that you and your employees have been through some tough times and that you may need to find new ways to keep growing together. Connect closely with your team, identify ways to engage individuals, and you’ll soon be on your way to retaining fulfilled employees.