Burnout- Can you Recognize the Signs?

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    Carrie walked into your office this morning with an unfamiliar look on her face that reminds me of the look your seven-year-old gives when they break a rule. The conversation goes something like this:
    “Good morning Carrie! What’s going on?”
    “Um, I need to talk to you.”
    “Sure. What do you want to talk about?”
    Carrie slides a sheet of paper in front of you. You immediately notice the word resignation. It’s there screaming at you. You take a breath.
    “You are resigning. I’m surprised. Why did you decide to leave?”
    How common is this scenario in your office? How often do you and your managers find themselves shocked by the notice? Are there signs you may have missed?
    When you manage a team of high-performing, high-potential employees, missing the signs of an unsatisfied employee has a much greater cost to your organization than just recruiting. These are signs most managers can’t afford to miss. Below is a list of things to notice:
    * Change in performance or productivity. It’s very common to dismiss a few performance misses with your top performers because most of the time you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. That may be okay, but don’t ignore it. Monitor and address as necessary.
    * Increased absences and tardiness. When the workplace becomes a source of stress for an employee, they will find reasons to avoid the environment. Look for any change in attendance. Does the employee seek ways to leave the office? Do they leave immediately at quitting time opposed to staying late as usual?
    * Changes in demeanor. Have you noticed a change in mood from positive and upbeat to quiet, sullen, or depressed? Does the employee seem irritated and negative? Also, look for any change that is not typical of that person including changes in focus. There may be an explanation from an outside source; engage in dialogue with them to determine this.
    * Changes in break times. Is the employee taking more time than usual? Be careful of the clock watchers especially if this is a new behavior.
    * Change of relationships with co-workers. Employees often form tight connections with co-workers. In times of stress, those connections can be supportive or destructive. What to watch for in this case would be a change in behavior.
    Now that you noticed, what can you do? Share your ideas and be sure to read my next post for more discussion on this topic.

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    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to smazurek0615@gmail.com or visit www.sherimazurek.com. Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.