Notice Burnout- Now What?

Sections of this topic

    In my last post, I discussed being able to identify signs of employee burnout. The first step is to recognize burnout; however, if you do what should you do? Below is a list of things you can do if you notice the signs. What can you add?

    • Engage your employees. Spend time each day engaging your employees. Whenever possible, spend a few minutes with them in person. Monitor for changes as described above.
    • Provide clear communication on expectations and success. Provide all employees with consistent fair feedback on performance. Thank you employees for coming to work and meeting expectations. Praise them when they exceed expectations and communicate with them when they miss expectations.
    • Give employees as much control of their work as allowed. Most people assert negative control when they feel as though they have none. They do this by choosing to not stay late and coming in early. They make choices to “show you” that they don’t have to do any more than they have to do.
    • Communicate the importance of their role in the organization. Employees want to feel that their work is valued. Share how their work contributes to client and company success.
    • Provide opportunities for growth and learning. This doesn’t mean requiring them to go to company-provided training sessions that were planned by someone else (although it may depend on the individual and the learning topic and environment). Let the employee guide this process. Discuss development with them. Avoid the following questions:
      • “In what areas do you want to develop this year?”
      • “What kind of training would you be interested in taking this year?”

    Try These Instead

      • “What parts of your job do you most enjoy?”
      • “If you could create your dream job, what would it be?”

    Use the dialogue to help identify stretch assignments or goals you can establish for the employee.

    • Ensure the work environment is cooperative and respectful. Employees want to be treated fairly and with respect. As the supervisor, you need to model this behavior and hold everyone accountable for it.
    • Look for ways to remove obstacles to proficiency. Look to see what obstacles are blocking employee’s success and find ways to remove them. Look for unnecessary duplicate processes that can be removed.
    • Engage employees in finding solutions. Operate an open door to bring concerns and questions. How you respond as a supervisor sends a key message to an employee. If an employee comes to you with a valid concern or suggestion, hear them out. Ask some of the following questions:
      • “What suggestions do you have to improve in this area?”
      • “How will this work in our department?”
      • “What benefits does it have?”
      • “What are the obstacles?”
      • “What support would you need to help implement this suggestion?
    • Set realistic work expectations. Don’t expect everyone to work at the same pace and with the same strengths. Set expectations that are reasonable and as previously mentioned remove obstacles to success. Be flexible with how work is accomplished whenever possible to meet individual differences.
    • Provide Fun. Offer ways for employees to relax for a few minutes during the work day. Host a potluck or special lunch for employees to socialize and network with one another in a relaxed setting. If you can’t find an idea, there are multiple books available with tons of ideas. Or just ask your employees what ideas they have.

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    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 or visit Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.