Protecting the wellbeing of employees is the responsibility of any great manager, leader or HR professional. Employees are your company’s most valuable and indeed, most fragile asset.
A spike in workload, change in corporate culture or external circumstances are all enough to dramatically impact the performance of your employee.
Ideally, your team members feel comfortable enough to speak up when things have gotten too overwhelming or otherwise know how to handle the pressure, to not affect performance.
Otherwise, employers need to be keenly aware of the signs of burnout and how to support their employees when stressors get too high. Here are six symptoms of employee burnout you don’t want to miss.
1. Irrational/superlative thought patterns.
If you begin to hear things like “this will never work” or “I can’t do anything right,” your employee is probably feeling extremely overwhelmed.
When your employee is only able to think in the most extreme (and worst case) scenarios, they are in serious need of support. Reign them back in and reconnect them with the realities of the situation.
2. Overly sensitive to criticism.
Some are more sensitive than others, but in the capacity of the work environment, most “criticism” is strictly business and shouldn’t be taken personally.
If you notice an employee feeling exceptionally victimized when their behavior or performance is corrected, consider it may be due to burnout.
When emotions and tensions are high, the last thing people want to hear is negative feedback, even if it well-intentioned. Also, check out: How to “Criticize” with Compassion
3. Absenteeism (physical and mental).
When an employee is feeling burned out, you may notice a sudden spike in sick days, personal days, tardiness and so forth.
Not only is physical absence a sign of burnout, but also mental absence; their physical body is at work, but their mind is elsewhere. Burned out employees often lack concentration and focus, as well as the drive to show up at work and fulfill their roles.
Notice if your employee seems less enthusiastic or passionate about their work; detachment may be the prelude to burnout, if not already a symptom.
Detached employees appear uninterested in their work, performance, colleagues or organization as a whole. Don’t lose hope on this employee, work to reignite their flame and get them excited about work again.
Also check out: How to Spot an Unhappy Employee
Everyone has “off days, ” and even the most gregarious, outgoing employees need time to themselves. However, if you notice an employee being particularly distant, going out of their way to avoid others, don’t ignore it.
With extroverted employees, it is more obvious when they are becoming distant; with introverted employees, the signs are less obvious. The best solution is to communicate with your employees and not simply assume it’s just their personality.
6. Decreased performance.
Probably one of the most obvious signs of burnout is poor performance client complaints, colleague disputes, missed deadlines, sloppy work, etc.
If your employee has a previously strong track record, the cause of poor performance is most likely related to burnout rather than sheer apathy.
Employee burnout isn’t always easy to spot; as leaders, it is important to keep the lines of communication with your employees, so they feel comfortable voicing their concerns when things have become too much to handle.
Did we miss anything? Let us know what other employee burnout symptoms you’ve seen in the comments below.