How to Spot It and Support Your High Performing Staff So You Don’t Lose Them

As an employer, you know that your team is the backbone of your organization. They work hard day in and day out to drive your business forward. But what happens when your star performers start to lose their shine? Burnout could be the culprit. 

Burnout is like a stealthy intruder that can sneak up on even the most dedicated employees. But fear not! In this article, we’ll explore the signs that indicate your staff are on the edge of burnout, how to recognize these signs, and what you can do to help your employees bounce back stronger than ever.

The “Sigh” of Burnout

Have you noticed a change in your employees’ sighs? It may sound odd, but the way your staff exhales can reveal a lot about their mental state. If you hear more frequent and heavier sighs than usual, it could be a sign of burnout. Sighs are often involuntary responses to stress or frustration, and increased sighing can indicate that your employees are feeling overwhelmed.

How to recognize it

You will need to pay attention to the frequency and intensity of sighs during meetings, conversations, or even in passing. If you begin to notice a change in the sighing pattern, you may want to investigate further.

What you can do to help? 

You can start by approaching the employee in a gentle and compassionate manner, expressing your concern about their well-being. Don’t call them into your office, because they are probably already aware they aren’t coping. Making it an official meeting may send their stress skyrocketing. Casually mention you have noticed them sighing a bit more than usual and express your concern about their wellbeing. You can ask if the workload is becoming unsustainable, or if they are having challenges outside of the workplace that are contributing to overwhelm or overload. Ask them if they have techniques for managing their stress. Offer support and explore solutions together, such as prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, or providing additional resources.

The “Zombie” Effect

Have you noticed employees dragging themselves to work like zombies? Burnout can sap your team’s energy and leave them feeling like they’re just going through the motions. If you notice employees who are consistently low on energy, lack enthusiasm, or seem disconnected from their work, it could be a sign of burnout.

How to recognize it

Observe your employees’ energy levels, engagement, and enthusiasm during meetings, projects, or team interactions. If you notice a consistent lack of vitality or passion, take them aside and check in.

What you can do

Encourage your employees to take regular breaks, prioritize self-care, and engage in activities that rejuvenate them. Foster a positive work environment where employees feel appreciated, recognized, and motivated. Consider offering opportunities for skill development, career growth, or job rotation to reignite their passion for their work.

The “Oops” Syndrome

Burnout can impact your employees’ ability to perform at their best, and mistakes can become more frequent. If you notice employees making more errors than usual, missing deadlines, or failing to deliver their usual level of quality work, it could be a sign of burnout.

How to recognize it

Keep an eye on performance metrics, quality control measures, and feedback from clients or customers. If you notice a decline in performance or an increase in mistakes, it’s time to dig deeper.

What you can do

Offer constructive feedback and support to employees who are struggling with their performance. Avoid blaming or shaming, and instead focus on identifying the root causes of the mistakes. Work together to find solutions, such as workload adjustments, training opportunities, or mentorship, to help them regain their confidence and improve their performance.

The “Ghost” Act

Burnout can also cause employees to withdraw or become distant. If you notice employees who are less engaged in team activities, social interactions, or seem to disappear from the radar, it could be a sign of burnout.

How to recognize it

Keep track of your employees’ participation in team meetings, social events, or other collaborative activities. If you notice a decline in their involvement or a sudden lack of presence, it may be worth exploring further.

What you can do

Create a supportive and inclusive work culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns or challenges. Encourage open communication and be approachable as a leader. Check in with employees regularly to understand their workload, stressors, and any personal challenges they may be facing. Offer flexible work arrangements or time off if needed, and provide resources for mental health support or employee assistance programs.

The “Clock-Watcher” Syndrome

Burnout can also impact employees’ motivation and productivity. If you notice employees who are frequently watching the clock, seem disinterested in their work, or are struggling to meet deadlines, it could be a sign of burnout.

How to recognize it

Keep track of employees’ productivity levels, their ability to meet deadlines, and their engagement in tasks or projects. If you notice a decline in their motivation or a lack of focus, it’s time to investigate further.

What you can do

Have a candid conversation with the employee to understand their workload, any challenges they may be facing, and explore ways to make their tasks more meaningful or manageable. Provide recognition and rewards for their achievements to boost their morale. Consider offering opportunities for skill development or job enrichment to reignite their motivation and passion for their work.

Burnout is a real and pervasive issue that can impact the well-being and productivity of your employees.

As an employer, it’s crucial to be vigilant in recognizing the signs of burnout in your staff. By being observant, compassionate, and proactive, you can take steps to support your employees and help them bounce back from burnout stronger than ever. Or if caught early enough, you can stop burnout from taking hold. Once it has its claws in, it can take years to fully recover from burnout. Recognising the signs in your staff early, means you can put support mechanisms in place and keep your best staff. It costs more to replace a good employee than to find and train a new one.

Remember, prevention is key! 

Foster a positive work environment, promote work-life balance, and encourage open communication. Be responsive to your employees’ needs and provide resources and support to help them manage their workload and stress levels. Your employees are your most valuable asset, and by taking care of their well-being, you are investing in the success of your organization as well. So, keep an eye out for those sighs, zombies, oops moments, Houdinis, and clock-watchers, and take action to support your staff in their journey from the edge of burnout to bouncing back!

We hope you found this article informative and entertaining. If you have any questions or would like further guidance on recognizing and addressing burnout in your staff, feel free to reach out to us. Remember, a healthy and motivated team is the key to a thriving workplace!