How To Avoid Employee Burnout

While many organizations are increasing their focus on improving employee engagement, they are doing little or nothing to prevent employee burnout. They fail to recognize the signs of stress or dissatisfaction which not only leads to low productivity but also higher staff turnover. Organizations need to take workplace stress management more seriously for dealing with employee burnout better. Even small, inexpensive initiatives can act as effective stress management tools and make a big difference to the employee morale.

Release stress

  • Conducting short walking meetings once a week where the team can discuss a specific agenda, gives them a break from enclosed spaces. Team leaders can use this opportunity for incorporating some amount of coaching and mentoring and also appreciate the team for their contribution.
  • Encouraging employees to take a mental health day can help them especially during stressful times. When managers show support, employees feel more comfortable in asking for time off when they feel stressed.
  • Employees must be encouraged to take a vacation every year by introducing mandatory leaves or tying up with holiday planners. Also, annual picnics or off-sites can give the employees a break and help them in managing work related stress.
  • Offering the liberty to work from home once a week or even once a fortnight can improve employee productivity drastically. It also shows them that the organization trusts them to manage their own time which in turn increases productivity, reduces fatigue and helps prevent employee burnout.
  • Various initiatives can be encouraged to promote work-life balance like early leave before holidays, encouraging activities like yoga and meditation etc. Managers must also be able to recognize when the employees are striking poor work-life balance and ensure that they get some downtime to recharge their batteries.

You might also be interested to read: Tackling The Issue Of Burnout At Workplace

Clearly define and adjust the workload

  • A good job description ensures that each individual has a defined role and their output is in harmony with that of the wider team. Poor job description often results in unfair sharing of responsibilities which ends up creating stress.
  • Without clear objectives, employees can get stuck in a cycle of working hard on the wrong set of objectives, and end up feeling unrewarded and stressed. Managers must, thus, define individual and team objectives as clearly as possible to prevent employee burnout.
  • Performance goals must be communicated to all the employees at the beginning of the year and reworked at regular intervals to meet the business requirements. HR must ensure that they maintain optimal manpower and fair distribution of job responsibilities to avoid employee burnout and improve retention.
  • Team members must be included in decisions that are relevant to their work. Ignoring the needs of the employees while making important decisions relating to their work, can affect their commitment and lead to employee burnout.
  • The employees must be encouraged to weigh their priorities at work. Some organizations use the 80/20 rule which involves spending 80% of the time on 20% of the tasks that are considered to be most important. It helps in having a clear set of priorities and driving performance.
  • If the operation allows for flexible timing, employees must not be forced to come at the same time. Letting go of unimportant rules can assist in creating a culture of trust and transparency, improving employee motivation and managing stress at work.

Build relationships

  • When there is a meaningful, interpersonal relationship among colleagues, they feel more connected with one another and more engaged at work. It not only helps in avoiding employee burnout but also fosters greater cooperation and collaboration at work.
  • It is a good idea for the management to know their employees better. Something as simple as greeting them with a smile, giving them a card on their birthday or acknowledging their work in front of the team can give them a sense of purpose and help them in managing work related stress better.
  • Having an employee get together once in a while can help them get to know each other better. When they bond over informal activities, they tend to become friends and people tend to help friends more than colleagues or acquaintances.

Adequate training & support

  • To succeed in any role, employees need the right skills, knowledge and attitude. The organization might recruit the most qualified talent, but further development is still required to align individual knowledge and skills to the business and its objectives. Adequate training helps in managing work related stress as the employees feel better equipped to accomplish their tasks successfully.
  • Existing stress can escalate if adequate support is not provided at the right time. If the organization has a support system or if they plan to create one, it must be well- publicized and employees must be encouraged to use it when dealing with stress at work.
  • When employees are provided regular feedback and given objectives in small chunks by their managers, it gives them a clear purpose and a means to track their progress more accurately. This not only gives them greater control over their work, but also improves job satisfaction and prevent employee burnout.
  • Managers must discuss the opportunities for career progression from time to time for employees to understand their growth prospects. When employees know that their efforts are recognized and they see a clear career progression path, they are more motivated and less likely to burnout.
  • Supervisors must bear the responsibility to prevent employee burnout and should be trained on how to keep them engaged and motivated. When HR professionals see higher turnover in certain departments, they must train the associated managers and provide them with the necessary stress management tools to retain quality talent.

These are some inexpensive measures that the HR and managers can take to reduce stress and avoid it from snowballing into employee burnout. When organizations take the mental health of their employees seriously and make them feel comfortable enough to speak about it, they improve their chances of retaining and attracting top talent. This is something that must be started right from the time an employee joins the organization. The onboarding process can be taxing for a newcomer as they feel the need to find balance between task- related demands and integrate socially into the workplace. If they can be made to feel comfortable from the very beginning, it can pave the way for healthy work relationships and increased productivity.


  • Practical work-related tasks may reduce burnout in new employees- 17 February, 2018
  • How to Prevent Employee Burnout- Samantha Cainel, 21 March, 2018
  • How to Prevent Employee Burnout- Dori Meinert, 19 July, 2017

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