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The 3 Main Types of Burnout – And How to Prevent Them

By Roz, April 14, 2014
employee burnout

For any business, employees should be a top concern at all times of the year – but April is Stress Awareness Month, bringing to light the gravity of this kind of physical, mental and emotional collapse. When staff members are overworked, their productivity inevitably suffers, along with their dedication and morale. That translates to more absences, lower quality of work and a higher turnover rate.

Despite increased awareness around the issue, it seems to be worsening. According to HR Morning, a recent study by ComPsych found that 62 percent of employees are experiencing high levels of stress and extreme fatigue. Clearly, it’s time for companies to reassess their definition of burnout and look for ways to prevent it.

 

However, there’s more than one type of burnout, and each requires a different approach.

1. Obsessed and overwrought
In every business, there are some workaholics that are so driven that they often push themselves a little too hard. These are the Type A personalities who demand a particular level of perfectionism. According to a recent study in the online journal PLOS One, this is the “frenetic” form, and while these workers may be valuable players in certain projects and scenarios, they will eventually burn out.

So how can companies aid these overachievers? Continually assess the workload of staff members – and be wary of those employees who ask for more, as their tenacity may be short-lived and ultimately lead to a crash.

KissMetrics emphasized that it’s crucial to make every team member aware of the definition of his or her role, providing them with a clear outline of the expectations. It’s also important that staff members are equipped with the right resources and training to complete any task that may be asked of them. Do they know who to go to if they have a problem or a question?

It might be useful to hold a formal seminar or create online courses on burnout. By providing them with information about the symptoms, you can help staff members to identify the warning signs.

 

2. Exhausted
One of the most common types of burnout occurs when an individual is just drained – of energy and motivation. The PLOS One report explained that usually, these employees don’t feel that the level of appreciation is enough to make up for intense work demands.

If an employee is frequently staying late, it may be time to determine whether they’re highly motivated or if they’re overwhelmed. Ensure that assignments aren’t unrealistic, because while it’s good to challenge employees, they shouldn’t feel like they’re striving for the impossible.

It’s imperative to acknowledge every single success that a staff member makes, no matter how small. Conduct regular performance reviews to ensure that deserving employees receive a raise or promotion when appropriate. KissMetrics recommended surprising team members with a bonus or award after they’ve made it through a difficult week or achieved a lofty business goal.

 

3. Disengaged
Meanwhile, some staff members aren’t challenged enough – which is why they’re only giving the bare minimum in terms of effort. How can you expect workers to succeed if they’re unfulfilled or bored with their role and see no room for growth? PLOS One noted that under-challenged burnout indicates that something is obviously lacking in a staff member’s day-to-day job responsibilities.

As participation in decision-making is a core element that makes staff members feel valuable and engaged, it’s helpful to get them involved by assigning them a particular area in which they can exercise a little more control over the business.

If you notice that a staff member is especially enthusiastic about a certain project unrelated to their job, consider letting them get involved in another area of the business, or even reshaping their role to fit their talents and passions. KissMetrics recommended enabling employees to work on a side project, which could actually lead to the kind of innovation that benefits a business.


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