How to deal with burnout at work


How can HR chip in with its pro-skills when productivity of demotivated and burnout employees takes a massive hit.

Until and unless your employees are God’s own children, at some point of time in their professional sojourn, their work will fail to excite them as it did earlier. They will constantly ask themselves, “Is this what I signed up for?” No money, no position, no assignment and no pep talk will perk them up. So, what should the employers do to get back the zing?

Should you worry about such sanity-ripping phases? Well, not really because as humans it is natural for us to get bored of things. After all, we are not lifeless like our desks, are we? You, as an HR person, have to deal with this because the productivity of such demotivated and burnout employees takes a massive hit, and sooner or later, you will have to chip in with your pro-skills. Here’s a reckoner that will give you a solid head start.

Watch out for the signs: Only once in a lifetime will an employee walk up to you and tell you that he has had enough of the work. So till the time you don’t meet someone who is this gutsy, look for the characteristic signs that will help you identify people who are dealing with a burnout. Spread your radar to sense employees, whose productivity has taken a hit of late, or identify those who have suddenly started taking random leaves, and yet others who have become extremely cynical about the work and have reduced communication with the team. Remember, if you are able to identify the people successfully, your battle is half won.

Reach out: Once you have identified the people, talk to them and offer them help. Ask them what you can do to get them back to the groove, but remember, in no way should your tone be accusatory. Empathise! We all go through it.

Monotony is a devil that’s best kept at bay: The most monstrous contributor of a burnout is boredom. If employees are not allowed to take up new challenges, they will get disengaged from the work because they somehow connect the monotony of work with decreasing growth prospects. HR should constantly strive to keep the employees in the challenge mode.

Avoid overburdening: It’s not just repetitiveness that leads to a burn out. Even too much work can be detrimental to employees’ performance. Particularly while the company is scaling up rapidly or is in the overload mode, the feathers of some employees are ruffled. Deal with this sensitively because too much pressure isn’t a cake walk for everyone. In case the employee is expected to take up extra work for a few days, make them aware of the circumstances of such overload.

A bit of fun can be the magic wand you have been looking for: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This phrase is not just relevant for kids, but to HR too. Team-building exercises, outdoor management programmes and parties will pep them up in no time.

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Prajjal Saha is the editor and publisher of HRKatha, which he founded in 2015. With nearly 25 years of experience in business journalism, writing, and editing, he is a true industry veteran who possesses a deep understanding of all facets of business, from marketing and distribution to technology and human resources. Along with his work at HRKatha, he is also the author of the Marketing White Book. Thanks to his extensive experience and expertise, he has become a trusted source of insight and analysis for professionals across a wide range of industries.