4 Tips for Addressing Employee Burnout

  • March 09, 2022

How do you handle employee burnout or engage employees who have lost their passion?

More than three quarters, or 76%, of employees are experiencing burnout symptoms while working from home, according to a recent study conducted by Spring Health. Despite that, fewer people are taking time off to re-charge, and in turn are working longer hours – largely in part due to the often blurred lines of work/life of the new working world.

Some have adapted to new and innovative ways to approaching work while others, simply put, are still trying to figure it all out.

While Zoom calls and the need for sustaining effective means of screen time with colleagues are important, employee burnout is inevitable, or is it? The best leaders know how to inspire their employees to get out of bed every day and bring their passion to work – even if that means relocating to the living room to start the work day – and volunteer their best. They can even do this with employees who seem burnt out and have lost their passion. Here are some techniques that can work:

Share specific examples of when they have excelled and gone above and beyond in the past.

In addition to the positive, also share recent examples of when the employee has appeared disengaged to lend a holistic perspective. Ask if something is bothering the employee because you would like to help. With an over saturation of news and inundation of information around us at every turn, asking genuine questions sets the tone for open, authentic and effective communication. Your intent is not to criticize but to assist in motivating the person to attain their former passion.

Remind the employee of their purpose versus their function.

This approach is a great forcing function to re-examine one’s genuine connection to what it is exactly that he or she does, regardless of job title. An janitorial staff member in a hospital is not just cleaning a patient’s room. They are ensuring a clean, suitable and safe environment surrounds the patient and also likely looking carefully at the patient as they conduct their job. If something appears wrong they can run to get a nurse. This can save lives. A financial advisor is not just giving tips about how to grow money. They are providing security and peace of mind while bringing a client’s dream to life in charting a path to their financial success and freedom.

A strong, cohesive culture can help teams navigate through crisis.

Explain to the employee that he/she is a member of the “A” team. When everyone is not pulling his or her weight, it lets down the team. With the new year in full swing and January already behind us, it may be an deal time for Leaders across the business to consider a virtual culture audit. A team logging in for a video call and appearing onscreen together does not equal connected culture. Yes, they are literally connecting through the software, but are they fully present, engaged and enlivening your brand’s mission, vision and values daily? As brands adapt to new digital norms, it’s important to stay focused and rooted in the culture as your compass to connectivity.

Make good decisions easier for your employees.

Every leader should set the example in making it known that employees should feel confident in structuring their day to maximize productivity. This will look different for everyone, and may include a midday walk for fresh air, a quick 10-minute workout class or taking some time to meditate mid-morning. Whatever it is, anxiety is high and it’s important that employees don’t feel stressed or that they are unable to step away if it ultimately will help re-energize motivation and productivity, and most importantly – foster a sense of balanced well-being.

Motivating disengaged employees is not easy, especially during challenging times and when many of us are working in hybrid work environments balancing in-person and remote, but it can be done. It is also time consuming, but you should invest the time.

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center offers virtual and onsite advisory services, courses and presentations to organizations that wish to benchmark the award-winning business practices of The Ritz-Carlton. We invite you to explore our available virtual offerings here.