One of the most costly and time-consuming expenses a business has to deal with is employee turnover. When the business is small and the departing employee was filling a vital role, then the loss is felt even more. The direct and indirect drain on resources that goes along with losing those key employees can seriously set a business back and undermine its operational stability.
While there are numerous reasons why employees choose to leave, sometimes they go simply because they are too stressed and over-worked to be productive. In this case, if you can recognize the symptoms of employee burnout early on you will be in a better position to address it and make any necessarily changes before anyone walks out the door.
Here are five of the biggest warning signs to watch out for:
1. Productivity declines. If you see a sudden drop in the productivity of one of your solid performers, then it could be a sign that this person is feeling a little stressed or distracted. We all have our off days, so if this happens once and while, it could mean nothing. But, where the drop in productivity is both significant and over the long-term, then it’s something that requires your attention.
2. Work quality declines. Sometimes you may notice that the overall level of productivity stays more or less the same, but the quality of their work diminishes. The number one sign that employees are overworked is when they repeatedly make simple mistakes. If your employee usually takes care of typos or produces clean code or calculations, then you should be paying attention.
3. Absenteeism increases. A key indicator of how happy your employees are on the job is how often they unexpectedly call in sick. Happy, productive employees typically want to show up for work; unhappy employees burn out and take many sick days. So, if your employees are starting to call in sick more than usual, it’s probably a sign that they’re overworked. Work-related stress is a factor that can lead to a number of health problems that ultimately prevent employees from showing up for work and having productive days.
4. There is tension in the air. When your employees seem irritable, stressed, and frustrated or on the other end, a little blue, then it’s a sign that you need to jump in and do something to help ease the tension and unwind.
5. Employees become despondent. Apathy is an innovation killer. If you notice that some of your employees seem apathetic and unconcerned with their work and the business as a whole, then it’s time to step in. When employees are stressed out, then enthusiasm is one of the first things to go. So, keep an eye out for employees who don’t seem to have the energy they once did, and be on top of it immediately. You don’t want their despondency and lack of enthusiasm to rub off onto others.
In short, employee burnout happens- even to the best of businesses. But it if you can learn how to recognize the warning signs and respond to them right away, then it doesn’t have to cost you a good employee.
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