When you’re burned out, you’re more than tired or stressed. You’re emotionally exhausted and ineffective in your job. You may start seeing cynicism creeping into your daily routine, and you just can’t shake it. Taking one or two days off doesn’t solve your mood either.

Employee burnout

In a recent study of 1,000 full-time employees, 77 percent of them reported experiencing burnout, and more than half of these employees had experienced burnout more than once. Burnout can happen for a variety of reasons. Often employees experience burnout when they expect too much of themselves; they feel inadequate, they aren’t a good fit for their job, or they feel unappreciated at work.

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time. But, it’s timeframe is different for each employee.  So, how can managers help employees avoid burnout in the workplace?

Here are seven ways to explore:

Recognize Burnout’s Signs and Symptoms

Most employees experiencing burnout will continue to come to work, and managers need to be able to identify the signs and symptoms. By recognizing signs of burnout, managers can help employees with early identification.

Additionally, managers can help employees identify the differences between stress and burnout. Stress typically leaves you feeling anxious and overwhelmed where burnout leaves you feeling apathetic and helpless.

Employees may not understand the effect that burnout can have on their work performance and effectiveness. By having a supportive and empathetic manager, a burned out employee can get the help they need and get back on the right track.

Improve Communication with Employees

To help identify early signs of burnout, managers must establish a relationship with employees with effective communication. If you never talk to your employees, or you bark instructions at your team, how are you going to get your employees to open up to you about being burned out? How are you going to get them the help they need? How are you going to show that the company has their back?

Employees who have a manager who is willing to listen are 62 percent less likely to experience burnout. By establishing a relationship with your employees, you build trust. Employees are more willing to talk to you if they trust you. So, if they start struggling, they are more willing to come to you, or in reverse, they’re more willing to listen to you if you identify some issues.

Help Your Employees Focus on Strengths

We all have strengths and weaknesses. But when employees do what they do best, they are happier and more engaged. Help your employees identify their strengths. Focus on those strengths. Make sure your employees are in roles that magnify their strengths.

When the employee’s strengths and their role is a mismatch, it creates a frustrating and exhausting workday. Your employee becomes disengaged, less productive, and more prone to burnout.

By putting your employees in a role that matches their strengths, you’re engaging your employees, reducing the possibility of burnout, and enhancing your employees’ performance. Your employees will stay longer at your organization. They become invested in their work and in the company.

Help Employees Connect to their Purpose

Employees no longer want to have a job. They want to connect to a purpose. They want to find meaning in what they do. They also want to connect to the organization’s mission.

As a manager, do you share the company’s mission with the employees? Do your employees know the plans for the company? Do they understand how their job fits into those plans? Into the company mission? How are they contributing individually to the overall picture?

By understanding the answers to these questions, your employees will become engaged and connect to meaning. They will help move the company forward. And they will find purpose. Burnout goes by the wayside.

Employee who has overcome burnout. Worker connected to purpose.

Create a Recognition Culture

Employees want to be recognized and supported for their efforts. They don’t want to be invisible or seen as just a number to management. Such treatment creates burnout. And the exhaustion, in turn, creates employees who no longer put forth the effort.

From a simple thank you from leadership to a structured incentive program, employees appreciate the recognition. Recognition encourages employees. It motivates them. Recognition lets employees know that they matter to the organization.

By developing a recognition program, companies will see better employee productivity, increased retention, and improved employee engagement. The company culture will feel less stressful and more appreciative. This in itself is a proactive measure that the company can take to prevent burnout among its employees.

Expand Your Wellness Benefits

We know that exercise is beneficial to our mental health. Between the release of serotonin and endorphins during exercise, we get that happy, at-peace feeling. Why not encourage your employees to take advantage of the many benefits of exercise, including physical and mental? By expanding employee benefits programs to include memberships to gyms, you can encourage employees to stay healthy. And staying healthy goes beyond just the physical benefits. It helps us avoid burnout.

In addition to exercise, expand your benefits programs to include flexible work options, employee assistance programs, and stress management programs. Help your employees find the balance between work and home life. Encourage your employees to take “mental health” days. Bring yoga classes on-site. Offer financial wellness courses.

By helping your employees with their personal lives, and encouraging their well-being, you’re creating a healthy work environment. You’re also creating loyal, happy employees.

Develop Your Employees

Employees want to grow and learn in their jobs. Help your employees develop professionally and individually by offering a corporate training program. By training your employees, your workforce becomes more engaged, more skillful, more effective, and more productive.

You can attract top talent to your company while retaining the best-of-the-best. Your employees can start applying what they’ve learned to their jobs. They can also build upon these skills through microlearning. They can take their professional growth into their own hands. By becoming engaged in their personal growth, employees become invested in their careers and the company. What a great way to fend off burnout.

By being proactive and helping your employees fend off burnout by encouraging professional growth and engagement, you are assuring productive, happy employees. These employees will not only enjoy and find purpose in what they do every day, but they’ll work hard for you and become brand ambassadors. Organizations need to realize that burnout creeps up, in even our best employees. We need to meet it head-on.