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Solutions for Preventing Employee Burnout

Apr 21, 2022

Solutions for Preventing Employee Burnout

Implementing employee burnout solutions has always been a challenge for the service industry—particularly for retail and restaurant brands. But since the onset of the pandemic—and its residual impact on mental health, economic status, and the labor market—those challenges have grown even more complex. Organizations are now battling it out to not only fill a rising number of job openings but keep employees in those roles.

To help brands evolve their employee engagement efforts and create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, here are the top 4 employee burnout solutions.

employee experience best practice guide_SMG

Employee burnout solution #1: Create a culture of feedback

A healthy workplace is built on the foundation of solid communication. It’s impossible to create and sustain employee engagement without it. And while most companies are measuring some aspect of employee engagement, many lack the continued dialogue—and follow-through—employees need to feel heard and supported.

Organizations truly prioritizing the employee experience—and getting an upper hand on implementing employee burnout solutions—are combining point-in-time surveys with always-on feedback channels. They’re gathering insights at every stage of employee life cycle, from the first interview to the last day and every important touchpoint in between.

But it doesn’t stop there. The necessary step after collecting data is taking action—because the only thing worse than not asking your employees for feedback is asking and doing nothing about it.

Acting on results at all levels of the organization—from front-line team members all the way to the leadership team—is key to improving employee engagement. Managers who communicate results, recognize and thank associates for willingness to share feedback, and take steps to improve engagement tend to have the best wave-over-wave improvement.

Following through on feedback doesn’t just send a positive message to employees—it also creates a proactive approach to solving issues before they become larger, systemic problems. Employee insights help answer critical business questions (i.e., What are associates telling us to improve? Which locations are seeing high turnover?), so you can move on action items that will have the most impact. And never underestimate how far a simple “thank you” can go—when asked, employees cite verbal gratitude as their preferred method of recognition.

Employee burnout solution #2: Recognize employee contributions

Driving improvements to the employee experience isn’t just about fixing what’s wrong—it’s also about celebrating what’s right. From a formal awards program to a kudos board in the breakroom, recognizing employee efforts and success goes a long way to retaining top performers.

One of the easiest ways to stay on top of employee recognition is through automated celebration alerts triggered through your experience management (XM) platform—highlighting exceptional customer service by notifying managers when a customer is highly satisfied, and an employee is recognized by the customer. These alerts, including the customer’s comments, can be delivered to managers in real time so they can immediately recognize superior service and reinforce loyalty-building behaviors.

It’s also not a bad idea to sweeten the pot a little and provide small rewards for employees’ achievements. While a free latte or surprise cupcakes won’t solve all your employee engagement issues, small acts of appreciation can have a big impact.

Employee burnout solution #3: Provide flexible—yet stable—conditions

In times of adversity, fostering a feeling of stability and predictability can make a significant difference in lowering workplace stress. While service industries have always been well-known for their scheduling volatility, predictability and self-determination are now playing a large role in attracting workers—and managers must now be ready to adjust for employee needs, whether it’s for flexibility or a set schedule.

Employers now must also compete with the gig economy, where employees can be their own boss and set schedules completely on their own. Taking steps to make it easier to switch shifts and trade schedules—and making the shift lengths appealing to both an audience that wants to pick up a quick two-hour shift or someone who wants to pick up a double—can be key to attracting and retaining a workforce with diverse scheduling needs.

While many workplaces have tended toward remote work in the last two years, that’s obviously not possible in customer-facing positions. However, it is helpful to remember employees don’t necessarily need an elaborate benefits package in all instances. At a fundamental level, employees want to work in safe conditions that provide predictable schedule opportunities, consistent hours, and a healthy work-life balance.

Employee burnout solution #4: Focus on fulfilling, collaborative work

Do you know the number one reason employees stay at their job? It’s not all about high wages or elaborate benefits. Employees want their work to be meaningful.

One of our previous studies showed a fulfilling job is the key reason people stay at their current employer. This is important information, but the definition of meaningful work can vary from person to person.

Not surprisingly, salary and benefits are one of the top three elements of fulfilling employment. But it’s not the most important. More than half of respondents said liking the people they work with makes their job more fulfilling. And 42% want their work to be interesting.

Workers want jobs with a purpose. Whether that’s making customers happy or moving up in the company, rewarding work matters most.

Additionally, employees need to feel a connection with the people they work with in order for their jobs to be truly fulfilling. Organizations that create a collaborative environment can establish a support system and help employees become allies.

One small way to do this is create a pay-it-forward box. Encourage your staff to notice the extra effort and contribution of their co-workers by putting a note in a designated box when they see something worth acknowledging. Notes can then be regularly read and displayed—you can even incorporate a rewards system for those employees recognized the most in a week. The bottom line: Employers have to understand what employees want—really want—to align opportunities with expectations. It’s not going to be the same across the board. Organizations that take the time to ask for, act on, and continually monitor employee feedback will be the ones driving employee engagement and retaining top talent in this challenging labor market.

Take a holistic approach to preventing employee burnout and driving engagement

There isn’t one magical thing organizations can do to make their employees happy. If there was, today’s job market would look quite different. Pardon the pun, but it takes hard work to make employees want to work. And the truth is, many companies aren’t putting in enough effort to provide the type of environment that draws in—and keeps—quality employees.

But those organizations that are prioritizing these efforts—by implementing solutions that make it easier to act on employee feedback—will be the ones to emerge from these challenging times stronger.