Finding a practical approach on how to prevent burnout is one of the essential elements in any HR strategy within the company.
As indicated in this article, the term we know today as burnout was coined in the 1970s by psychiatrist Herbert Freudenberger, who identified it in a group of employees who presented similar symptoms:
- Anxiety crises
- Depressive states
- Lack of motivation at work
- Confrontations at work and loss of energy
Initially, the term was used concerning healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses who became physically and psychologically worn out when caring for others.
Of course, today, this fatigue can be seen in many other professions, and this concept has become popularized with the expression “being burned out.”
We weren’t burnt out before our role
No employee arrives at their job in burnout conditions on the first day. However, we often arrive at a new job because we come from a former negative professional experience. Perhaps due to the experience that no one in our previous company was concerned about how to prevent burnout.
In any case, an employee generally burns out progressively and, usually, not linearly or constantly throughout their employee journey.
The causes of this problem can be examined from a universal perspective (that which burns out everyone, anyone, many). They must also be analyzed from a strictly individual point of view. They are taking into account that the same circumstances (schedule, tasks, responsibility, feedback, reinforcements, physical context, etc.) can burn out some employees and yet not affect others at all or too much, even when working side by side.
Factors that lead to burnout
As mentioned above, different factors contribute to the onset of burnout syndrome. Here are four fundamental aspects to consider when thinking about how to prevent burnout.
1. Poorly designed demands
The methodology is erratic, tasks or responsibilities improper to the position are demanded, there is no well-defined strategy, there is a lack of leadership and references. There is a prevailing feeling of loneliness in the employee.
2. Unbalanced workloads
There is an excess of work, poorly explained or, simply, not justified. Sometimes these excesses are combined with periods of lack of activity, and there is no perception that this is justified, but rather it is perceived as something avoidable.
3. Negative work environment
The work environment is the work atmosphere that employees breathe and that is nurtured, especially by their relationships and bonds and by the leadership that managers can establish. When the work environment is hostile, it is difficult to sustain motivation and involvement in our tasks.
4. Lack of motivation
The employee does not feel they are working on something meaningful; they think that their efforts are not getting consistent results, not even in the form of recognition. They perceive a lack of meaning in what they do and little justification for what they are given. They perform tedious tasks, and their learning and professional development within that position are not fostered.
Burnout syndrome indicates a critical psychological disconnection between the employee and their task. Therefore, it also speaks of a problem in the relationship between the employee and the company, which can lead to mental health leave or talent drain if the employee decides to end their situation by emigrating to other companies. In any case, it is one of the most critical obstacles towards efficient performance.
How to prevent burnout?
When we consider how to prevent burnout, we mustn’t put the cart before the horse. Any strategy to avoid a negative impact on the company must start with systematic tracking of the causes of this issue if it is to be efficient and effective.
In this sense, tools that allow companies to identify and measure the main psychosocial risk factors faced by the company’s employees, including, of course, burnout syndrome or burned-out employee syndrome, are particularly relevant.
As we have seen, some of the causes of burnout can be found in poorly designed processes, unbalanced workloads, a negative work environment, and lack of motivation. Therefore, strategies to care for the psychological well-being of employees should be oriented towards the prevention of malpractices in terms of organization and leadership, improving the work environment by encouraging team cohesion and detailed monitoring of the entire journey of employees to detect and correct any mismatches in terms of their roles and responsibilities.
Emotional well-being program for companies
At ifeel, we know that work should not disrupt people’s well-being. That is why our team of psychologists, experts in well-being at work, has created an emotional well-being program for companies that positively impacts talent retention, reduces absenteeism, and combats employee stress.
In our Resources section, you will find helpful material, such as podcasts, HR guides, or interviews with HR managers. In addition, we have a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which you can use to comply with the requirements of the Labor Inspection.
Thanks to our emotional well-being program, your company’s HR managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on improving the psychological well-being of their teams. In addition, this program offers employees a 360° mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program today to see how it could help you.
We hope you found this post about how to prevent burnout interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, request it, and we will contact your team as soon as possible.