4 Signs of Employee Burnout

Are Your New Stars Fading?

With many new relationships in life, there are initial sparks, sometimes fireworks. Work is no different. New hires, when entering a new workplace, faced with new challenges, thrive. They love the new, the unknown, the excitement.

New hires are stars whose optimism and potential can move mountains. But then something happens … reality. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But the buzz of the first months soon slides into the new employee starting to settle into her routine, noticing the imperfections of the process of the office, and receiving some “seemingly” critical feedback on her performance from a once-enthusiastic manager.

And mundane begins. The creativity wanes. The pressure gets higher. And engagement fizzles.

Management has a tough chore to handle, harnessing the enthusiasm of new hires while steering them toward realistic, attainable goals that align with company values. Here are 4 telltale signs that the spark has fizzled, the honeymoon is over, and your new stars are fading. Catch them before they burnout and bow out.

1. Silly Slip-Ups Are a Sign of Lack of Concentration: The employee who once turned in perfect reports that begins to make silly mistakes is on the road to burnout. Lack of attention to detail is a red flag that managers need to pay close attention to. Instead of focusing on the mistakes, find out what’s going on and dial back on the employee’s stress.
2. Your One-Time Tour de Force is Muddled in Self Doubt: New hires, big stars, can tumble into a pool of self-doubt. Perhaps a new project failed, a creative idea was shot down by marketing. Overworked and overtired employees can fall into the trap of “reduced accomplishment,” a feeling that he is a complete failure. Perhaps not much has changed on the management side of things, but if your one-time star is always double-guessing himself, he might be wrought with stress and have a distorted image of his role in the company. Talk to him, find out how to alleviate the work hours and stress, and stress the importance of work/life balance to get him back on track.
3. Accentuate the Negative: Your one-time “anything is possible” employee becomes overly cynical and critical, finding “buts” and the glass-is-half-empty side of work, is not only harmful to her production but also her team’s production. Negativity breeds negativity. When an enthusiastic employee starts to blame her situation, her bosses, her team, and her company for her failures, she is in overload burnout. As a manager, it’s important to stop the snowball before it becomes an avalanche.
4. Absenteeism, Sickness, and Fatigue: When employees can’t get rid of that cold, have chronic headaches or pains, and look downtrodden and tired, it’s time for management to stop, sit, and listen to what’s happening at work. Emotional and physical exhaustion are red flags that scream work dysfunction.

Just by recognizing these signs in your new hires (and senior employees as well!), you can make adjustments and help steer their paths to a less bumpy road while keeping the new talent engaged and in love. With a great communication plan and being in touch with your employees’ needs and how each individual can make the organization a better place, you’re already fighting the employee burnout battle.

So let the fireworks begin!

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