Burnout is evolving – so should you.
2023 is tracking to be a uniquely disruptive year for recruiters and HR teams. Whilst an economic downturn is predicted to take the sharpness off traditional high staff turnover rates in the first 2 quarters of the year, never forget the power of the great resignation and the driving forces behind it. And especially don’t forget the power and horror of burnout.
If the last 2 years taught us anything it’s that there is an indelible alignment between staff performance and perceptions of support and welfare. Burnout – that great signifier of overwork and stress – has evolved as workforces have evolved.
That alignment has come under pressure. Workers have felt forgotten, mistreated, underpaid, and simply not trusted, and paltry efforts to better workplace welfare have been met with waves of resignations.
So how can HR leaders deploy their tech stack to help mitigate burnout? Is there anything HR platforms can do to help?
Burnout mitigation is made easier when HR teams realise the tools they already use can help measure burnout, and ease the burden of feeling overwhelmed by work.
Set the right expectations from day 1.
This is where everything from well-written job adverts, to inclusive and welcoming onboarding strategies, to open cultures of communication does the heavy lifting for you.
HR tech specifically is designed to pull down hiring barriers and connect great opportunities with the right people. Tech can’t do that alone, of course, but applied alongside effective interview techniques and studious attention to onboarding detail it can make all the difference in keeping the right doors open for staff to share their worries and rejig workflows.
This helps new staff understand workplace welfare standards before they start a new job, and helps direct existing staff to help before burnout becomes acute.
Simply put, recruitment and HR tech destratifies communications and adds layers of visibility to workflows, setting safe expectations for work welfare.
For example, HR communication platforms make it easier than ever for staff to speak to their seniors about how they’re holding up, and integrated project management tools provide an extra layer of transparent workflow visibility, helping bosses and staff align on deliverables or undeliverables.
Measure staff engagement and happiness in context.
Engagement is a slippery term, so we’re going to be specific.
- Engagement doesn’t necessarily mean compound YoY employee growth in productivity, but it can refer to it.
- Engagement also doesn’t refer exclusively to happiness within work, but it can refer to it.
By engagement, what we really mean is how agile and flexible staff are in being able to shift priorities, meet workplace demands, and stay positive, supportive and goal-led throughout their day-to-day. That type of engaged worker has the right mindset to handle the future economy of work and career building.
Measuring this new, fluid form of engagement takes diligent application of key HR tech tools like staff surveys, continuous feedback, peer feedback, and personalised career growth pathways.
Combining the data from those inputs with workplace outcomes (and the relationship built between boss and employee) should give any leader a detailed overview of what drives their people, how effective they are in work, any deficiencies in performance they may have and how it all ties into their wants and needs.
It’s burnout mitigation fuel!
Seek performance feedback constantly.
Lastly, a word on performance feedback.
Burnout is, sadly, common. But the causes, outcomes and manifestations are highly personal.
As research has shown, burnout can crop up anywhere, at any time, in any form. Some staff quiet quit. Others start arguments and rage at the world. Most will attempt to ignore it, power through, and eventually hit a wall.
This melding of physical and mental exhaustion cannot be exclusively fixed by “performance feedback”. But opening your door to continuous or 360 feedback takes some of the burnout burden off an employee because it gives context to work.
Performance feedback grounds employee labour in real-time data. This data provides value. That value is what employees need to see to stay focused on the job at hand, and it’s something they can build a sense of self-esteem and self-growth from.
Without value, and without a sense of understanding how labour is attached to positive outcomes, that drowning feeling of burnout will only get worse.
Many HR and recruitment tech platforms and software integrate with, or contain native, feedback plug-ins or features designed expressly to desilo “value” within the workplace and make it visible for employees – this is the power of feedback, by connecting people to their labour.
Leaders that build cultures of continual employee feedback understand that it may not be the silver bullet to staff disengagement or unhappiness, but it’s a hugely effective tool for helping clarify performance in context of work.
A quick, responsive process is what you need to attract and engage the best talent.
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