Employee burnout is a huge problem in our society and it has many roots, especially considering the current economic environment where many employees are working longer hours for the same pay due to a reduction in the workforce. A lack of appreciation often further compounds the problem.
Employee burnout is essentially a result of prolonged workplace stress and anxiety. Herbert Freudenberger coined the term "burnout" in 1974, and established twelve phases of the burnout process that are not necessarily experienced sequentially:
• Having a compulsion to prove oneself
• Working harder and harder with no end in sight
• Neglecting personal needs
• Displacing conflicts
• Revising values (dismissing friends or hobbies)
• Denying emerging problems (aggression and cynicism begin to become apparent)
• Withdrawing socially
• Changing behaviors that become obvious to others
• Experiencing an inner emptiness
• Having depression
• Experiencing burnout syndrome
These phases force us to think about the many specific causes of employee burnout. Employees may not have any control over decisions that affect their job, feel like job expectations are unclear, have a lack of recognition or rewards for good work, experience the workplace as dysfunctional due to having a boss who micromanages their work, have personal values that are not aligned with the organization, feel like their job doesn't fit their skills, or see their job as either too monotonous or too chaotic. The list goes on and on.
To avoid occupational burnout it's crucial that employees reduce and manage stress. Of course, this is easier said than done-especially when employees feel alone. A business coach is an excellent resource to help employees address the twelve phases of burnout and decrease levels of stress and depression. Business coaching provides strategies and tips for employees to cope with feelings of having no control, managing rigorous work schedules, and clearly understanding their specific roles and responsibilities.
Another way business coaches assess employee burnout is to apply the "Three R Approach," which is comprised of:
• Recognizing: Watching for the warning signs of burnout
• Reversing: Undoing the damage by managing stress and seeking support
• Resilience: Building resilience to stress by managing physical and emotional health
Business coaches can help employees address these phases and levels of burnout in emotionally healthy ways. They can work with employees to provide the techniques, tools, and resources they need to regulate stress and align their personal goals with their professional aspirations. An effective business coach will assist employees who are near burnout by helping them realize the stressful situations in which they find themselves and create action plans that reduce anxiety and avoid burnout.
Ultimately, emotional management is the key to preventing employee burnout. When management recognizes a high level of stress permeating the workplace it may be time to involve a business coach who has the expertise to assist employees on the verge of burnout. Employee burnout coaching is a specialized area of business coaching. It takes a coach who is used to working with disillusioned employees that are overwhelmed by the mental, emotional, and physical stress that leads to burnout and turnover.