As the summer creeps quickly upon us, there’s an unavoidable nostalgia that comes along with it. Now that the COVID cloud is clearing, we’re even looking forward to the “are we there yet??” whines from the backseat that drove our parents utterly bonkers on road trips.
But instead of summer road trip plans, our sights are set on something much different.
Can you hear it?
We’re talking about burnout… the kind that has nothing to do with your tires.
Problems Ahead: Blah and Burnout
According to Gallup, 76% of workers report they were experiencing burnout prior to the pandemic, and 25% of workers say they were burned out “very often” or had “always” felt it at work. While COVID certainly didn’t help, these stats are pretty alarming considering most of our waking hours are spent working.
If you’re asking yourself, “how bad is this burnout epidemic really?”
So, yeah. We’d say it’s pretty bad.
While we understand it’s not feasible for all companies to shut down for a week, every company has the capacity to show they care about their employees by doing something. Burnout not only impacts our employees’ mental health and well-being, but it also impacts business deliverables and bottom line through employee engagement.
If you want to know just how burnout may be affecting your bottom line, click HERE to get your free cost analysis.
Now if you’re reading this and don’t necessarily feel burned out, but DO feel a little blah lately, you may be experiencing “languishing.” Languishing means you’re not exactly worn out or hopeless, but that same level of excitement and “let’s conquer the day-edness” just isn’t there anymore.
When the pandemic first occurred, many of us were on high-alert. For many people, that fight-or-flight response turned anguish into languish. Studies actually show that health workers who experienced feelings of languishing in 2020 were 3x more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD. Scary, right?
It’s no joke. Languishing can triple the odds of missing work. This mental state can slowly start to take over your day-to-day life before you even know it. It’s like that strange noise you hear in your car that doesn’t affect how the car drives now, but it’ll eventually break down if you continue to ignore it. If left unaddressed, burnout is right around the corner.
So, how are you going to address this second pandemic that’s threatening engagement in our workplaces today? Don’t worry, we have a solution for you.
The Vehicle: Leave Burnout Behind with Recognition
Employees want to be seen and heard. When asked what more leaders could do to improve engagement, nearly 60% said, “give recognition.” So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that feeling seen and appreciated combats languishing and burnout, right?
While you may be trying to proactively recognize signs of burnout (or languishing), we understand that it may feel like your tires are spinning. With Microsoft finding 41% of their employees are wanting to leave their jobs, what’s a manager to do? Threaten to turn the car around?
Not likely. We get it. Managers are burned out, too.
More than 75% of managers report they even feel a sense of responsibility for burnout, but they’re gasping for fresh air themselves. A study revealed that 59% of managers report they are working more now than they did at the start of the pandemic, so it’s no surprise that a whopping 3 in 4 report being in the pressure cooker at work even when they’re physically ill.
The workplace is changing and there’s a critical and immediate need to equip managers. Managers who lead with emotional intelligence (EI) are better able to establish more humanized recognition experiences that engage and motivate their employees. This is important because they’re not only responsible for building the post-COVID workplace, but also need to understand the newly emerging generations in the workforce.
Believe it or not, Millennials and Zoomers will soon represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. With the entrance of each new generation, we must adapt to the changing needs of the workplace and address them appropriately. Get a competitive advantage and attract the best talent possible by adapting to the changing needs of the workplace.
For example, here’s an easy first step...
Throw the antiquated “gold watch mentality” out the window!
This one size fits all rewards approach is ineffective in today’s workplace. Employees are looking for purpose-driven work opportunities that offer uniquely personal recognition experiences. They now expect to be recognized every seven days, so an annual pat-on-the-back isn’t going to cut it.
Oh and this includes your managers.
We hear a lot about managers recognizing employees, but are managers being recognized themselves? They are a critical part of the organization and cannot be overlooked. There’s an inherent trickle down effect that comes from the top, but valuable leadership is getting stuck in a bottleneck.
Managers need support, but when your feet are constantly “pedal to the metal,” it’s pretty hard to see what you’re missing. It’s time to turn off auto-pilot and pull the car over. Our engine is overheating and we’re going to break down far before our destination at this point because if managers are burned out and exhausted, how can they support their teams?
There is a misconception that recognition needs to be costly and grandiose. The truth is, it is a lot more simple than many think. As you can see, recognition is not necessarily a large event. It’s as simple as celebrating small wins or writing a simple "thank you for your hard work” note.
This is important because every leader has the power to recognize their employees and recognition programs that provide personalized rewards (don’t forget what we said about the gold watch culture!) can help reinforce the right behaviors and effectively engage your employees. These changes can be seen in improved metrics and KPIs.
Don’t worry, we know...new vehicles and new gadgets are confusing. But, we’ve got you covered so you can enjoy the new car smell for the rest of the journey. Here are some recognition tips to not only help managers recognize their employees, but also to support and recognize your managers, too!
Sparck Recognition Tips
Tip #1 - Hold regular 1:1’s and check-ins, especially if employees are remote or not in the same office. Be curious and reserve time to ask how everyone is feeling, not just what they are doing. Curiosity is the secret sauce for generating a culture of innovation and high performers on a team.
Tip #2 - Learn to observe body language. From a psychological standpoint, the ability to read and discern what body language communicates to a person can really change the dynamics of a conversation, or greater than that, a working relationship.
Tip #3 - Identify individual recognition preferences. Never assume you know what your employees want. This will give you a leg up when you are working toward better engagement with your employees.
Tip #4 - Don’t overlook your highly engaged employees or high performers. To piggy-back on the previous tip, some of our most highly engaged employees are experiencing the highest levels of burnout. Don’t make the mistake of not equipping your high performers. They need to be seen, recognized, and consistently compensated for their efforts too. Remember, it can be as simple as a "thank you!"
Tip #5 - Prioritize vacation days and time off - including for yourself! A mental reset is imperative for anyone who wants to continue to do good work. When you exhaust the engine, it will eventually die on you. Listen to your body before your brain pushes back! Plus, your team will be more likely to follow suit and take time off themselves if they witness their leaders doing so.
Tip #6 - Make appreciation and recognition for your employees’ achievements a regular habit. When our efforts are consistent, we keep our employee's trust tank full, and burnout ratio low. So, even in the times where things get hectic and we slip up and don’t acknowledge things in the way we normally do, we’re more likely to receive grace, or even support from our teams who see the bigger vision and want to support the team in achieving success.
Want more tips? Click HERE to download our infographic about how to write thank you notes your employees will love!
So, now that you have some recognition tips to alleviate blah and burnout before your tires “burnout,” let’s get back on the road.
The Destination: How Sparck Can Help
Phew, that was a wild ride! Now that you know how damaging burnout can be in the workplace, where do you go from here? Don’t worry, we won’t leave you in the lurch. We are passionate about providing resources and solutions for you to find out where your company stands now and the tools needed to start implementing changes so you can get to the destination of your choice.
Click HERE to get a FREE benchmark of how engaged your employees are with the #BeHeard Survey.
Here at Sparck, we are driven by uniquely personalized recognition experiences that help each employee be seen in the workplace. Sparck’s personalized recognition and rewards platform has been specifically designed to help equip managers with the tools and insights they need to effectively lead their team’s in the post-pandemic workplace.
However, we know that the reason many leaders cannot adequately support their teams is because they never received the tools necessary themselves! Many teams are stuck in a vicious cycle caused by this inherent trickle-down effect. The first step in breaking this cycle is by starting at the top and properly equipping managers.
Not sure where to begin? Not to worry! We will be covering this soon, so stay tuned!