6 Employee Recognition Tips to Fix Employee Burnout

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with the latest trends and insights in the industry, as well as more recent sources to support the information presented.

With major trends like uncertain economy and a turbulent workforce, many businesses are nervous about one thing:

Employee burnout.

In this article, we’ll explain how companies are prioritizing their employees, and our six proven employee recognition tips that you can start using today.

Problems Ahead: Employee Burnout

According to Gallup, 76% of workers reported they were experiencing burnout prior to the pandemic. 25% of workers said they were burned out “very often” or had “always” felt it at work. These stats are alarming considering most of our waking hours are spent working.

If you’re asking yourself, “How bad is this burnout epidemic?”

Know that companies like LinkedIn, HubSpot, Nike, and Bumble have historically given their employees worldwide a paid week off to address it. Without these employee recognition tips to rectify this burnout, your productivity and retention levels could suffer.

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, get your free employee engagement ROI analysis.

If you don’t necessarily feel burned out, but you do feel unmotivated and exhausted lately, you may be experiencing “languishing.” Languishing means you’re not hopeless, but that same level of excitement you used to have 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.

Languishing can triple the odds of missing work. This mental state can slowly start to take over your employees’ day-to-day life before they even know 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.

Leave Burnout Behind with These Employee Recognition Tips

Employees want to be seen and heard. When asked what more leaders could do to improve engagement, nearly 60% said, “Give recognition.”

Uncover how your employees feel appreciated and connect your team with this free interactive team building experience.

While you may be trying to proactively recognize signs of burnout (or languishing), it can feel like your wheels are spinning. About 61% of American workers are thinking about quitting in 2023, per LinkedIn!

More than 75% of managers report they even feel a sense of responsibility for burnout, but they’re gasping for air themselves. A study revealed that 59% of managers report they are working more now than they did at the start of the pandemic.

In the new hybrid workplace, there’s a critical 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-19 workplace, but also need to understand the newly emerging generations in the workforce.

Millennials and Zoomers will soon represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. With the entrance of each new generation, leaders 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.

Learn more from our own CEO, Anna Straus, in this market report on the impact of these changes!

Employees are looking for purpose-driven work opportunities that offer personal employee recognition experiences. They now expect to be recognized every seven days, so an annual pat-on-the-back isn’t going to be effective.

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. 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. But recognition does not need to be a large event. It’s as simple as celebrating small wins or writing a simple "thank you for your hard work” note.

Every leader has the power to recognize their employees and create recognition programs that provide personalized rewards. These programs can help reinforce the right behaviors and effectively engage your employees when done right. These changes can be seen in improved metrics and KPIs.

Here are some recognition tips to not only help managers recognize their employees, but also to support and recognize your managers, too!

Our Proven Employee 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 they are feeling, not just what they are doing. Curiosity is the secret sauce for generating a culture of innovation and high performers on a team.

Read our 2023 Workplace Report to learn 5 secrets every employer needs to know to successfully build the people-first culture, regardless of location!

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. For remote employees, make sure they turn their video camera on during meetings and 1:1’s.

Tip #3 - Identify individual recognition preferences. Never assume you know what your employees want. This will give you more insight 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.

Tip #5 - Prioritize vacation days and time off. A mental reset is imperative for good work. Plus, your team will be more likely to follow suit and take time off themselves if they witness their leaders doing the same.

Tip #6 - Make employee recognition for your employees’ achievements a regular habit. When our efforts are consistent, we keep our employee's trust high and burnout ratio low. Even when leaders are busy, they’re more likely to receive support from their teams who see the bigger vision and want to see success.

Want more tips? Download our infographic on employee thank you notes that your employees will love!

How Sparck Can Help Implement These Employee Recognition Strategies

Now that you know how damaging burnout can be in the workplace, where do you go from here? Sparck is passionate about providing resources and solutions to find out where your company stands now, and the tools needed to start implementing changes for success

Get a free benchmark of how engaged your employees are with our #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 they need to lead their team’s in the post-pandemic workplace.

Not sure where to begin with these employee recognition tips? Download our Employee Appreciation Toolkit to witness an interactive experience that will fuel your culture and connect your team.


Do you know what your employees really want? We do!

Find out today with our FREE statistically valid #BeHeard Engagement Survey. Click below to see how engaged and equipped your employees are today.

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