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10 May 2022

Digital benefits and HR tools can help beat employee burnout

In a world where stress and overwork are rife, employers can take a few simple steps to catch employees before they hit ‘the wall’.

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In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) put burnout on its international disease classification list. It defined burnout as “emotional exhaustion + disillusionment + withdrawal” in connection with health workers, but it can affect any employee in any work sector and is usually caused by high levels of stress caused by overwork.

In a survey of 2,099 people, UK charity Mental Health UK and international research and analytics group YouGov found that 85% of UK adults correctly identified symptoms of burnout, while 46% of UK workers feel more vulnerable to extreme levels of stress compared with figures from 2020.

Elsewhere, the Harvard Business Review claims that between $125bn and $190bn is spent a year on psychological and physical burnout alone, and in Europe, 66% of survey respondents in Poland and Russia reported they had suffered, or were close to experiencing burnout.

Many workplaces place unnecessary stress on their employees in many different ways. One way is overloading them with work that they simply can’t manage, and some employees are unable to say no because they think it will make them look unprofessional and unreliable.

The stress from this type of situation and an unmanageable workload doesn’t strike overnight. Instead, it builds day by day, week by week, until employees hit “the wall”. By this point, it is too late for the employer or employee to take action and it often leads to employees being signed off work for a lengthy period.

What is “the wall” and how does an employee know it is happening to them?

When an employee is put under a large amount of stress over an extended period, they will start to feel symptoms that they might not even be able to detect, such as anxiety, fatigue and insomnia. Added to this, it’s not uncommon for an employee to start to cry for, what might be to them, no reason, and to start to act irrationally, which might include getting angry at colleagues and even family members. When an employee starts exhibiting these symptoms, they have already hit “the wall”.

No employee should have to experience burnout. But, thankfully, help is at hand.

The WHO lists several preventative measures it believes will reduce burnout.

More realistic and gratifying goals
Work feedback
In-house training
Time management techniques
Periodic “burnout check-ups”
Time-outs whenever necessary
Vacations (at short notice if necessary)

Streamlining HR processes that create better work environments

Another reason for employee burnout is the antiquated approach to HR processes that some companies adopt. This can mean onboarding and offboarding takes longer, meetings drag on and be numerous, and company and team events can fall by the wayside. Some employees may feel as if they have little contact with their colleagues and their managers.

With a total rewards platform, HR processes are streamlined and organised in such a way that employees are kept up to date with everything the company does as well as keeping in contact with their closest colleagues. Onboarding and offboarding employees is no longer and arduous task thanks to newcomer checklists, training videos and work benefits, such as health and wellness contributions, available digitally. Who wouldn’t like that kind of welcome as a new employee? And with a mobile platform, employees have access 24/7 whenever and wherever they find themselves.

Alongside streamlined employee integration and benefits HR processes is access to healthcare. Through a total rewards and benefits platform, employees can book time with healthcare professionals as well as being able to fill in company driven health assessment surveys. This way, employers can keep track of how their employees are feeling. It has to be said, employee wellbeing also starts with face-to-face meetings with managers at the same time where employees can speak freely. When these streamlined HR processes and spot-check manager meetings are used simultaneously, employers can steer employees away from “the wall” before they hit it.

Original article: Digital HR tools can reduce or prevent employee burnout

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