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Tackling Burnout: Supporting Staff to Thrive


As organisations, and in particular, charities, continue to be tested by mounting demands and shrinking resources, HR professionals and senior leaders have an important role to play in helping their people to thrive in a difficult environment, and in doing so, overcome Burnout.


With April being Stress Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to explore ways to prevent and address burnout in your organisation.



What is Burnout?

Burnout can be described as a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion - the result of chronic exposure to stress - which can lead to reduced productivity and effectiveness, as well as feelings of exhaustion and negativity. It is not always, or solely linked to work, but this is often the case.

One of the top 10 trends for the 2023 workplace (Forbes, Jan 2023) includes ‘HR burnout’, as research shows that more than 40% of teams have struggled with burnout and HR had one of the highest turnover rates last year.

Recent research shows that more than 40% of teams have struggled with burnout, with HR experiencing one of the highest turnover rates. Common triggers include workload, lack of control, inadequate feedback, and insufficient support.


Preventing Burnout: Strategies for Employees


Put your own oxygen mask on first.


In order to support your team and be there for everyone around you, you need to start with yourself. Here are some practical suggestions to help you prevent and manage your own wellbeing, when signs of burnout begin to show:

  1. Get support: Reach out to friends, colleagues, or a coach for guidance when feeling overwhelmed.

  2. Be realistic: Break tasks into manageable steps and agree on achievable deadlines. Ask for help when needed.

  3. Get outside: Take regular walk breaks to refresh your mind and avoid overworking.

  4. Set boundaries: Separate work and personal time, making room for hobbies, exercise, and social connections.

  5. Learn to say no: Decline additional responsibilities or commitments when they are not manageable.

  6. Practice mindfulness: Incorporate meditation or deep breathing exercises into your routine.

  7. Prioritise rest, hydrate, and eat: Ensure you get enough rest, water, and nourishing food to help you recharge and keep your body healthy.

Whilst a walk or 10-minute meditation session won't prevent or cure burnout, consistently applying these strategies can help you to be in a better state of mind, enabling you to navigate through difficulty with more focus, and prevent you from spiraling into burnout.


Supporting a Healthy Workplace: Tips for Managers


We often don't recognise the signs of burnout within ourselves, which is why it's crucial for leaders to be proactive in spotting the signs and providing support. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Clarify expectations: Ensure employees understand their roles, responsibilities, objectives, and timescales to avoid ambiguity and confusion.

  2. Promote balance: Set realistic expectations for workload, encourage regular breaks and time off, and lead by example.

  3. Embrace flexible working: Support hybrid and flexible working arrangements as much as possible, remembering that 'one size doesn't fit all'.

  4. Encourage open communication: Create meaningful opportunities for peer recognition, teamwork, and collaboration as often as you can.

  5. Check-in regularly: Frequent one-on-one meetings and wellbeing check-ins with employees, providing appropriate support as needed.

  6. Share resources: Inform employees about available support, such as employee assistance programmes (EAPs), external resources, local charities or community groups.

  7. Champion volunteering: Consider putting in place a staff volunteering policy that enables employees to boost their mood and wellbeing by giving back to the community.

By implementing these strategies, values-driven organisations can help to prevent burnout and support employees during challenging times. With a focus on employee wellbeing and a supportive work environment, your team can continue to thrive and make a meaningful impact.

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