Meetings, deadline pressures, heavy workloads, and other work-related stresses are all part of working life. But, when that healthy stress and tension that enables many of us to perform well pushes us into burnout, it becomes a serious issue. It doesn’t just affect your own performance and well-being (both on the job and off), but it can also affect your team and organisation. 

As a leader, how do you prevent churn and burn in the workplace? 

To get a better understanding of this topic, I sat down with Marija Andacic. Marija is an experienced, dynamic and trusted leader with a demonstrated history of working across the public service, health care, manufacturing, media, and not-for-profit industries.

As a leadership mentor and coach for the WA Police and Senior Executives, and a regular contributor to the WA Police leadership national and statewide conversations, Marija knows a thing or two about how to support our teams to be the best they can be.  

You can dive into our conversation below, or listen in full on the Eating your Cake too podcast HERE.

3 Tips to Prevent Churn and Burn in the Workplace 

Employee burnout presented itself as a growing issue during more ‘stable’ times, let alone during the current VUCA world we find ourselves in. Physical and emotional exhaustion, lower productivity, less recognition from managers, lack of concentration, and a decline in health are all signs of burnout at work – and employees are at risk now more than ever. Employment Hero released the findings of its 2022 Wellness at Work Report which surveyed 1,007 people across Australia on how satisfied they feel at work. Results showed that 52% of employees rate their work life balance as average or poor, and 53% feel burnt out from their work. 

Reducing churn and burn in the workplace, and further, knowing how to prevent employee burnout is vital not only for retention of staff, but for employee well-being overall.

So, how do we go about supporting our staff better? Here are 3 key tips from Marija: 

1. Consider a human-centered design approach.

Ask yourself: What would make your team’s life easier? A human-centered design approach is a concept based on not only supporting productivity, but also the comfort and well-being of employees in whatever ways that looks like for them. A one size fits all approach to wellness initiatives won’t work, especially for organisations with different working styles, locations and requirements (e.g office staff, floor staff, and frontline staff). It doesn’t even have to be a big changes a lot of the time – “some of it is really simple stuff, like fixing the squeaky chair that everybody sits on or providing some snacks and an opportunity to come together”. Even the easy, simple stuff can make a huge difference. But the critical part here is really listening to what your staff are saying. 

Because in this world of busyness, taking time out is really hard. But allowing that time and finding those little nuggets within each area that actually applies to your team is really important. But, that takes time and effort, and the results aren’t immediate. It’s a long-term game, but if you’re willing to invest that time, the results are amazing. 

2. Give permission to fail.

Accept that when trying new initiatives to support staff, that some will fail. And that is OK. Being open, honest and transparent about the efforts that are being made will help build trust and a belief from the staff that there are efforts being made to support them. Even if they aren’t always winners, the commitment is clear. Learning comes from being able to feel the pain of the failure, taking ownership of it, and being open about it. Being open with your team about this goes a really long way as well. Acknowledging their efforts help them feel like they’re seen and valued, and that goes such a long way to building trust with people and respect as well.

3. Show them that you care.

When employees feel underappreciated, they’re more likely to perform at lower levels, isolate themselves, and become burnt out. So, make sure to show your team that you care! Even small gestures like smiling at people as you see them (instead of looking down at your phone!) or checking up on how they’re doing goes a long way. Also, caring doesn’t actually mean you agree with them on everything, even just listening to their concerns is important – it’s listening to truly understand people, and the willingness to do that that matters to the most. Ask yourself the question too around “how do I know that my team know that I care”? You might know that you do, but how do they really know? 

Bonus Tip to support individuals:

For those feeling burned out, be honest and ask yourself this question: “What’s my part in this too?” At the end of the day, you are you and no one else is you. Only YOU can control yourself and how you react to situations. Once you understand that, you can look at it and go, “Why am I feeling like this?”, “What’s contributing to it?” and most importantly, “What stories am I telling myself – and how do I change them?” Start drawing awareness to the stories you tell yourself because it’s those things that are going to impact the actions that you take, the feelings that you feel, the results that you therefore get, and the cycle just keeps going around. Change also starts with you.

The Bottom Line 

In a culture and society that thrives on ‘busy-ness’, burnout is everywhere and some wear it as a badge of honour. Organisations need to consider how their current culture may contribute to burnout and then make the right and necessary changes accordingly, whilst ensuring their people have the necessary support they need to thrive. 

Is your Organisation looking for someone to come and speak to the team about careers and leadership  -  Book a free call in my calendar and let’s chat.