Posts Tagged ‘management training’
Yoga, wellness programs, and mindfulness will not prevent or eliminate burnout. Burnout is an organizational issue. If you want to prevent and eliminate burnout, focus on your organization, not individuals.
Burnout comes from a lack of role clarity and employees feeling like they can’t be successful at work, either because they consistently have more work than can be done in a regular work week or because they work for a manager who is a perfectionist, and nothing is ever good enough. Employees who constantly feel pressured at work or feel like they’re failing, regardless of the amount or level of work they produce, are susceptible to burnout.
Have you ever gone on vacation, had a relaxing time, and two days after you returned to your regular life, forgot all about that vacation? That’s like burnout. When the yoga class or vacation is over, you go back to your job with unrealistic expectations. Nothing has been solved.
Companies try to make employees’ experience more manageable with programs and perks, but what employees really need is a manager who clarifies roles so everyone knows who does what, helps employees manage their workload, and creates open relationships so employees feel comfortable saying when they’re overwhelmed.
Train your managers to do these three things to prevent and reduce burnout:
- Clarify roles so people know what they’re accountable for and to eliminate redundancy. It’s very frustrating to feel overwhelmed, only to find that someone else on your team or in another department is working on the same project as you.
- Manage workload and set realistic deadlines. If an employee regularly has more to do than can be done in a 40-hour work week, eliminate something – change deadlines, reallocate work, and evaluate if everything being done is necessary. If you can’t eliminate a project, evaluate if it can be scaled back. Is every bell or whistle necessary?
- Create an atmosphere of psychological safety so employees are comfortable asking for help prioritizing work. Most employees suffer in silence until they’re so overwhelmed and exhausted, they quit. Finding employees’ resumes circulating on LinkedIn is predictable and thus preventable.
- You can get employees talking by scheduling a short, weekly debrief – 10 minutes – of what’s working and not working.
- Help employees prioritize responsibilities by assigning each priority a letter – A, B, or C – in order of urgency.
- Ensure there are no consequences for sounding the alarm of needing help. Word gets around. If an employee is penalized for asking for help, other employees will learn not to do the same.
Allocate work to allow employees to be successful, focus on the projects that really matter and eliminate the rest, and create an organization in which it’s safe to tell the truth. That will solve burnout.
It’s not unusual to wait too long to give feedback. Giving feedback often feels awkward and uncomfortable. What happens if the person cries, or gives us the cold shoulder, or worse, quits?
Working virtually over the past few years has exacerbated the waiting. Many managers who were accustomed to giving feedback in person hesitated to have hard conversations over the phone or via video.
Perhaps you waited so long to give feedback, you feel like you can’t.
It’s never too late. You just need to set the expectation that you’re going to give feedback and why.
One of the keys to being (more) comfortable giving feedback is to know that most people genuinely want to know how they’re doing. Working in the dark is frustrating. Not knowing the behaviors that impact us and our opportunities is also frustrating. Working on a project for months only to find out the work we did wasn’t what the other person wanted is ultimately frustrating.
Most people genuinely want feedback. They may struggle to hear feedback, they may get defensive, they may not take responsibility, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to know.
If you want to give feedback but feel like you waited too long, say so. The conversation could sound like this:
Manager to direct report: “I realized that I haven’t been giving you enough feedback. I’d like to start doing a semi-monthly debrief, not because anything is wrong or has changed. I want you to learn and grow as a result of working with me, and you won’t if I’m not providing regular feedback”
Peer to peer: “I need to talk with you about something and I’ve realized that I’ve waited too long. As a result, I’m feeling awkward and hesitant. Is it ok if I speak freely?”
Talking with someone more senior than yourself: “I want to talk with you about something I’ve been seeing for a while. I should have said something sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t. Can I talk with you about it now?”
It’s ok if you waited too long. It’s ok not to say things perfectly. Authenticity goes a long way. Be real. If you’re nervous, say so. If you’re wondering if it’s ok to speak up, say so. If you waited too long, say so. Relationships are built on trust, and authenticity builds trust. The time to start is now.
“I don’t like my boss and my career is going nowhere in this organization, but we get free lunch and the office has a game room, so I think I’ll stay,” said no employee ever.
Employees enjoy free lunch and ping pong, but these perks don’t improve retention or performance. The only perks known to improve employee loyalty and commitment is time off, a flexible schedule, and the ability to work from home. Everything else is nice to have, but does not impact career decisions.
We’ve all heard about the great workplace exodus. Employees are leaving jobs in droves for a different life. To retain employees, a job has to work for employees’ desired lifestyle – the number of hours employees want to work, the amount of commuting and travel they want to do, and the social aspects that get met at work. Once those basic needs are met, leaders and managers can focus on other things.
Organizational leaders and managers have been led down a path of expensive distractions disguised as employee retention strategies. Eliminate the noise and focus on the four things that really matter to employees. And provided you meet your employees’ lifestyle needs, your best people will stay.
After lifestyle needs, this is what’s important to your employees:
- I trust the leaders who run this organization.
- My opinion means something. I am listened to.
- I feel respected (by my manager) and have good relationships in the organization.
- My work is challenging and interesting.
So what should you do if you want to be a best place to work?
Here are Four Employee Retention Strategies Managers Can Take:
1. Meet one-on-one with employees and have meaningful discussions about performance and career goals.
2. Ask employees for their opinion and demonstrate that you’ve heard them.
3. Provide opportunities for employees to do work they enjoy.
4. Ensure employees who want to advance in your organization are learning and growing.
Read about our Be a Great Place to Work leadership training program that eliminates the noise and teaches the things leaders and managers really need to do to retain the best employees.