The stats speak for themselves: 76% of employees are experiencing exhaustion, negativity, detachment from work and reduced work performance, according to a Spring Health study. More specifically, 93% of HR leaders are concerned about employee burnout. (Indeed)

Some companies are taking drastic measures to combat burnout. LinkedIn, for example, gave its 15,900 full-time employees a paid week off to help fight burnout—collectively freeing them from emails, meetings, projects and more for a period of time.

It’s important that organizations address the problem. Employee burnout is an issue during normal times. So, it’s not surprising that its prevalence increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many companies were forced to do more with less, or employees had to shift how, when and where they worked. Maintaining that over a prolonged period is almost guaranteed to produce burnout of some sort. And while not all companies can take such large-scale steps like LinkedIn, there are many strategies to battle against employee burnout and help employees find healthy ways to cope.

Here are four ways you can combat employee burnout:

1. Talk about mental wellness—regularly.

Make mental wellness an accepted and natural part of your company culture. For example, Cummins Inc. is focused on overcoming stigma related to mental health and making sure its employees across the globe know that help is available to them and their family members. They have launched an “It’s OK” global initiative that aims to normalize the mental health struggles which we all face in life and encourages employees to take action to improve their mental wellness.

2. Equip your leadership.

Managers and leaders need to be open to discussing burnout and well-being with employees. They must understand what burnout looks like and how to help employees work through it. Perhaps, most importantly, they must model it themselves—taking breaks, setting boundaries, talking opening, etc. One Westcomm client encourages its leaders to do “wellness rounding,” checking in with employees periodically.

3. Highlight benefits and programs.

It’s likely you offer a number of benefits, programs and resources for mental health and wellness—even if they aren’t labeled as such. Make sure employees are aware of mental health benefits covered by the medical plan, as well as free resources like EAP. And remind employees about family friendly benefits like time off, flexible work schedules, childcare services, etc. All of these help employees find work-life balance and keep burnout at bay. Some companies are also beginning to introduce more holistic training for resiliency and stress management.

4. Encourage participation in wellness programs.

Our physical and mental health are linked, so one way to improve our mental wellness is to care for our physical selves too—nutrition, sleep and exercise. Offer and encourage participation in wellness programs—and all the better if you can offer incentives. Also consider offering meditation and mindfulness apps and resources.

Your employee engagement strategies are key.

Employee burnout is not a new phenomenon, but the pandemic has intensified the problem. We all want employees to function at a high level. To do that, they must be well both mentally and physically. And as HR professionals, you can help provide important strategies for improving their wellbeing before burnout takes hold.

Reach out below or at helloindy@westcomm.com, or follow us @westcomm on LinkedIn for more insights.

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