Discover more from ROC - Rehab Owners Community
Rehab Center Owners and Management Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout
What is employee burnout, how can managers help prevent burnout - and why should they care?
Most managers deal with burnout – both their own and their employees – with some degree of frequency. Burnout, which generally refers to feelings of chronic stress at work and a resulting decrease in performance, can occur in any profession or position (even management). However, there are certain professions with greater likelihood for burnout, including EMTs, mental health professionals and drug and alcohol counselors among others.
While employee burnout is usually the result of a combination of overwork and not enough appreciation, jobs that make greater emotional demands on employees may increase their sense of burnout. Working to help addicts recover in the face of a daunting drug abuse and overdose epidemic is certainly one of the more emotionally-charged fields, placing rehab owners and managers in a unique and important role of supporting their employees (and themselves) in overcoming or preventing professional burnout.
Why should managers care about employee burnout?
After all, an employee’s mental health and personal satisfaction are their own issue, right? Wrong! Managing employee burnout has benefits above and beyond helping individuals feel more satisfied and appreciated in their jobs. Employee burnout can have a huge negative impact on the productivity and efficacy of their work, as well as the bottom line for the company. Managers should care about employee burnout to help:
Reduce employee turnover rate
Maintain or improve levels of production
Foster high-quality work
Encourage a work environment that prioritizes the health and happiness of employees
Create a positive work experience
What are the symptoms of employee burnout?
By the time employee burnout results in demonstrable changes in work performance that a manager would notice, the employee is probably feeling (and possibly demonstrating) other signs much earlier. Symptoms of burnout include:
Negative feelings about work
Mental disconnect from tasks
Lack of enthusiasm for work that was once rewarding
Decrease in work quality
Sleeping too much or not enough
Irritability, short temper and increased reactivity to stressors
Continuous feelings of stress
How can managers prevent employee burnout?
One of the great things about making a goal to prevent employee burnout is that you can – and should – include yourself in your efforts. Rehab center owners and managers are not immune to burnout. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Everything a rehab center owner or manager does to combat professional burnout should start first with themself.
Raise awareness about burnout, what causes it and how it can manifest.
Encourage honest discussion about burnout, reducing stigma and judgement and letting employees know they can speak confidentially with their manager or HR director about problems with burnout.
Assess workload and expectations. Make sure managers and employees both have realistic expectations of what they can do. If necessary, redistribute tasks to achieve more balance between employees and, at times, to temporarily lighten workloads when employees are particularly susceptible to burnout (when facing major medical or personal life challenges).
Encourage employees to take time off and establish feasible boundaries between personal and professional life. While most professionals are guilty of checking their email at home, nobody should be “on-duty” all the time. You can help by leading by example.
Empower employees. Let employees know their insight and even their constructive criticism are welcome. Let them know you value their input, will consider their suggestions and that they have power in their workplace.
Show appreciation. Parties, donut day and employee reward programs are all fun ways to show appreciation and improve workplace morale. Activities that foster mutual support and light-heartedness are also ways to combat burnout and workplace stress. And don’t underestimate the impact of complimenting a job well done or publicly acknowledging an employee’s contributions.