For a long time, burnout was a term people referred to in conjunction with varying levels of stress. Now, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated their own definition of the term in the International Classification of Diseases diagnostic manual. As an employer, preventing burnout should become a top priority in order to improve employee engagement, retention, and health.One Gallup study in 2018 found that up to 23 percent of employees report feeling stressed out about work all the time. With burnout increasingly recognized as an issue in workplaces all over the world, this prompts the question, “Can eLearning reduce burnout?”
What’s unique about WHO’s definition of the term burnout is that it is now workplace-specific. The updated definition reflects three key symptoms that, over time, develop into chronic and unmanaged workplace stress. Those symptoms are:
- Reduced professional productivity
- Negative or distanced feelings from the employee’s career
- Exhaustion or very low energy
Recognizing Burnout in the Workplace
In addition to creating a collegial and respectful community where employees feel safe, some experts now believe that employers should play a proactive role in preventing burnout and in addressing it when an employee or team appears to be suffering.
Employers know that employees with reduced stress tend to perform better, interact with their colleagues more effectively, and approach work with a great attitude. Knowing what causes burnout and implementing steps to curb its influence on your teams and employees are the first steps for employers and managers to take the appropriate action.
An easy place to begin is looking at who hasn’t used their vacation days and paid time off. One Deloitte study found that only one in four workers had even exercised the time off provided to them as a benefit. Burnout is also most likely to happen when employees:
- Don’t feel recognized for their work
- Expect too much of themselves
- Feel that they’re being held to an impossible standard by a supervisor
- Feel incompetent or poorly trained
- Are in a position that doesn't suit their personality or skillset
- Struggle to meet unreasonable demands or deadlines
Burnout is chronic in nature, but it’s a condition that the employee might not notice due to the gradual development of symptoms. Management and company leaders can take a frontline role in recognizing some of the early signs of burnout and supporting employees directly.
Some of the most common signs of burnout in employees include increased errors, fatigue, decreased motivation, frustration, headaches, and more hours logged working with less work completed during that time. A savvy manager should be prepared to use all tools at their disposal to prevent burnout, and eLearning is one unique approach to supporting workers today.
How eLearning Supports a Healthy, Happy Workplace
A manager and leader’s role is not only about recognizing burnout after it’s already happened. Companies that have the best chance of attracting and keeping top talent in their workforce will promote benefits, courses, and skills trainings that are most relevant for their industry and their employees - and that’s where preventive tools like eLearning can help reduce burnout levels.
Knowing some of the common triggers for workplace burnout enables leadership and training curators to provide access to content that assists with stress reduction, mental health at the workplace, and even time management best practices.
eLearning has become an increasingly important tool for helping employees pick up new skills, grow as people and within the company, and feel valued as team members so that the chances of them experiencing burnout are much lower.
4 Ways to Leverage eLearning Courses in Your Office to Reduce Burnout
There are several different ways that eLearning can serve your employees now and in the future. It can be used to:
- Review and share access to helpful resources, like employee wellness programs, that workers might feel uncomfortable asking about directly.
- Schedule regular competency check-ins to identify employees who need further assistance with their role and individual tasks. Use this as an opportunity to assess the workload for those who feel pressured to work beyond business hours and to help them identify individual strategies.
- Design content tailored specifically for stress and time management, giving employees access to resources they can review and implement at their own pace. This allows them to internalize what they’ve learned in a way that makes sense for their personality and role in the company.
- Give employees something to celebrate. Upon completion of key milestones defined by the company, leadership can reinforce their appreciation of hard work and new skills obtained.
Take the big-picture approach when it comes to burnout and make resources and support available across the board. From recognizing burnout as an issue to maximizing eLearning content to proactively arm your teams against it, you can help to curb the rising healthcare costs and problems with employee retention tied to burnout.
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