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    How Can Your Business Avoid Burnout During the Great Resignation Era?

    COVID-19 and the ensuing Great Resignation upended work in the modern world. These issues have brought to light the value of mental and physical health more than ever. Moreover, the U.S. workforce has progressed toward a paradigm shift over the last several years. These days, work-life balance and mental health are the topics of virtually every conversation about employment. With these new attitudes and remote work upon us, many employers struggle to adjust their behavior and management styles. Managers are trying to find a new balance between productivity, managing their staff, and providing adequate support.

    The global workforce was shaken by the Great Resignation of 2021, in which over 47 million Americans alone quit their jobs. Similarly, shocking numbers joined in around the world. Yet, this seismic shift wasn't simply a reshuffle of priorities – the core conversation is still ongoing. In fact, with a record 4.5 million Americans quitting in March 2022, it would seem that the discourse around the Great Resignation isn't slowing down now that we're entering the new normal.

    What's Causing the Resurgence of the Great Resignation?

    Inspired by the global health crisis, during which humanity was forced to confront its true priorities, workers today value their mental health and a solid work-life balance more than ever. A report by Gallup workplace studies shows, "Work-life balance and well-being have increased in importance notably since 2015, with 53% of employees citing them as 'very important' compared with 61% of today's workforce."

    Many other Gallup workplace studies from the past year highlight how burned out, overwhelmed, and stressed out the workforce is at large. Even for workers who aren't experiencing burnout, the significant increase in remote work has raised awareness about the value of job flexibility options. Employers should consider whether their business is doing all it can to attract and retain key talent. Have you started asking yourself what you can improve as an employer to compete in this new market? If not, now is a great time to start exploring these questions.

    What Kind of Workplace Culture Are Employees Looking for Today?

    While pay and health benefits are still the most influential factors, jobseekers are reprioritizing culture and management. The age of toxic management practices like shouting abuse, punishing underperformers, or micromanaging is long gone.

    Employees want to feel valued, validated and trusted—the flexible options presented during the pandemic are now a consistent new will of the workforce. Employers who empower their teams with respect, flexibility, and new standard practices like the right to disconnect will help employees perform at their best.

    Help Colleagues Access Mental Health and Wellness Resources

    While it's undoubtedly a positive change that the dialogue surrounding mental health has increased in progressive workplaces, many employees are still too ashamed, too proud, or don't know who or how to ask for help.

    Difficult personal circumstances, financial worries, grief, or performance anxiety can cause employees to deliver subpar work. Instead of jumping to conclusions and putting them on a performance improvement plan, it can be beneficial for management to dig deeper and identify the root cause. Perhaps a team member is struggling with a death of a loved one or a financial burden. If they need outside help, you can refer them to support with the compassion they need to get through whatever they are struggling with – and your relationship with this employee will be strengthened through respect, ultimately leading to increased productivity and morale.

    Encourage Autonomy in Your Workplace Culture

    Micromanaging affects employee productivity and development and undermines your authority as a manager. Offering trust and autonomy will empower your employees to do their best work. When employees are free to do what they are good at, they will feel more productive and accomplished. Fostering a culture of coaching and development over punishment and reprisal will be better for all parties, particularly in the long-term, as your company will develop a reputation internally and externally that will help you attract and retain the best team members.

    Employees value opportunities to prove themselves and be relied on with key projects. Therefore, select high performers or colleagues with strong potential to be project leaders and allow them the freedom to learn from their mistakes and perfect their success strategies while letting them know your door is open when they have questions or want to learn more.

    Celebrate Milestones and Successes – for Both Family and Work

    While every employee has a right to privacy, it's only natural that aspects of their personal lives intersect with their work. This is often a fantastic opportunity to learn who has a partner, a family, or a personal aspiration and how the wider work team can support them.

    When celebrating the good things in life, don't let your team focus solely on significant sales figures or professional accomplishments. Instead, commemorate staff promotions, ensure new hires receive big welcomes and celebrate your team's personal milestones like wedding anniversaries or the birth of a new child.

    Similarly, encourage a workplace culture where family and work are equally important – employees will feel valued and give their all to the next big push when you need them most.

    Honor Mental Health with Wellness Day Rewards

    Employees hate having to juggle PTO requests and bureaucracy of that kind. A more supportive approach to colleagues' mental health when signs of stress or anxiety begin to show is to foster a positive culture by providing wellness days off, or WTO, to your staff.

    Wellness time off is different from traditional PTO, accompanied by no expectations and no big forms to sign; just a simple handshake and a recommendation that your teammate logs off rests up, and put themselves first.

    This may sound indulgent – but would you rather lose a day of your colleague's productivity for them to rest and recuperate or lose a financial quarter to less-than-stellar performance because they powered through it with fractured nerves?

    Companies that put their people first by rethinking their organizational and workplace structures with empathy, compassion, and humanity will deliver long-term resilience, loyalty, and a happy culture that will bring success now and in the future.  

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