No company can claim success if its employees are unhappy, overworked, or underappreciated. In fact, there’s a direct line between a highly engaged workplace and profits. A recent Temkin Group study found that:
- 77% of employees in companies that post higher earnings than their peers report that they’re highly or moderately engaged
We know that motivated employees make the difference. But how do you sustain their level of commitment when cutbacks in resources and staffing can lead to overwhelming workloads?
Thomas Britt, an industrial-organizational psychology professor, warns that even the most engaged employees can succumb to low morale and reduced job satisfaction when they’re burnt out by too much work. And unfortunately, many of us are feeling the strain. In a Cornerstone OnDemand survey:
- 68% of U.S. full-time employees said they’re suffering from work overload
Highly engaged employees are the ones who will step up to get the job done, but the risk of burnout could mean you’re losing one of your most valuable assets and profits.
Here are four things you can immediately do to support motivated employees when the going gets tough.
Value Their Work
Employees want to be recognized for what they do well — and they are more productive when they feel valued. This is especially true for millennials, who place high value on recognition yet rarely experience it at work. Our Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture Report found that only 21% of employees report feeling extremely valued at work, meaning there’s a real gap here to be closed.
If there’s no formal recognition program in your organization, start one. But don’t wait for the big company-wide meeting to start highlighting achievements. Small teams can build in time for recognition into their weekly routine, whether it’s a specific callout during a group huddle or a fun activity for a job well done.
Assess the Overload
If you’re a team manager, survey your employees to weed out those frustration points in their workload — and do it regularly. They can tell you what’s working, what isn’t, and whether they need additional resources.
Don’t forget to follow through on their feedback. If employees think you’re only paying lip service to their concerns, they’re less likely to be honest with you the next time around or seek your support when they need it.
Being honest and open has never been more important. Share information across the organization about the company, from its mission statement to its financials, and give employees the big picture without a lot of corporate varnish.
This is especially important when increased workload demands aren’t temporary. Nothing turns off an employee faster than a promise that the frenetic pace is “temporary,” when in reality it may be a permanent situation.
Respect Work-Life Balance
In our ever-connected digital world, employees are tethered to their mobile devices day and night. They’re putting in longer hours both at work and at home, blurring the lines between the two.
Even paid time off is victim to this growing lack of work-life balance, with 46% of employees reporting that they respond to emails while taking PTO.
Help your employees unplug by setting “free zones” during the day when employees don’t have to respond to emails or phone calls. Make a distinction between urgent business that requires their attention and matters that can wait until they’re back in the office.
When you recognize, support, inform, and respect your most dedicated employees during the tough times, your company will not only retain them but reap the rewards of healthy employee engagement.
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