Tri-partite effort can help fight burnout

Tri-partite effort can help fight burnout

Summary: A company's human resources function, management and the individual all have a role to prevent employees from "falling off the edge of the cliff".

TOPICS: IT Employment, CXO

Your emotional tolerance diminishes and you get angry quickly. You become easily discouraged and your productivity slows. These could be signs that you are burning out at work.

But while it may sometimes be obvious when people are going through a burnout, the indicators may not always be so apparent. There are occasions when the employee may appear to be performing well and signs that his motivation is dwindling are not visible, said Charles Caldwell, Asia-Pacific human resource (HR) director, Citrix Systems.

"Managers can't assume their employees are A-OK," Caldwell said. "They have to get proactive about watching them and making sure they're being retained."

And even when the indicators seem obvious, a manager's radar may still miss the warning signs because he may be distracted by other work, he said.

Symptoms that an employee may be in The Danger Zone?

  • Tardiness and/or absenteeism
  • Work ethic suddenly illustrates a "work to rule" pattern
  • Unexplained cleaning out of desk/office (often gradual to avoid being noticed)
  • Insubordination or pushing back against the manager in a careless fashion
  • Shows decline in initiative and/or productivity
  • Has fewer good ideas than usual
  • Less cooperative and/or unusual or destructive cynicism
  • Suddenly becomes more introverted
  • Catches up on outstanding expense reports and stays current
  • Shows signs of what HR calls "The Medical Checklist"--last minute rush for benefits
  • Wearing formal business attire at work for no apparent reason
  • Unusual requests to work from home; increase in private mobile calls

    To prevent burnout, every party involved--the employee, manager and HR--has to be 100 percent responsible.

    However, a worker may be anxious that highlighting a potential burnout to his superior is tantamount to admitting he is not up to mark.

    Caldwell acknowledged that this could be an issue. "That's definitely a concern, especially in Asia where you have a lot of the cultural influences that might be more pronounced than in other places.

    "But the message [Citrix] continually tells employees is, if they're in danger of burnout, we would much rather they talk to us about it and have us help them, rather than have them fall off the edge of the cliff," he said. Caldwell is responsible for overall management of HR functions across the Asia-Pacific for Citrix, an application delivery infrastructure provider.

    "It's not just because they're a valued resource for the organization, it's also because they're human beings," he said. "We don't want them to become unwell to the point it hurts their career or hurts them personally."

    Another area where an organization can help its employees is in training and nurturing.

    According to Caldwell, research continues to show that one of the best ways for an organization to nurture talent is by increasing an employee's business acumen. This, he said, is just as important for technology practitioners as any other professional.

    "This is particularly so if people want to move up to senior roles because as you move up in your career, you need to [understand] the business case. If you can't…you're unable to progress. The best way to make that link is to increase business acumen," said Caldwell.

    Topics: IT Employment, CXO

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