No matter how you label it “burnout" or “stress”, it all has an affect on the most important aspect of any business – customer service. Increased workloads and dwindling staff have amounted to a customer service nightmare for many businesses trying to retain customers to meet demands in service. Not only do front line employees suffer from burnout, but supervisors also struggle trying to maintain morale and increase productivity. The result is a workforce that is stretched beyond their capability to perform effectively and provide excellent customer service.
Here are 5 ways to proactively deal with burnout:
1. Divide up the large projects. Large projects during a busy season can take its toll, even on the most productive employees. Divide up the larger projects into manageable sections with concrete milestones. Celebrate each milestone.
2. Ask. Sound simple? It is. Supervisors can sometimes over complicate a simple task. They create surveys and put together focus groups trying to identify the problem. How about walking up to an employee and asking? Most employees would be more than happy to tell you what motivates them. Also find out what has motivated them in the past and why it’s no longer a motivation. If they are unable to come up with the particulars, ask them to let you know the next time they are happy (or sad) about a particular situation or task. You will eventually start to see a pattern that will help you to make the connection and find a solution.
3. Give them something new to learn. Regular everyday tasks can quickly become boring and monotonous. Learning new skills will give people a break from the monotony of their everyday tasks. If possible, have them learn a task that is outside of their normal area of responsibility, thereby giving them an overview of the entire company.
4. Let the employees become the teachers. If there are experienced and knowledgeable employees, give them the opportunity to train others. Allow them to pass along their skills to new hires or even each other.
5. Share the vision. No one likes to work in a vacuum. Share the company’s vision with employees. Let them know how their work fits into that vision. Understanding the importance of their role within the organization helps employees to feel a sense of responsibility, not only to their job but the company as well. This renewed sense of purpose can help to alleviate burnout.
Burnout and stress are two important factors that not only affect employees, but also have far reaching effects on the type of customer service that they are able to provide. By proactively planning to decrease these negative factors, employers can increase productivity and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.