{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I just had an employee tell me they are on the verge of quitting due to burnout- actually going to quit but was told to talk to HR for options (we don't have any in place). The manager wants to keep them as they are one of our best employees.\n\nAny recommendations on how to help alleviate burnout when the cause is from customers rather than the company? Is it worth it to let the employee leave and spend months looking for a replacement causing more stress/burnout with others?\n", "post_id": "61424f4f8dccee002371aa65", "reply_count": 10, "vote_count": 1, "bowl_id": "5682e6afd55b9e0f00fce669", "bowl_name": "Human Resources" }

I just had an employee tell me they are on the verge of quitting due to burnout- actually going to quit but was told to talk to HR for options (we don't have any in place). The manager wants to keep them as they are one of our best employees. Any recommendations on how to help alleviate burnout when the cause is from customers rather than the company? Is it worth it to let the employee leave and spend months looking for a replacement causing more stress/burnout with others?

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Burnout isn’t effectively handled with time off or more perks. There are a variety of factors that lead up to burnout. Sometimes it’s a lack of meaning or value alignment. Other times it may be a lack of meaningful relationships, feeling valued, or a lack of boundaries. I suggest a trained, executive coach or a coach that specializes in burnout. It’s expensive to recruit and train a new employee. It’s much cheaper to invest in their continued success.

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Do you think a coach would be as effective if it was done virtually? The employee works in a smaller town.

I’m also wondering if they feel burned out because of the workload - is their department staffed properly? May be helpful to ask what they think is causing it. I actually resigned from my job recently for that reason. Because of covid, we had layoffs and lost one employee in our HR team, which added more work to our plate since we didn’t replace him during all of 2020. I talked to my boss (Sr HR Dir) many times as I was feeling mentally exhausted from all the work (on top of navigating through covid issues which were so new to everyone). But they supposedly weren’t going to replace him bc it wasn’t the time or they didn’t have enough budget or the leadership team didn’t believe it was necessary (whatever the reason was). After months of feeling drained and burned out, and our department being understaffed for so long, I felt so discouraged I ended up leaving (without a job lined up). I was trying to look for a job at the same time but with work, it was impossible. It’s good news that employee opened up bc they’re giving you a chance to work with them and see how you can help them. Good luck!

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Encourage them to take a vacation to recharge.

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I find that burnout is very rarely due to not taking enough time off. Burnout usually has to do with depletion of mental or physical resources, social connectedness, or value of oneself. If the burnout is caused by customers then my suggestion is to look at the job setup. Are others burning out? Determine if it's that individual or the role or the type of job. What can you change? Perhaps spreading the 'problem customers' out between a few colleagues?

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I'm sure most of our salespeople are having similar issues (see post below) but I guess they are able to deal with it better

Ask the employee to take 3 weeks off to rest and not think about work during the first 2. Ask him during the 3rd one to think of the 3 top reasons he is feeling that way in his role and his 3 realistic suggestions on what would ameliorate the burden. Ask his Direct Manager and his Manager to think on the same lines. Use this feedback to explore options. In short - care, discuss and ask for help.

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I would offer support and suggest they take some holiday to rest and then work with their Manager to see how the issues causing burnout (with the customers) can be alleviated. If it looks like a long term issue perhaps offering reduced hours or a wellness benefit may help?

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Being in a public facing role myself, I understand how this can be exhausting. I think it’s important to note that the employee said they were burnt out and not done. Given the value this employee seems to bring to the organization it will likely be more costly to replace them (especially given the talent shortage. ) Reinforce how valued they are and ask them what they need to overcome burn out. If it’s time, you are still ahead of the game.

The employee is in sales so his pay is mostly based on commission. He still makes enough money to support himself (he said that isn't an issue) but our industry (basically resale) is struggling. The manufacturers don't have the materials to make products so our company has low supply and in turn, when customers want to buy things we don't have enough for them or there are long wait times to get them. All of our salespeople are currently dealing with this problem and hiring more people won't help because the issue is mostly out of the company's hand. I talked to the employee a little bit about what we could do as a company and they brought up the idea of working from home half of the day but personally, I don't see how changing where you work will help alleviate the stress from customers - especially when you lose the distinction of a work environment and home/relax environment. I also know if the employee takes off their customers will have to go to another salesperson (loss of commission) or just have to wait until they get back (extra work when they return). We have tried doing part-time with another salesperson before but since they have assigned customers and they need you when they need you.

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