Signs of Team Member Burnout and Avoiding “Burn and Churn” - Jay Millen
This past year that has been significant buzz and discussion about the “Great Resignation”, challenges engaging the millennial workforce and the lack of available talent at any level in almost every industry. Before jumping into those issues let’s first review where we really are in the US, Canadian, and Global economies from a perspective of indicator data.
First while we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in our modern economic history at consistently under 4%, we also have the absolute lowest workforce participation rate form age 18–65 that we have had since tracking that data in the low 60 percentiles hovering between 62–64% . In blunt terms that means that more than 1 out of 3 working age “adults” are choosing not to work or have given up trying to find work that is meaningful for them. That’s a pretty chilling statistic and anecdotically it means the trade offs aren’t worth it in the current environment.
Our job as leaders is to make sure our team member don’t join those ranks in these challenging times. So What Do We Do Now ? You may already be doing a lot of this yourself, but don’t take for granted that your leader team is doing the same and be intentional with them about making sure it is becoming ingrained in their interaction with team members.
1.Say Thank You — and Mean It. If there is something specific to mention point it out, of not thanks for a hard day’s work, or a hanging in their during a tough week. Be sincere and authentic, the frequency depends on your level of interaction but make it a point to do this more often than not.
2. Recognize “above and beyond performance” — caution don’t play favorites or conversely use a random number generator solution. Again needs to be authentic and specific. Feedback from a customer, a fellow team member, or a noteworthy accomplishment in safety, customer service, or productivity as examples. This doesn’t need to be widely broadcast and, although it can be, and don’t make it a best of the week or month “competition. Anyone and everyone who does something above and beyond can be recognized. Give out Starbucks gift cards, a pass to the movies, or something similar that is a small economic reward but says you care and notice as leaders in the business.
3.Have small group lunches or coffees (virtual if need be and send takeout or coffee cards) — 30–45 minutes with 4–8 team members as a general “check in” — how are you doing, what’s the biggest challenge your facing right now, how can we help, that thread of conversation.
4.Create a “buddy” system — don’t force it but try to develop it organically. Scuba divers always have a swim buddy to go through the under- water challenge together, and its not a bad model to follow although hopefully none of us will have trouble breathing or be stuck under water. That said it may feel that way to some of your team members. For more on that go to linked in for a detailed discussion document on setting up a buddy system. These are just a few ideas to keep your teams engaged, keep a pulse on how team members are doing, and create a window to proactively address some of those stress and strain issues. Sure it’s some additional work, but really minimal compared to having to stand up new teams in the middle of this mess.
Let me know your thoughts.
Jay Millen - Talent Steward & Value Creator
Managing Partner Board and CEO Practice at The Caldwell Partners
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