Using Meaningful Employee Recognition to Prevent Burnout in the Workplace

Golden Arch Glass Award

The face of the workforce has changed over the last couple of years, mostly due to the pandemic. Many businesses transitioned at least part of their workforce into remote positions. But in 2021, there were still high rates of employee burnout. Now that your business is facing a new year, it’s time to get serious about preventing burnout, instead of reacting to it.  Let’s take a look at burnout, how it happens, and how meaningful employee recognition can help your employees stay healthy, engaged, and fulfilled in the workplace.

What is employee burnout?

According to Stanford Business School, burnout is defined as an uneasy relationship between people and their work. It can be thought of as relationship problems between people. Burnout doesn’t necessarily mean there is an impending mental breakdown. It’s more like an employee who becomes tired, sleep-deprived, and in need of a long vacation. Over time, though, burnout begins to build and develop symptoms that go far beyond just pure exhaustion. Other serious symptoms of workplace burnout include:

  • Irritability, sadness, or anger
  • Loss of concentration
  • Drop in productivity
  • Cynicism
  • Onset of sudden physical problems like headaches or GI problems

The next logical question is what causes employee burnout? There can be a lot of different causes, but most typically fit into at least one these six categories:

  • Too heavy of a workload
  • Control (micromanagement, accountability without power)
  • Lack of recognition, not enough pay, no satisfaction
  • Lack of community (isolation, disrespect, conflict)
  • Fairness (favoritism or discrimination)
  • Lack of clear values (meaningless tasks, ethical conflict)

Preventing Burnout with Meaningful Employee Recognition

It’s important that leadership identifies which of the six categories employees seem to be struggling with the most. This will require purposeful dialogues with employees. Once you can identify the highest risk areas for your employees, then you can introduce initiatives that help prevent burnout. Meaningful employee recognition is useful for helping to address most of these causes of burnout.

Meaningful Employee Recognition Offers More Opportunity for Rewards

The desire for recognition and even reward sometimes is universal. When companies fail to provide recognition in timely and practical ways, it is demotivating. Think about an employee who pours their energy, heart, and soul into a huge project. They may go above and beyond to make sure it’s successful. If they do not get so much as a “thank you” from their manager or supervisor, it can be de-energizing. When there is no recognition, employees are more likely to suffer from burnout. When there isn’t a strategy for company-wide recognition, burnout may be inevitable for many employees. Your employees need to feel valued, seen, and heard.

Employee Recognition Program

Build Community with a Culture of Recognition

Due to the pandemic, we all understand a little more about how people find strength in the community. By creating a connected workplace, employees will feel better supported and sustained as they work through these uncertain times. Recognition is a powerful way to create a community in your company or organization. Employees who are celebrated and encouraged to celebrate each other for achievements and efforts, are more likely to feel valued and seen. Having different types of recognition can help foster this kind of community feeling.

Build Successful Recognition on Fairness

Creating a fair way to celebrate your workers is essential for a successful and meaningful recognition program. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to be rewarded and recognized. Discrimination and failing to see employees’ hard work can be detrimental as well as demotivating. The work environment may suddenly become a place where resentment is cultivated. Use an inclusive recognition program that ensures everyone has the same chance of being recognized no matter what their role, background, team, or seniority.

Use Recognition to Encourage Company Values

Employees are most productive when they feel connected to the values and mission of the company. When they do not have this alignment, their work may feel meaningless and lead to feelings of burnout. Using company values awards may be helpful. Design awards that highlight what your company stands for and you’ll encourage team members to feel like integral parts of your company.

Getting Ahead of Employee Burnout in 2022

Shifting away from current views of employee burnout can help reduce reactive responses. Instead, move toward a model that uses employee recognition to shape your company’s culture, policies, and processes.

Let Suburban Custom Awards Help!

At Suburban Custom Awards, we understand meaningful employee recognition. Use it proactively as a powerful tool to help prevent burnout. It’s time to start planning recognition programs for 2022! Let Suburban Custom Awards help you create stellar customized awards for your recognition program. High-quality, personalized awards can help inspire employees to strive for excellence! Let us help you create outstanding awards to honor your star employees.