Guest blog from Terkel.io
From installing a peer support structure to empowering your team, here are 16 answers to the question, “Can you share your best tips to help keep new team members on the verge of burnout engaged?”
- Provide a Peer Support Structure
- Customize a Growth Blueprint
- Add More Team Bonding Days
- Check-In Frequently With Positive Reinforcement
- Provide Mental Health Support
- Offer Support and Mentorship
- Be Transparent
- Grant Opportunities for Competence Development
- Give Your Team Autonomy
- Ease Them into Their Role
- Use Milestones and Feedback
- Plan a Realistic Timeline
- Include Employees in the Decision-Making Process
- Stop Talking, Start Listening
- Encourage Employees to Take Mental Health Days
- Empower New Hires and Make Them Feel Valued
Provide a Peer Support Structure
New-hire burnout is a common issue that can quickly derail motivation and productivity on the job. To help keep new team members engaged, it’s important to provide support structures that allow them to establish stable working relationships with peers and supervisors, such as regular check-ins and feedback sessions.
An uncommon approach to keeping new hires energized is scheduling group activities; this should include fun but challenging outings that foster team bonding and contribute towards meaningful conversations about their experiences on the job. Scheduling these games or trips in rotation helps ensure everyone is getting involved and creating deeper connections with one another.
Customize a Growth Blueprint
With new team members, one reason for burnout could be the lack of knowledge of how the efforts they are putting in today will influence their future. When people do not know why they are doing what they are, they lack motivation and feel uninspired, leading to lethargy, exhaustion, and eventually burnout.
On the other hand, when they realize that every effort they put in today is connected to growth and rewards, they can work more effectively without being bogged down by everyday challenges. And the best way to set these goals for new employees to achieve a positive mindset is to prepare customized growth blueprints that show them exactly what they will accomplish through their efforts.
Add More Team Bonding Days
We probably do more team-bonding days than anyone else. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but I’ve definitely made it a point of emphasis in the last few years, and for good reason.
One thing I have discovered is that if you can do a team-bonding day every other month, employees are much more likely to stay engaged and not get burned out. When I did our first team-bonding day a few years ago, I noticed that in the months following the event; we had no one leave the company and morale got an enormous boost.
It could have been a coincidence, but when I planned a second team-bonding day the following year, the same happened. So I started experimenting with multiple team-bonding days throughout the year, and our attrition rate, particularly among new hires, dropped dramatically.
Team-bonding days give new hires a chance to integrate into the team, and the more involved they feel and the better the relationship they have with coworkers, the less likely they will be to burn out and leave.
Check-In Frequently With Positive Reinforcement
When you hire new team members, it’s critical that you keep them feeling positive about their new role. Have frequent check-ins with them to talk about progress, expectations, and challenges.
Let them know you expect aspects of their job to be challenging and that you encourage openness in order to help them get past the initial hurdles. When they do share problems they face, get them the help they need to move forward. Be positive, and paint a picture of the future for them, of when they’ve acclimated to the new position and fully integrated and organized.
Provide Mental Health Support
So many companies often highlight the importance of mental health in relation to work, but many do not actively encourage taking time away from work, or stress how important it is to recognize any creeping signs of burnout from the outset
It’s crucial that employers provide training and support to both recognize and address burnout in the workplace, starting with avoidance and having the procedures in place as a company to ensure that burnout via working hours and contact procedures outside of work are adhered to.
Offer Support and Mentorship
I advise that keeping new employees engaged and avoiding burnout is to provide support and mentorship.
New team members may feel overwhelmed and burned out because of the lack of familiarity with their roles and environment. Providing support and mentorship from more experienced team members can help ease some of the stress and help new hires acclimate to their new roles.
Mentors can offer advice, guidance, and feedback to help new team members succeed and stay motivated. Additionally, fostering a supportive environment where team members can be open and honest about their challenges can help create a sense of community and camaraderie that can help keep new team members engaged.
As a hiring manager, you have the responsibility to ensure that your team doesn’t reach the burnout stage. We all know it can be a point of no return.
My best tip to avoid this situation is a proactive one: be transparent. When you’re hiring for a role, be honest about what the workload can look like at your busiest times, be clear about how often that is, and be open and accommodating with your PTO policy.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for burnout, but when employees understand expectations ahead of time, they’re able to better manage the emotional and physical complexities that follow.
Grant Opportunities for Competence Development
One of the most effective ways to keep new team members engaged is by providing them with ongoing opportunities for competence development and career progression. You can achieve it in many ways, such as by offering mentoring programs and leadership development initiatives.
As part of this approach, teams must maintain regular feedback loops with their new hires on how they are progressing toward their goals. It’s essential to pay attention to their individual needs so that you can help them identify areas where more training or guidance is required, enabling them to develop competencies for improved performance.
Offering time for self-reflection should also be encouraged. Some team members may benefit from personal coaching or developing particular interests outside of work to stay motivated in their roles.
Give Your Team Autonomy
I’ve seen first-hand how quickly new hires can burn out when they take on too much. The most successful way I’ve found to keep them engaged is to empower them in their work by allowing them to set their own working hours and determine when they are the most productive.
Letting new team members decide when it’s the right time for them to work not only encourages a high level of motivation but also helps build trust and respect between team members. This lets employees know you hear their needs and value their commitment while helping make sure they stay energized, focused, and productive.
Ease Them into Their Role
Although you may need all hands on deck most of the time, giving new employees sufficient time to acclimate can be helpful in the long run. Whether it’s through a training period, by assigning a mentor, or by gradually increasing their workload, it’s best to ease your new employees into their roles so they can digest all the demands of their new roles and ultimately put their best foot forward.
Use Milestones and Feedback
To prevent new-hire burnout, I communicate clear milestones and expectations to new team members from the start. This helps them understand what we expect of them and sets them up for success.
I also provide timely feedback to reassure new team members that they are on the right track. This helps to build their confidence and lets them know that their hard work is being recognized. Finally, I make sure to provide resources and support to help new team members stay on track and succeed. This helps to ensure that new hires stay motivated and engaged in their work.
Plan a Realistic Timeline
Onboarding can be taxing on both new and current employees. It takes significant time to get someone up to speed—not to mention the hours needed from those who are training them.
One way to solve this problem is to be proactive in your onboarding schedule. Plan it out, allowing for unfilled time blocks and wiggle room for when the unexpected happens (because it will). Allowing for flexibility and being realistic about your onboarding expectations (and timeline) will keep everyone from experiencing burnout.
Include Employees in the Decision-Making Process
New team members often take a while to feel accepted in an organization. Until this feeling of being a part of the organization kicks in, it is natural for employees to feel exhausted. The connection is simple: when you know you’re working for yourself and when your efforts are genuine; it is difficult for issues like burnout to crop up.
On the other hand, when you feel like an outsider, the effort you put in seems more exhausting. One trick that helps expedite this process of acceptance and belonging is to involve new employees in the decision-making process. The move develops trust and confidence in new members because they now feel like an integral part of the organization, a feeling that results in renewed commitment and effort.
Stop Talking, Start Listening
When new hires are on the verge of burnout, something isn’t right. Period. Whether they’re feeling overwhelmed, isolated (especially when working remotely), or not equipped to do the task—it’s the manager’s responsibility to understand what’s going on.
I’ve learned to avoid jumping to solutions and start by listening. When I notice that someone on my team isn’t feeling well—by asking, through surveys, or my gut feeling—I’ll bring it up in a private conversation. My only goal is to understand why they’re upset and make them feel heard. I’ll save the solutions for later.
Encourage Employees to Take Mental Health Days
Occupational burnout is a serious condition that negatively impacts a person’s health, well-being, and motivation. New employees are particularly prone to burnout, as changing employers is a naturally stressful life event at the best of times. Organizations should therefore recognize the severity of burnout by allowing at-risk new employees to take mental health days off work when required.
First, time off helps employees to defuse and unwind, alleviating the acute risk of burnout and adverse stress-related illness. Second, and more importantly, offering mental health days signals to the employee that the organization is flexible, compassionate, and takes their health seriously. Most times, the act of offering mental health days itself gives at-risk employees the reassurance they need, reminding them that the organization prioritizes their well-being.
Empower New Hires and Make Them Feel Valued
As a Head of Marketing for a small team, I know all too well the feeling of burnout that can come with taking on new hires. However, there is one surefire way to keep them engaged and motivated: provide an environment where they feel valued and empowered.
When onboarding new team members, make it clear what their roles are and how they fit into the overall mission. Give them specific responsibilities that are meaningful to the company’s success—and be sure to reward them when they do well! Show appreciation for their hard work by recognizing individual contributions and offering rewards or recognition programs when appropriate.
At the same time, ensure your staff understands your expectations for performance standards so everyone is working toward a common goal. As part of this process, create an open dialogue between management and employees so they can discuss any issues in an understanding manner without judgment or criticism.