All employees get tired sometimes. They stay late in the office now and then, or they pull an occasional all-nighter, or they face a tight deadline or a busy season that pushes them to their limits. When employees show regular signs of weariness, recognize these signs and take the time to sit down with them, let them vent, thank them for their sacrifice, and encourage them to rally on.
But there’s a big difference between a momentarily tired employee and an employee who seems to be suffering from serious, ongoing fatigue. If you see signs of the second and you don’t intervene in time, you risk losing a hardworking and dedicated team member—possibly to one of your competitors. Here are a few considerations that can help you avoid fatigue-related turnover.
Fatigue is not a win; it’s a loss for everyone.
Burned-out employees begin to lose sight of the big picture, and they begin to lose interest in the larger successes and failures that are associated with their projects. They stop dotting I’s and crossing T’s, and they begin to care more about getting things done then doing them right. Eventually, they don’t even care about getting them done. Motion and busyness don’t always amount to productivity. You may believe overwork hurts the employee, but benefits the company; this is not correct. It benefits nobody.
Monitor work distribution.
Overburdened employees may not complain until they’ve passed the breaking point, and even then, their “complaint” may come in the form of a surprise resignation letter. Don’t wait for an employee to ask you for a break. Instead, conduct regular check-ins, and if your employee seems to have too much on her plate, shift some of it away to another staff member. Don’t ask before doing this. Just use your management skills and lighten the load.
Fatigue and dangerous tasks don’t mix.
If your employees are calculating medication doses or operating heavy machinery, fatigue is not a game. Do not use heavy workloads to test their mettle, to haze them, or to exercise your authority. “Powering through” can be considered an act of will or a demonstration of commitment, but only up to a certain point. If you push your employees past that point, you’ll have to take responsibility for any ensuing injuries, accidents, or lawsuits.
Lawsuits and workers comp claims can cost more than new employees.
If you can only reduce your employee workloads by hiring new staff, then do so. Consider this the cost of keeping your business afloat. One or two new names on the payroll will cost far less than the alternative: turnover, accidents, mistakes, and low morale.
For more on how to keep your teams healthy, happy, and productive, reach out to the Little Rock and Maumelle staffing experts at CSS.