Maintaining a capable, engaged workforce is a priority for any company operating in the manufacturing sector, but doing so if often more difficult than manufacturers expect. One challenge that many manufacturing businesses are facing involves employee burnout.
Employee burnout occurs when workers struggle to manage the issues that result from periods of prolonged stress. Since many manufacturers are battling labor shortages, there’s often increased pressure on employees, and long hours are often part of the equation.
This creates an environment where physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion can occur, and those states dimmish productivity and engagement.
Often, the reduced productivity and efficiency lead to a self-perpetuating cycle. As outputs fall behind the target, additional pressure is placed on the short-handed workforce to keep up. In turn, stress levels continue rising, and work-life balance is harder to achieve, leading to more burnout. Fortunately, there are steps companies can take to limit or prevent burnout among their staff.
Here are some strategies that can make a difference.
Recognize the Warning Signs
Knowing the early signs of burnout allows employers to intervene before an employee’s state changes too significantly. Often, irritability and negativity are clear indicators. Similarly, declining work quality and higher absence rates can show that trouble is brewing.
In some cases, declining hygiene could be a sign that an employee is struggling with burnout, too. Additionally, withdrawing from colleagues or other chances to their teamwork and collaboration capabilities are red flags.
Create a Supportive Work Culture
Having a supportive work culture makes a difference in the battle against burnout. Ideally, managers should treat changes in an employee’s mindset or performance not as an opportunity for confrontation or negative feedback but as a sign that another approach is potentially necessary. By focusing instead on identifying the root cause of any changes, managers can use a supportive mindset to address the concern. That creates a sense of comradery and focuses on how the situation can improve, not on what’s already gone wrong.
Similarly, encouraging employees to support one another – and creating the space for them to do so – is a critical component. Empower workers to assist each other if one of them is struggling, as that also creates a sense that everyone can play a role in each other’s success.
Redesign Work Processes
Burnout can occur when stress levels are high and work becomes tedious or unduly cumbersome. Similarly, frequently encountering unnecessary obstacles can make handling duties unnecessarily difficult, particularly if employees have trouble getting ample support to navigate them effectively.
Examine workplace processes for potential inefficiencies and make changes to streamline those procedures. Additionally, automation technologies can remove repetitive tasks from the plates of employees, making their work more engaging overall. Managers can also play a critical role, ensuring they’re available when employees need assistance with overcoming a challenge.
Offer Training and Skill Development
Training and skill development introduce healthy challenges to a workplace, which can counteract more tedious aspects of a role. Plus, it can give workers critical skills that allow them to work more efficiently, which can make hitting production targets simpler.
Ideally, companies should offer targeted training based on capabilities or technologies that streamline workflows and boost productivity. Doing so creates a win-win scenario, where employees feel more capable of meeting goals, and companies benefit from their enhanced abilities.
Contact the Advance Group Today
Ultimately, burnout in the manufacturing industry is a challenge, but strategies like those above can help make it manageable or preventable. If you’d like to learn more or want to augment your staff to reduce pressure on your current workforce, The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.