Burnout is such a critical topic, that our strategies for preventing it have encompassed two posts. Below are additional strategies worth exploring to prevent burnout, which follows from the last post.
Empower informal network building amongst employees. One of the best ways to create strong teams is to allow informal networks to develop. An easy way to empower this? From the HR budget, give out $10 coffee gift cards on occasion to team members with the stipulation that it be used to take a colleague to coffee.
Invest in communal space. Did you save a little bit on your last print project or get a better deal on a mailer than you expected? Take those funds and make the team communal space a bit nicer. Whether its upgrading the microwave, buying new chairs, or even purchasing seasonal decorations from the dollar store, it makes a difference and shows employees that you’re cognizant of their comfort as well.
Take a cue from hospitals – have leadership round. We’re all familiar with the concept of doctors rounding to check on each patient at the beginning of each shift; well, this is the same idea! Every manager should spend at least 20 seconds each morning checking on the well being of their team. Did something awesome happen over the weekend to your colleague? Well as a boss, you should be sure to ask each of your team members at least one question about their well being each morning. Every employee can share as much or as little as they feel comfortable with, but you’ll be surprised to see how much they want to connect on a personal level. Because very likely, your employees are working with you, because they’re moved personally by the mission or issue they’re trying to solve.
Create meaningful volunteer opportunities. There are lots of legalities around volunteers taking on the role of paid staff with the intent to always fairly compensate anyone working. However, there are a number of ways to better utilize volunteers that will help your team from feeling burnt out and also be meaningful to volunteers. For example, that plan you’ve had to research potential funders in the corporate space that fund competitors but that you haven’t gotten to since you arrived? Create an opportunity for a volunteer to work on that where they’re learning about research processes and you’re getting useable data at the end of the project. If you’re making significant changes to your volunteer program, be sure to run them by your HR manager first to make sure you’re not violating any labor laws.
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