Talent Sourcing
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How to Avoid and Reverse Burnout During High Growth Periods

David Pelyhes
May 9, 2024
min read

Burnout isn’t new – it’s the second highest factor of mental health issues after finances. There are plenty of studies proving how cultures that focus on continuous growth, minimal vacation time, and ‘round-the-clock work obligations cause many to feel overwhelmed with stress and frustration in the workplace, regardless of how much passion employees have for the company and their work.

Our industry has an inherent “always on” culture, and, combined with high competition and tighter budgets, burnout simply seems like part of the job. However, burnout negatively impacts team culture, mental health, and the work being done. In fact, a recent Deloitte Workplace Burnout survey found that 91% of respondents said having an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration negatively impacts the quality of their work.

But burnout can be managed and even avoided. We consulted some of our fractional experts at JPG Talent who shared proven strategies to prevent or begin to reverse burnout on your team.


Plan Time for Reflection After Significant Gains

It may seem counterproductive to pause when you've just hit a milestone during a rapid growth period. But remember, you're in a marathon, not a sprint. You want to multiply micro gains on a consistent, manageable basis. Just like endurance athletes need rest to recover and prepare for the next phase, you need to slowdown and reflect. This pause allows you to review your achievements and refine strategies for further growth.

Maintaining consistent forward momentum requires a small amplitude of ebb and flow. Make the team take a break, whether it’s some time off, a strategy session, or switching to a smaller project. These short periods of rest can cultivate fresh perspectives, rejuvenate your team, and provide an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the success they’ve achieved. Deloitte’s Workplace Survey noted that the top driver of burnout is lack of support or recognition from leadership, reinforcing the significance of breaks which allow everyone to reset and recharge.

Tip: Incorporate these“rest” periods in your schedule, so it doesn’t feel like you’re stalling progress.


Prioritize, Then Prioritize Again

Feeling like you're constantly firefighting can be exhausting. But our experts say that setting and updating priorities - tasks, goals, and success metrics - can help you avoid burnout.

Defining what’s most important to solve, and why, creates more manageable workloads for you and your team. According to a 2021 Harvard Business Review survey, 62% of the people struggling to manage their workloads had experienced burnout "often" or "extremely often" in the previous three months. Having an approachable workload boosts morale, keeps employees engaged, and boosts productivity.

Setting, refining and regularly communicating priorities to your team also keeps everyone focused on the tasks that will drive the next milestone.


Don’t Ignore Life Outside of Work

One in four professionals say they never or rarely take all their vacation days. The underlying expectation to always be available or else be perceived as not dedicated to your job is the type of culture that leads to burnout quickly.

People fear not being reachable when they need to be, but boundary setting is incredibly important. The most successful teams know how to build and respect boundaries to maintain their mental and emotional well-being.

Find what brings you joy outside of work and make time for it. Whether it's spending time with family, pursuing a hobby, or engaging in a fitness routine, make sure to schedule it in.

Tip: Many find that they need a physical activity as well as something emotionally fulfilling to stay balanced. 


Consider Fractional Talent to Optimize Your Resources

Teams often try to wear too many hats and do too many things. Trying to take on every role can be discouraging and lead to burnout. Being multifaceted is not negative, but understanding your strengths and weaknesses and filling in gaps with fractional experts can make your business more agile.

Outsourcing temporary work to fill a specific role or address a particular problem can be incredibly beneficial for company culture and efficiency. Consultants bring in a fresh perspective, focus on finding the root of your issue, and bring experience that can help you avoid common pitfalls. Very rarely are you experiencing a problem that is totally unique. Consultants can more easily identify company challenges as repeat problems, and they come in with a tactical toolkit to help solve them.

Tip: Choose a consultant who respects your company’s timelines. They should address root causes of problems rather than tackling the surface-level tasks.


Encourage Open Communication with the Supply Chain Team from the Top Down

Supply chain teams often bear the brunt of leadership pressures. These teams have one of the highest burnout rates - buyers, planners, logistics - because when the supply chain isn’t working, it directly affects business growth.

Communications that flow between supply chain and leadership can be strained, especially on smaller teams. Our experts suggest several ways to prevent and reverse burnout culture within these teams:

● Consistently communicate changing priorities to your supply chain team. Open dialogue is often more critical on small teams when each person is taking on multiple tasks.

● Make teams feel heard and supported. Foster a culture that encourages frequent communication between different aspects and levels of the company. We’re all working towards the same end goal!

● Every quarter, discuss the pros and cons of your team’s performance and work to implement solutions to make their jobs easier for upcoming projects.


Drive a Culture of Well-being

To avoid cultural tendencies leading to burnout, create a supportive environment to ensure your team is taking care of themselves. This begins with leadership and building a team that cares for each other’s well-being.

Leaders should lead by example and ensure future hires contribute to the cultural ethos. During the recruitment process, asking the right questions can help identify candidates who are attuned to preserving and promoting the office culture.

Remember, no matter your role within the organization, you can influence by advocating for a supportive environment, encouraging others, and paving the way for a healthy, happier team.

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