How to Avoid Employee Burnout When Scaling

avoid employee burnout

For businesses, growth is of the utmost importance. Companies that fail to grow become stagnant and these motionless enterprises eventually sputter and fail. Growth often comes in the form of international expansion. Companies seek out new markets on foreign shores. Opportunities are found in those markets. However rapid expansion on a global scale presents unexpected challenges. One challenge is the increased risk of burnout, as you and your team find yourselves overloaded with added workplace demands. Here we list the signs to look out for to help you avoid employee burnout within your organisation.

Excess Work

The desire to grow quickly can often cause business owners to scale their operations prematurely. While that can bring an increase in revenue and profit, it can also create a whole host of problems if you fail to plan for the expansion. Many of those difficulties will directly impact your existing workforce, as employees will find themselves tasked with new responsibilities and expectations.

It is not uncommon for employers to mismanage their international scaling efforts by underestimating the workload and capacity of their personnel. These mistakes can lead to burnout. Both for the business owner and employees. If your company is rapidly expanding, your team will be getting overloaded by the pace, the chances are that you have miscalculated one of the following areas.

Excess Work: Miscalculations

  • Realistic allocation of responsibility: There is a tendency to rely on the most competent people to carry out new projects. Unfortunately, this means an increase in responsibilities for those employees which can create new levels of frustration.
  • The infrastructure needed to support the expansion: Companies that misjudge their infrastructure can create chaos within their enterprises because the unnecessary strain on a company’s structure can hinder normal processes, creating more work for overloaded employees.
  • The appropriate level of support: Sometimes, companies can misjudge their efforts so badly that they fail to provide the right level of offshore support to manage the growth in their foreign markets. This results in the company’s original core team being forced to pick up the slack.
  • Focus on personnel: Many companies simply fail to consider the amount of work each individual has. They become so focused on the needs of the business and the targets, that they fail to consider the team impact. Business owners take on too much at once and have no mechanisms in place to monitor employee morale. Often, overload and burnout occur because these companies don’t realise there’s a problem.

Indicators of Work Overload

If you suspect that your staff are struggling with their workloads, take steps to address the situation to. You won’t be able to correct the problem if you can’t identify it. The good news is that there are a number of signs that indicate the onset of employee fatigue. Overload – or burnout as some like to call it – is a state in which a person is experiencing noticeable exhaustion on a mental, emotional or physical level. Severe burnout can be accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • A resigned attitude, the employee seems to have no confidence in their ability to change circumstances.
  • Lack of motivation often manifests as an expression of disillusionment with their role in the companies mission.
  • If they seem unable to perform tasks or otherwise mentally distant, it is sign that they’ve reached their limit.
  • Employees who have taken too much on are short-tempered, easily frustrated and difficult to predict.

Addressing the Problem

Suspected employee burnout will be addressed promptly before it leads to bigger concerns. Recognise that fatigue is almost always an indication of systemic weaknesses in the company. If your team is suffering from overload, it’s rarely due to any deficiencies on their part. It’s most commonly a sign that your growth strategy has failed to take their long-term mental, emotional, and physical health into consideration. That’s something that needs to be corrected as soon as you discover it.

To avoid employee burnout, start by sitting down with those individuals and examine their workload and levels of responsibility. In most instances, your most overloaded team members will also be the most capable.

Examine your growth plan and the strategy you’re using to implement it. You may need to reassign some responsibilities to others, hire new members or alter your plan to ease the overload. The solution may even be something as simple as providing those employees with more autonomy. Sometimes they just need greater empowerment and the freedom to do their jobs without undue interruption or micromanagement.

Ultimately the way to avoid employee burnout is to avoid unnecessary excess work altogether. It is possible to scale into new international markets without overloading your team. Make sure that your plan takes into account existing workloads and ensure you provide the support needed to prevent overload.


Find out more

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