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Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services Staff

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Running Head: Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services Staff

Burnout in Human Services Staff

Joanna Main

University of Phoenix

Burnout in Human Services

Productivity is down there is no energy in the office, and it seems that the employees are just going through the motions; this could be considered symptoms of burnout. In order for a business or company to function correctly the employees must be ready to start the day physically, emotionally and mentally. We will look at the definition of burnout and describe some of the individual, organizational and supervisory factors that cause burnout. We will discuss methods to prevent burnout and examine my own personal way of dealing with burnout, and ways I deal with the problem. Last, we will look at the human service manager and what they should look out for while observing their staff and how to assist them through this tough time.

Our reading in chapter six defines burnout as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from involvement with people in emotionally demanding situation. Researching other definition it is a universal definition use throughout the human service field. In individuals, burnout can be emotional exhaustion, a feeling that they are not doing enough to help their clients, which could lead to an uncaring attitude toward clients. In organizations, a management that is strict or not flexible in the way they do things can lead their employees to feel burned out. A competitive atmosphere is another cause of organizational burnout. While being competitive is good an organization must not lose the teamwork atmosphere, where we are all working to accomplish one goal. An employee must be able to trust their co-workers and not feel threatened by them. Job titles need to be defined and adhered to so employees do not cross into other employees responsibilities unless asked. This leads us to the role of the supervisor. It is important to have well defined job titles, and it is important for the supervisor to make sure they are being followed. Some signs that may tip a supervisor that an employee is distressed could be withdrawal from work responsibilities, frequent isolation, procrastination, outbursts of emotion or the use of food, drug or alcohol to cope with work duties. A supervisor must be aware of the signs to stop behavior before it spreads. Another important area a supervisor needs control are the decisions they make in regards to the workplace. They need to make concrete decisions because lack of decision making can cause burnout. When an employee is lost or not sure what to do they get frustrated and frustration can lead to burnout.

Once burnout has occurred there is a lack of productivity in the workplace. One way to prevent this is by change the way jobs are structured. If a human service worker does the same thing day after day it becomes boring and loses interest which could lead to burnout. A company needs to vary the way they do things so this does not happen. Another way to help out is by the supervisor praising their employees. When employees reach goals and objectives it should be made a big deal that way everybody will try to reach their goals and objectives, it makes people feel like they are doing meaningful



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