It seems like burnout is a buzzword of 2021 already. So adding on the stress of open enrollment season to an already difficult year might just feel like adding insult to injury. If your HR teams are already tired, then it’s time to take some of the advice you’ve probably been handing out to the rest of your organization already. Manage the stress of open enrollment with a big emphasis on alleviating feelings of burnout in your department. Here’s how.

Understand What Burnout Is – and Isn’t

The World Health Organization defines burnout as feelings of exhaustion, increased mental distance from a job, feelings of negativism towards a job, and reduced professional efficacy — caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

That means burnout isn’t simply feeling tired of one’s job or worn out from a difficult year. Under this definition, one could argue burnout is directly related to a workplace’s inability to help employees deal with their workload.

Understanding that burnout is caused by the job, and not outside stressors, is important because management can recognize that it’s the workplace’s responsibility to come up with solutions.

Understand How Burnout Affects HR Professionals

Dealing with any crisis on a national level has a direct effect on the Human Resources team. Whether it’s a crisis of local or national security (which might come with new security requirements or dealing with fear ing the workplace), a natural disaster such as a hurricane, or a pandemic, HR is the department tasked with coming up with strategies to keep employees safe while keeping production ticking along. The prolonged pandemic crisis, coupled with frequent natural disasters throughout the country, have kept HR departments in a state of frequent change and heightened efforts to retain and recruit employees for more than a year.

Adding in the usual strain of open enrollment, when an entire workforce must be brought together to get their benefits selection, enrollment, and documentation in under the wire, to this long-term burnout threat could dramatically affect a team’s resiliency.

Address Burnout in Your Department

Whether it’s simmering beneath the surface, or already evident, chances are there is an element of burnout on your team. Alleviate burnout with some proven techniques, such as:

  • Cross-training staff members in new positions or projects which flex skill sets. Changing things up could provide employees with new challenges which interest and excite them.
  • Incorporate self-care and wellness techniques into the workday, such as pausing work to get active, and talking about techniques to get better rest, exercise more, and eat mindfully.
  • Outsource or automate tasks when possible. Repetitive tasks can feel like a drag to a person dealing with burnout. Setting up automated email messaging, outsourcing data entry, or streamlining systems to reduce reporting and admin can all help with burnout — and improve efficiency.
  • Seek out and offer volunteer opportunities. Showing employees that their company works in an ethical, empathetic way and gives back to the community can renew their interest in their job.

For more opportunities to streamline your department and offer employees a better working experience, visit What We Do and learn about WBD’s benefits administration platforms, which can reduce the wear and tear on employees caused by repetitive tasks, multiple programs, and manual data entry. Learn more here.