Attempting to predict what your employees will do and say according to a personality profile may seem ambitious, but profiling can help you to understand employees and what motivates them; not to mention what may trigger disengagement and subsequently subtract value from your business. Profiling is without a doubt a reductionist method and will never be able to account for the infinite complexities of the human persona, what it can do is help to identify to crux points of some of your employees, identifying these means you may be able pre-empt them and aim to resolve the issue, therefore re-engaging and re-motivating your “burnout” employee.
It is wise to not rely too heavily on any profile, always account for change, especially during the recruitment process. Profiling is not a very effective tool for placing candidates into roles, as different positive and negative attributes can contribute in different ways to whether a person performs a job well or not. Good management techniques identify the individual needs of each employee and adapt accordingly, nevertheless, identifying “burnout” in employees can be a useful tool when it comes to the engagement of employees further down the line.
Burnout expert Ben Fanning, has published “The Burnout Manifesto: 7 Ways to Reignite Your Career from Job Burnout” which profiles different types of employees based on modern-day celebrities; he has targeted employees who wish to rediscover the passion for their work and offers advice on the steps to take to re-engage. Identifying the behaviours parodied (quite humorously) below in your workplace could actually be the first step in troubleshooting within your workforce and locating the areas that need extra attention.
“#1The Kim Kardashian: Glory Hound voted least likely to quit.
KKs have gotten good at what they do. They’re an expert and want to hog the spotlight at any moment. They’re likely your co-worker that continuously jumps in front of the boss and dangles future wins just to compensate for their lack of emotional connection to the job. They lack authenticity. This persona can’t be sustained over the long haul. It’s burnout in hiding. They’ll never use the word burnout unless you say it first.”
This is typical disengagement – where the employee experiences a lack of emotional investment in their work and so attempts to recompense. Focus on reward and recognition with this employee to bring the value back into their work. Recognition is a largely emotional response and will serve to recover the lost emotional associations between the employee and their role.
“#2 The Stanley: Office mope whose too scared to leave and too scared to stay.
Stanleys hate their job with a passion and are just getting by. Shoulders rolled forward, slow movements, and a truckload of resentment. He’s nit-picking everything including the corporate cafeteria and how his laptop is too heavy. He’s never planning to leave but fantasizes about it all the time. He’d probably embrace saying he’s burned out but he’s so caught in complaining about the details of his job that he misses the big picture of how he’s contributing to it.”
There is engagement here, but the problem is it is the wrong kind of emotional investment, if this emotion can be shifted to a more positive one then this profile is very likely to be saved. Recognising the input that this employee may have about how to invigorate his work environment may be the answer, seeing an idea of their own being actioned will encourage re-engagement.
“#3 The Robert Downey, Jr: The escape artist destined to quit but hasn’t come to terms with it yet.
RDJs have been burned and now cautiously dodge the Paparazzi [the boss]. Now you see them, now you don’t. They’re so burned out that they come in late, leave early, and always seem to have a conflict. They seem to float around the office and never actually sit at their desk for longer than just a few minutes, and when they do the door is always shut. They haven’t left their gig yet, but they’re on the verge. They’re focused on using the majority of their time in finding their next gig.”
This employee is potentially already engaged with their next job – are they worth the chase? If so then drastic action is required, the reasons why the problem has remained undetected need addressing. A total lack of a recognition culture may be the cause; disengagement originates from the absence of recognition.
“#4 The Paula Abdul: The skipper who’s already checked out mentally and heading to another gig doing the same thing (as if that’s going to solve all their problems).
Paulas see their job hopping as part of the career path but don’t really get that they’re just moving into another gig doing the same thing is not going to help them escape their burnout. Remember how the real Paula checked out her last season in American Idol and then just followed Simon to the next gig?”
“#5 The Bruce Springsteen: The career rejuvenator who’s sticking it out and contributing.
Springsteens all have hit job burnout and survived. They’ve discovered how to reignite their career while staying in the same job at Corporate. Their burnout has become the very source of helping others and is inspiring their own career. Yes, they’ve been burned out and might even do it again but you can bet that they’re going to bring it. Learn from them and help them evangelise to others in the office.”
Seek out your Springsteen(s) and give praise. The support of a mentor as well as a manager can bring any employee back from the edge of burnout.
While the categorising of employees can not be indicative of definitive actions, knowing the most typical signs of disengagement are valuable warning tools, get to know them and look for signs of burnout… Then identify your Springsteen and work together to re-engage your workforce.