People Managers, Here are Signs Your Employee Could be in Distress

ANTONIETTE MENDOZA-TALOSIG​

Author

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus continues to wreak havoc in many parts of the world. In the Philippines, for example, the country records about 20,000 new cases daily driven by the Delta variant of the virus1.

With seemingly no end in sight, the pandemic continues to cause uncertainty among Filipinos. There is growing concern among individuals too as they see more people around their closest circle get infected.

Most organizations in the country have responded by continuing to maintain a work-from-home setup to help secure the health and safety of their employees. In Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 84% of Filipino employees surveyed agree2. However, remote working also poses a tremendous challenge to the country’s people managers. In the same survey by Microsoft, 62% of the respondents said that they felt overworked, and 78 percent crave face-to-face interactions with their colleagues.

As a manager, you are most likely aware that your people are feeling stressed or burnt out. But how would you identify those who might need your help if you rarely see them in person?

5 Signs Your Employee Might be Burnt Out

With limited personal interaction, it can be difficult to know who in your team is feeling distressed. But there are signs that can help you identify them so you can immediately address the issue before it severely impacts your colleague’s well-being. These signs include:

Irritability

Misunderstandings and clashing personalities can happen in any team. But if you notice a typically cheerful colleague suddenly become consistently irritable, then chances are they are experiencing tremendous pressure at home, at work, or both.

Recurring Illness

Distress could reduce a person’s appetite and weaken their immune system, causing them to be more prone to getting sick. So, if you notice your colleague taking more sick leaves than usual, they could be burnt out.

Declining Productivity

With so many things running in your colleague’s mind, they are more likely to lose focus on their work or become demotivated, so it helps to look into their productivity levels too.

Disengagement and Isolation

A colleague who seems to have been suddenly pessimistic about working at your company or constantly showing dissatisfaction about working there could be feeling that they are being poorly treated there.

While these signs are not always apparent or may not always manifest themselves in distressed employees, they can serve as your guide to make sure your coworker still finds joy in their work.

How You Can Help Distressed Employees

We currently live in extraordinary times, with most of us dealing with extraordinary pressure at work and at home. As a manager, you are also expected to be empathetic toward the people you lead. Understandably, this can be difficult when you are new to this kind of role or are dealing with many other issues at work.

Our Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2021 Insights Report may offer you a blueprint for exemplary leadership in these difficult times. Here are some ways you can help your distressed employees:

Give Employees a Break

It may seem counterintuitive, but employees need more time off from work than ever to prevent burnout. For example, Atlassian gave employees additional 15 days of leave and a special monthly floating day off where they can choose one day a month to completely disconnect from emails and working applications. Naturally, these measures received an overwhelmingly positive response from employees.

Show Genuine Interest in Your People

We also found that managers in great workplaces are truly invested in their people. In our Philippines Best Workplaces 2021 study, 88% of surveyed employees in these organizations agreed that management showed real interest in them as people, not just as employees. It is also true even for companies that did not make it to the list as 78% of their employees shared the same sentiment.

While this does not necessarily translate to forming close friendships with them, small things like genuinely seeking and responding to their feedback and involving them in decisions that will directly impact them will go a long way in earning their trust and keeping them motivated.

Recognize the Importance of Mental and Emotional Health

In the best workplaces that made it to our 2021 list, nearly nine out of 10 of their employees say that their organization is a psychologically and emotionally healthy place to work. This emphasizes the importance of mental health at the workplace. This is where employees feel that management shows them a clear direction of where the company is going, supports their words with concrete actions, provides employees with resources they need to be productive and appreciates their employees’ good work.

Encourage Peer Learning

It also helps when managers speak with other people in leadership roles, like what they did at Synchrony Global Services. With their Front-Line Manager Series, managers from different hubs share best practices in handling employee concerns and providing everyone with more learning opportunities. Afterall, the topic of mental health is new to most of us and with some still learning to be at ease with the topic. Slowly opening up and creating a safe space to learn together with your colleagues is one of the best ways to manage holistic wellbeing at the workplace – not only for your team, but for yourselves as leaders as well.

You Can Make a Difference at Work

At the end of the day, working at a supportive organization can help prevent or reduce the possibility of burnout among your employees. Even simple programs designed to support them in these difficult times will certainly mean a lot to them.

Treating your employees well will also benefit you, their manager, as well as the company where you all work at. You will be surprised at what they will do to support you as their leader, with some even volunteering to help you. So, always look after your team because even an ounce of compassion will go a long way in helping us pull through this pandemic and beyond.

ANTONIETTE MENDOZA-TALOSIG​

Author

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces™ in Asia by surveying over 1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting over 4.7 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2021 or early 2022.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

Great Place To Work identifies Best Workplaces in Asia™ by surveying 2.1 million employees in Asia and the Middle East about the key factors that create great workplaces for all and analyzing company workplace programs impacting 5.9 million employees in the region.

To be considered, companies must first be identified as outstanding in their local region by appearing on one or more of our Best Workplaces lists in Bahrain, Greater China (including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, UAE, Vietnam during 2022 or early 2023.

Companies rank in three size categories: Small and Medium (10-499 employees); Large (500+); and Multinational. Multinational organizations are also assessed on their efforts to create great workplaces across multiple countries in the region. They must appear on at least two national lists in Asia and the Middle East and have at least 1,000 employees worldwide with at least 40% (or 5,000+) of those employees located outside the headquarters country.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

For All™ Methodology

Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2022 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 130,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:
1.  The criteria we evaluate

  •  85% concerned with Trust and Maximizing Human Potential and
  • 15% concerned with everything else

2.  Where the data comes from

  • 100% Trust Index for organizations with less than 100 employees
  • 75% based on the Trust Index survey analytics and 25% based on responses to the Culture Audit for organizations with more than 100 employees.
For All™ Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Philippines Best Workplaces™ 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of over 450,000 employees across the Philippines.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organization creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organization, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyze these experiences relative to each organization’s size, workforce makeup, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organization to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

Categories:
These organizations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Small 10-99 Employees

For larger organizations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organizations to share with us their practices, policies, and programs to create a great workplace For All™ and evaluate the approach they take.

  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees