2021 has quickly settled in and it seems like nothing has changed.

COVID-19 is still here (together with its variants), workloads are still high, and the pressure for companies and employees to outperform what was a dismal 2020 mounting.

How do we as business leaders, ensure that those who have remained committed to our cause, will not suffer the consequences of their dedicated effort and energy.

The Cost of a burnt-out team

A UK survey – shared with us by our Engagement partner, Engagement Multiplier – determined that the cost of burnout as a result of the increased stretch to cover positions no longer affordable in the name of ‘cost cutting’, is a drop in employee morale to up to 50% of staff feeling disengaged.

Half of the average employees currently feel they are disengaged with what their leaders and companies are asking from them. Half. That means a drop in output, production, performance by 50% of what is possible. More importantly, it means that people are half as willing to continue to ‘support’ their employers with their efforts.

In Malta, as is the case in many countries across the world, new restrictions are being put into place to safeguard from the risks of exposure to the new variants of COVID-19. This adds further pressure on households to safeguard their livelihoods as best possible, which also means taking on more work and responsibilities and increasing stress levels.

In a previous article I had written about the impact of excess stress and the impact it has on our mental health, performance and willingness to ‘go that extra mile’.

Our Leadership Responsibility

As business and community leaders we do not have control of what COVID-19 does or the decisions our governments take. What we do control is how we help our employees weather the storm. As leaders we take the responsibility to care for those who, essentially, keep our businesses running. And it is during the most trying of times that our ethos, our  corporate culture, and our organisational purpose really stands out.

So what can we do to help our employees avoid burnout or mental fatigue?

Take stock.

Thanks to our partners at Engagement Multiplier, you can continuously and rigorously take the pulse of your employees through engagement surveys. The most recent survey “The Covid Culture Check” allows you to assess, how your corporate (and collective) culture is performing.

Follow-Up. Survey, interviews, assessments are not worth the paper they are printed on unless you do something about it. The biggest mistakes companies make in this regard is that they fail to act upon what their employees are telling them. If you are seeing signs of distress act now before you end up with people leaving you on their own account.


There is no such thing as too much communication. Trust is built through continuous and consistent communication. This reinforces the 5 main motivators of behavioural change (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, relatedness and Fairness) as it reinforces the trust they have in leadership thanks to open, clear and considerate communication.

Plan … with Purpose.

Planning without a clear understanding of its purpose, and how that leaves a long lasting and important impact on our people, may result in a waste of much energy and effort. The key to ‘good’ planning is the focus on the outcome; not output. There is a big difference for motivation (especially during trying times) when one understands they are working towards achieving something bigger, rather than just ticking off a list of tasks that have been offloaded on to them because the company cannot afford to hire more staff.

Finally, Show up.

Be the leader you always wanted to lead you. Robert Greenleaf calls this Servant Leadership. Simon Sinek says Leaders Eat Last, Ken Blanchard classifies it as Legendary Service. If you want the people working with you to follow you, then you need to give them a reason to do so.

It doesn’t mean we always need to be strong, have all the answers to all the questions, and always take the best decisions.

It means we are considerate and individual when taking decisions; it means we seek to inspire and influence rather than steam role change processes; it means we engage intellectually and interact with our people when we may NOT have all the answers to the questions asked of us; and it means we seek to find new ways of thinking about the challenges ahead, focus on solutions and using the collective intelligence of all those working with us to find the solutions required.

We are here to help

If you may find yourself stuck in a rut, or are starting to feel the onset of potential burnout, mental fatigue, and demotivation, we are here to assist. We can provide you with a FREE Staff Engagement survey that will help you understand how your company is doing, and also help you chart the way forward with a series of practical actions to implement.

Get in touch today for a FREE 30-minute discovery call by mailing us on [email protected].